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Adults Only (18+)
Note: Free for members and donors—only a membership card and ID required for entry. The Tactile Dome is currently closed.
Have you ever wondered how oceanic buoys operate and what they measure, or what critters cling to their undersides? Join marine scientists, technicians, and educators as they pull a one-ton carbon dioxide (CO2) buoy out of the water and explore its scientific instruments and the organisms that have colonized the buoy bottom. On loan to us from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the CO2 buoy has been anchored between Piers 15 and 17 since April 2013, collecting data on water temperature, salinity, and CO2 levels in the atmosphere and in San Francisco Bay. Every year, we pull it out of the water to calibrate and replace the sensors and to clean off corrosion and marine organisms.
Join us as a crane hoists our data-collection buoy from the water! On loan from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, our buoy spends its time measuring water temperature, carbon dioxide levels, and salinity in San Francisco Bay—and accumulating all kinds of aquatic life. Get up close with the buoy and be the first to see the species that have gathered on its underside over the past year.
Life on the Buoy
With the Living Systems Lab
Discover the organisms living on our data-collection buoy! Staff from our Living Systems Lab will bring their microscopes to the deck of our outdoor gallery and offer an up-close look at the variety of algae and marine invertebrates that have collected on the buoy bottom.
The Living Systems Lab is the Exploratorium’s working biology laboratory. The lab cares for and cultures a variety of living organisms for the exhibits in our Living Systems Gallery.
Releasing the Kraken: Squid Dissection
With Andréa Fusco
7:30 and 8:30 p.m.
Moore Gallery 4, Demo Station
Watch the dissection of a California market squid (Doryteuthis opalescens) and hear why its infamous cousin, the giant squid, has inspired many tall tales from sailors. Learn about the anatomy, morphology, and behavior of all squid, great and small.
Andréa Fusco is a Living Systems Lab Technician at the Exploratorium. She has a strong passion for cephalopod science and received her master’s degree in marine biology from Northeastern University, where she studied cuttlefish feeding behavior.
Buoy Data Stories
With Mary Miller and Jim Pettigrew
Fisher Bay Observatory Gallery 6
Learn all about our data-collection buoy, on loan to us from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Mary Miller and Jim Pettigrew will help you discover the variety of instruments the buoy carries, what data it collects, and what it tells us about our dynamic oceans in the era of climate change.
Mary Miller is a science writer, producer, and former director for the Exploratorium’s partnership with NOAA. She’s spent time with fascinating minds in Antarctica and Greenland, on the NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer, and at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and various NASA facilities.
Jim Pettigrew is Field Manager for the Coastal Ocean Currents Monitoring Program at Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies and a lecturer in geography at San Francisco State University.
Conversations About Landscape: Building a Living Seawall
With Kelley Capone, Tim Felton, and Corryn Knapp
Fisher Bay Observatory Gallery 6
Learn about the Living Seawall Pilot with Kelley Capone, Tim Felton, and Corryn Knapp. This joint research project was created by the Port of San Francisco in partnership with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center to test new ecologically friendly materials for the reimagining of the San Francisco seawall. Hear how designing with bay ecology in mind can create more resilient infrastructure.
Kelley Capone is Project Manager for the Port of San Francisco Waterfront Resilience Program and manages the San Francisco Living Seawall Pilot and the US Army Corps of Engineers Coastal Flood Study.
Tim Felton is Deputy Director of Port Maintenance with the Port of San Francisco.
Corryn Knapp is a graduate student with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center studying marine science at San Francisco State University.
Moore Gallery 4
Start an algae herbarium with this make-and-take activity! Using algae samples taken from the underside of our data-collection buoy—and some professional plant-preservation supplies that we’ll provide—you can press and preserve your very own piece of seaweed.
DJ Knowpa Slaps
From Hip Hop for Change
6:30–7:45 and 8:15–9:30 p.m.
Bechtel Gallery 3
Get ready to dance your way through the night as DJ Knowpa Slaps from Hip Hop for Change sets the vibe and keeps the party moving! Knowpa Slaps is the DJ, remixer, and party-thrower behind R&B and RIBS, a San Francisco–based party with good food and dope DJs.
Hip Hop for Change is an Oakland-based nonprofit that uses grassroots activism to educate people about socioeconomic injustices and advocate solutions through hip-hop culture.
Osher Gallery 1, Kanbar Forum
Food and drinks will be available to purchase and enjoy in our Seaglass Restaurant and an additional bar location during After Dark. Please note that there is no drinking or eating allowed elsewhere in the museum at this time.
Curious about what to expect during your visit? Check out our current safety protocols and guidelines.