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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.
Chocolate: it’s everyone’s favorite...bean? Learn at Pairings: Chocolate how the food of the gods goes from bitter fruit to beloved bar. Then taste your way through a flight of delicious demonstrations and talks for all of your senses: get your hands on some beans, hear about the chocolate-making process firsthand, smell and taste some of the final product, and see some applications of chocolate that might be new to you.
With Michael Gomez, Lauren Vicente, Kevin Godes, and Clay Reynolds
7:00 p.m. | Fisher Bay Observatory Gallery 6
Please note: Seating and tastings for Pairings are limited to 140 ticketed guests. Pick up your free ticket at the Observatory.
Go beyond the heart-shaped box this Valentine’s Day—expand your gastronomic and scientific understanding of chocolate. First, join chef Kevin Godes and pastry chef Lauren Vicente for a taste—literally—of how chocolate is formed and all the flavors and garnishes it loves, from florals to cinnamon and Mayan spice. Then hear from Michael Gomez about the disease threat to the world’s chocolate supply and how scientists aim to use the DNA-editing tool CRISPR to keep us all in cocoa. Finally, pick up a few tips on pairing chocolate with rare wines with director of delicious drinks Clay Reynolds, and sample a few sweet treats: chocolate bark, cocoa-rolled chocolate truffles, and classic pot de crème.
Mesoamerican History in Chocolate
With Dr. Michael Grofe
7:30 p.m. | Bechtel Gallery 3, Webcast Studio
Modern chocolate is a $50-billion-per-year worldwide business—but the roots of chocolate go way back. As early as 900 AD, Mesoamerican cultures were painting images of cocoa pods on Mayan artifacts and the walls of stone temples. The Mayans called chocolate “the food of gods” and offered it at ceremonies, marriage celebrations, or as an everyday drink. Join Dr. Michael Grofe to discover the rich heritage of chocolate and cacao in Mesoamerica.
With William Werner
8:30 p.m. | Bechtel Gallery 3, Webcast Studio
You’ve had chocolate-covered strawberries, but what about chocolate-and-strawberry-covered strawberries? Treat yourself to a taste of chef William Werner’s innovative take on couverture—high-quality chocolate used for dipping, coating, and molding. Created entirely from natural ingredients at Werner’s Craftsman and Wolves patisserie in San Francisco, his technique allows for vibrant colors and flavors, as well as textures previously thought unattainable.
Chocolate 101 Workshop
With Dandelion Chocolate
6:30–9:30 p.m. | Gallery 4
Chocolate school is in session, so get to class: learn the basics of chocolate-making from the artisanal chocolate fiends behind San Francisco’s Dandelion Chocolate, with machine demos and tastings every step of the way. Learn how Dandelion’s beans are processed before they even arrive at the factory, then try out different types of chocolate, discover the specific terroirs of single-origin chocolate from around the world, and see these handmade, small-batch chocolates go from bean to bar.
Paint with Chocolate
7:00–9:00 p.m. | Bechtel Gallery 3
Make art that’s good enough to eat—then go ahead and take a bite. Using Jackson Pollock’s drip-painting technique and a palette of different varieties of melted chocolate, you can create a delicious piece of abstract to take home and share with friends, family, lovers, or strangers...if it lasts that long.
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 in advance for our 6:15 and 7:00 p.m. sessions. All later sessions are on a drop-in, first-come, first-served basis.
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.