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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.
Join us for an evening tuned to listening, music, and the physics of sound. Inspired by the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival held in Golden Gate Park on October 5–7, tonight’s program features instruments and sonic experiments.
Hardly Strictly Eelgrass
With the Association of National Estuary Programs
7:00 p.m. | Fisher Bay Observatory Gallery 6
Estuaries, where land meets water and rivers meet the sea, are home to a dazzling array of plants, birds, fish, and invertebrates, and are important places for humans, too. Grab a Marsh Cooler—the signature cocktail of the evening—and join representatives from estuary conservation programs around the country to learn about these remarkable systems.
Sounds Like A Shatteringly Good Time
With Zeke Kossover
7:00, 8:00, & 9:00 p.m. | Gallery 4
Resonating with another person is usually considered a good thing—you’re sharing ideas; you’re on the same (figurative) frequency. When a glass resonates with a speaker, however, things might not go so well for the glass. When they share the same (literal) frequency, their moment of synchronicity might tear the glass apart! Come experience the downside of a good connection with Exploratorium educator Zeke Kossover.
Bay Area Bluegrass
With Windy Hill
7:30 & 8:30 p.m. | Bechtel Gallery 3, Webcast Studio
Three-part harmony, lonesome duets, banjo breakdowns, and honky-tonk sorrow: Bay Area bluegrass band Windy Hill’s original music stands between the history of bluegrass and its bright and twangy future.
Invention and Innovation in the Grateful Dead Archive
With Jessica Pigza
8:00 p.m. | Kanbar Forum
Dance deep into the Grateful Dead Archive—thousands of documents, recordings, objects, equipment, and art created or collected by the members of this iconic band over the course of decades. UC Santa Cruz librarian Jessica Pigza comes bearing stories, clips, and special objects from the archive that reveal how the band—with the help of staff and a wide-reaching community of fans—pioneered new ways of thinking about work, concert sound and recording, and the relationship between creators and their communities.
With The Exploratorium Explainers
6:00–10:00 p.m. | Bechtel Gallery 3
To build your own personal sound system, you won’t need earphones, wires, or any kind of battery. Try using a coat hanger and some string to produce musical sounds that only you can hear.
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 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.
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.