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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.
Are the primary colors really red, yellow, and blue? How can you get yellow from mixing red and green together? Bring your most colorful questions to this vivid evening.
Full-Spectrum Science: Mixing Color
With Ron Hipschman
8:00 p.m. | Osher Gallery 1, Kanbar Forum
The primary colors, those used to produce every other color, are red, yellow, and blue—aren’t they? Let Exploratorium scientist Ron Hipschman blow your mind (and everything you think you know about color) in this presentation, part of his series of colorful explorations of the physical world.
With Cinema Arts
6:00–10:00 p.m. | Osher Gallery 1
Excite your cones with these projections of artist-made videos that explore the swirling and layering of colors observed in the lab and out in the world.
When the Organ Played O Promise Me (Cecil Stokes, 1948, 4 min.) Created to promote calmness in patients in psychiatric care, this film—the only known “auroratone”—blends colors and crystal formations with a placid soundtrack.
Autumn Spectrum (Hy Hirsch, 1958, 7 min.) A visually lush and rhythmic ode, this beautiful film surfaces the architecture and colors of a city as it floats across the screen.
Liquid Lights (Joshua Light Show, 2010, 10 min.) This documentation of the live performance group captures some of their finest experiments in colored oil and water.
Soap Film Incident Light Microscope (Gerd A. Guenther, 2012, 5 min.) An up-close look at the rainbow of patterns that appear in the film of a simple soap bubble.
The Future is Bright (Jodie Mack, 2011, 3 min.) This film looks toward the light through shifting layers of diaphanous tissue paper and harmonizing color.
With the Explainers
6:00–9:30 p.m. | Osher Gallery 1 and Roaming
Mix the primary colors—but only in your mind—with the Color-Mixing Wheel, a spinning device that allows your brain to see the results of blending colors without physically combining them.
Making Paints and Pigments
With Amanda Hinton of Limn Colors
6:30–9:30 p.m. | Gallery 3 Demo Station
Learn the science behind making red, green, and blue watercolor paint. Find out about the origins of various pigments, how to mix paint properly, and how to achieve certain colors through color mixing. Then create an image of your own with the freshly made paint.
Color Fashion Show
6:30–9:30 p.m. | Gallery 3, Colored Shadows
Let a runway and an array of colored light showcase your own true colors—pull from an assortment of provided accessories (or use your own) and strut your stuff in front of the much-loved, much-photographed exhibit Colored Shadows. Then share your best selfies and follow #exploafterdark to see all the colorful looks of the night.
Live Painting Demo
7:30–9:00 p.m. | Bechtel Gallery 3, Webcast Studio
Artists use color to create mood, express emotion, and arouse the senses—and often incorporate opposite colors or juxtapose complementary ones to provoke a response. Experience color theory live as artist Jjaahz paints in real time and shares her perspectives on color, space, shape, and how to draw the eye.
Osher Gallery 1
Take an excursion through total darkness in our Tactile Dome. Crawl, slide, and bump your way through the pitch-dark Dome using your sense of touch as your only guide through its chambers and mazes.
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.
Learn more about the Tactile Dome.
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 2
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.
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.