After Dark: Sexplorations

Thursday, February 9, 2023 • 6:00–10:00 p.m.

Not a member yet? Join us and get free admission all year long!

Adults Only (18+)

Note: Free for members and donors—only a membership card and ID required for entry. The Tactile Dome is currently closed.

Looking for a hot night out on the town? Slip into something comfortable and take an intimate look at sex—you know, the transfer of genetic information through sperm and eggs, which has resulted in evolution and specialization among species over time. From the lengths we’ll go to for sex to the mating rituals of insects to the naughty bits of flowers, learn about the varied and creative ways in which the natural world gets it on.

Please note: Osher Gallery 1 will only be available tonight with a ticket for Science of Cocktails @ After Dark.


Sense Appeal
6:30–9:30 p.m.
Bechtel Gallery 3

Just because you like how someone looks doesn’t mean you’ll like how they smell, and vice versa. Come find out whether your eyes and your nose agree on who’s attractive.

Love Nest
6:00–10:00 p.m.
Moore Gallery 4

Milkweed bugs can get it on for hours on end, literally: they mate by sticking their back ends together. Scientists think their stamina stems from competition; a male doesn’t want another bug’s sperm to outdo its own. Come check out our milkweed bugs’ love nest and see how it’s done, so to speak.

Endangered Species Condoms
With the Center for Biological Diversity

6:30–9:30 p.m.
Crossroads

For the sake of the horned lizard . . . slow down, love wizard. Wrapped in colorful, wildlife-themed packages, endangered species condoms offer a fun, unique way to discuss the link between human population growth and the species extinction crisis.

Sex and Gender: What’s the Difference?
With Gwen Payne

6:30–8:30 p.m.
Moore Gallery 4

Stop by for a primer on how biology and culture differentiate sex and gender. Enjoy a five-minute video created by our STARS program (Striving for Trans Inclusion and Anti-Racism in Science Learning). Explainer Facilitator Gwen Payne, who codirected the video, will be on hand to share more context and engage in deeper conversation around this important distinction.

Sexplorations Cinema
With Cinema Arts

6:30 and 9:30 p.m.
Osher Gallery 1, Kanbar Forum

In this program of short films, take a peep at the fascinating and sometimes funny ways in which sex shapes the lives of humans and animals.

Shark Shark Baby: An Anatomy Show-and-Tell
With Lindsay Harris

6:30–9:30 p.m. Demonstration
7:00 and 9:00 p.m. Dissections
Moore Gallery 4, Demo Station

Have you ever wondered what that elongated, oddly familiar fin on the underside of a shark is? Chat with Exploratorium biologist Lindsay Harris about the different ways elasmobranch fishes (sharks, skates, and rays) get it on, and the private parts that make it possible—complete with unique preserved specimens provided by shark biologists from around the country.

The Bouquet Between Your Legs: Flower Dissections
With the Explainers

6:30, 7:30, and 8:30 p.m.
Bechtel Gallery 3, Demo Station

Flowers are key to some plants’ reproductive processes—and some of their reproductive structures bear a striking resemblance to our own. Strip flowers to their naughty bits and discover the similarities, plus learn about pollination.

Live Sex Show: Sea Urchin Egg Fertilization
With Claire Anderson and Andréa Fusco

7:30 p.m.
Osher Gallery 1, Kanbar Forum

Do you like to watch? Sea urchin sperm and eggs are the same size and shape as those of humans, and it only takes an instant for the sperm to fertilize the egg. Which will be the lucky sperm? Find out as Exploratorium staff biologists Claire Anderson and Andréa Fusco fertilize a sea urchin egg before your very eyes.

Intimate Entomology
With Ralph Washington Jr.

8:00 p.m.
Fisher Bay Observatory Gallery 6

Sit down with expert entomologist Ralph Washington Jr. as he shares jaw-dropping (and sometimes head-popping) tales of insect sex. Find out how bug behavior mirrors aspects of human courtship, including longing, passion, jealousy, and the urge to shoot your shot!

The Lengths We Go To for Sex
With Veronica Johnson

8:30 p.m.
Osher Gallery 1, Kanbar Forum

Organisms go to great lengths to reproduce: ever wonder how far sperm travels before it even exits the body? Join biologist Veronica Johnson and take an intimate look at the anatomy of familiar and unfamiliar species to find out how animals do what’s necessary to spread their genetic material.

Science of Cocktails @ After Dark
6:00–10:00 p.m.
Osher Gallery 1
Special ticket required (SOLD OUT)


Food and drinks will be available for purchase at our Seaglass Restaurant and additional bar locations.

Curious about what to expect during your visit? Check out our current safety protocols and guidelines.