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Free for After Dark Members
Adults Only (18+)
Note: The Tactile Dome and some programs have limited capacity and are available to visitors on a first-come, first-served basis.
Lose yourself in over 650 interactive exhibits exploring perception, art, and science at our adults-only After Dark. Grab your friends and a drink and get immersed in mind-bending experiences and unique, thought-provoking programs.
Kick off MAX 2019: A Space Festival at the Exploratorium as we celebrate humanity’s modern frontier: space. Illuminating scientific exploration through artistic expression and shared experiences, the MAX Festival has gathered local and international artists who explore the new space age.
Space Travel Sci-Fi Style
With Sarah Hotchkiss
7:00 p.m. | Osher Gallery 1, Kanbar Forum
Come fly with us where ‘man’ has never gone before: in this playful talk, we’ll watch clips from sci-fi films both thought-provoking and ridiculous, test our knowledge of space travel, and determine which fictions of the future we might like to bring into being.
With Janani Balasubramanian
7:15 p.m. | Gallery 5
Heisenberg is a large-group augmented-reality game exploring uncertainty, precision, and chaos. Participants start at the beginning of the universe and move through a series of matter/energy transformations, each emphasizing limits on personal understanding—a cue from particle physics and the game’s namesake, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle.
Everything Matters: Strontium
With Ron Hipschman
8:00 p.m. | Fisher Bay Observatory Gallery 6
The soft, reactive metal strontium makes toys glow in the dark, helped made the TV revolution possible, and sometimes sneaks into our bones—harmlessly, unless it’s the radioactive isotope strontium-90. Absorb the past, present, and possible future of strontium with Exploratorium scientist and raconteur Ron Hipschman.
Robots as Our Partners/Pas De Deux
With Alexander Reben, Alice Sheppard, and Sasha Samochina
Talk and Performance
8:30 p.m. | Osher Gallery 1, Kanbar Forum
Engage with a pas de deux like you’ve never seen before, one created by the interaction between dancer-choreographer Alice Sheppard and a robot ‘inspired’ by Alex Reben. As an introduction to robots as our avatars, Sasha Samochine of Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Visual Operations Lab will introduce the robots JPL has trekking through the solar system, from Mars to Jupiter. Take it all in and imagine the ways technology reflects and interrogates our humanity.
With Xin Liu
6:30–9:30 p.m. | Bechtel Gallery 3, Wattis Webcast Studio
Living/Distance explores how each of us holds a relatively inconsequential, yet wholly unique place in this world. Brought to life in space, Liu’s sculpted avatar dances through the cosmos on a Blue Origin rocket. Footage of the space voyage and poet Abigail Wender’s narration of Xin’s journey of creation combine to provide an immersive and truly otherworldly experience.
Intergalactic Travel Bureau
With Guerrilla Science
6:30–9: 30 p.m. | Gallery 4 Demo Station
Plan your vacation to Mars! Or why not a SuperNova? The Intergalactic Travel Bureau is the farthest-reaching—and friendliest—travel agency in the universe. Enjoy a VR preview of your voyage before you go.
With the Tinkering Studio
7:00–9:00 p.m. | Gallery 2, Tinkering Studio
Ready to embrace your calling as a filmmaker? Use nails, dental tools, sandpaper, paint, and a host of other impromptu tools to collaborate on a new cinematic work created directly onto 16mm film. The communally made film will premiere at the conclusion of the program.
Spacewoman of the Underground
With Christine Zuecher
7:30–9:30 p.m. | Gallery 4
Wearing a handmade spacesuit and wielding tools for excavation, Christine Zuercher performs an attempt to dig a hole to the other side of the planet. Adjacent to her dig is a ham radio where she receives transmissions from all parts of the globe. Watch recordings of the actual dig, look for artifacts in the exhumed dirt that came from beneath the earth, tune into the radio transmissions to experience the voice of the unknown, and write a letter to the planet Mars. Come celebrate the human urge to explore— and interrogate the instinct to exploit.
Think of any scenario. Using five words or less, describe it in a sentence. Now watch as artist PNosa interprets your words and uses a sewing machine to draw your idea on fabric. Embroidered patches will be available for purchase.
6:00–9:45 unless noted
Various locations throughout the museum
Ticketing at 6:00 p.m., first come, first served
Osher Gallery 1
Draw hypnotically flowing patterns with a swinging table, and watch friction cause the patterns to slowly shrink along a spiral path. Pick up a ticket to reserve your spot in line for this popular activity.
Bechtel Gallery 3
Tune in to surrounding sounds by experimenting with strings and vibrations, and use electromagnets to build a basic speaker. Learn how to listen with your bones, and explore the workings of the inner ear.
Van de Graaff Generator
With the Explainers
Bechtel Gallery 3
Get ready to have your hair stand on end (literally). Experience our electrostatic generator firsthand—with high-voltage direct-current electricity turned down to low current levels, our Van de Graaff generator both will, and won’t, shock you. Please keep your hands on the sphere until our Explainers tell you to let go!
Cow Eye or Flower Dissection (alternating)
Do cows see color? How does a lens work? Examine the intricate structure of a cow eye to learn about similar structures in our own eyes, as well as some key differences.
Stigma, stamen, pistil, anther, style: Uncover the beautiful architecture of flower anatomy, and gather some surprising strategies that plants use to reproduce.
Osher Gallery 1
Everything is not as it seems—at first. Pick a card, any card, and watch the Explainers reveal some surprising aspects of human perception.
Osher Gallery 1
Journey through total darkness in this twisting, turning, tactile sculpture. Walk, crawl, climb, and slide your way through a wonderland of textures using only your sense of touch as a guide.
Please Note: Due to the nature of this experience, certain restrictions apply. Guests who are afraid of the dark; claustrophobic; have back, neck, or knee injuries; or are in their third trimester of pregnancy should not participate. Guests wearing casts are prohibited. Also, please wear comfortable clothes.
You can reserve tickets for our 6:15 and 7:00 p.m. sessions. We also operate drop-in, first-come, first-served sessions at 7:45, 8:30, and 9:15 p.m.; tickets can be purchased at the Information Desk.
Learn more about the Tactile Dome.