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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.
“Only the dose makes the poison.” —Paracelsus
Pick your poison at After Dark. Discover the deadly history of arsenic at Everything Matters and weigh the threats and medicinal benefits of different toxins from venomous creatures and poisonous plants.
Photo courtesy of Science Museum, London.
Toxic Relationships: Detox or Toss?
With Heike Winterheld
7:00 p.m. | Bechtel Gallery 3, Webcast Studio
Have you ever been in a relationship—romantic or not—that started out intoxicating and then turned toxic? Although these relationships can be (literally) hazardous to your health, there's good news: vicious cycles can be broken and healthy connections built. Exploratorium staff social psychologist Heike Winterheld discusses how negative relationship dynamics develop and how they can be changed, why certain personalities don't play well with others and how to handle them, and what you can do to detox your love life (without donning a hazmat suit).
Everything Matters: Arsenic
With Ron Hipschman
8:00 p.m. | Bechtel Gallery 3, Webcast Studio
Known as the "poison of kings" for its role in palace coups and the "king of poisons" for its effectiveness, arsenic is one of the world's most notorious poisons—yet it surrounds us in the natural world and has appeared in medical and cosmetic contexts for thousands of years. Investigate our complex relationship with the 33rd element with Ron Hipschman.
With Dana Carrison-Stone
6:30–9:30 p.m. | Gallery 4, Bio Bar
Cnidaria—anemones, corals, and jellyfish, among others—aren't supervillains; they're just trying to eat. But it's all the same to the victims of their nematocysts, or body parts that inject poison into their prey. Learn about nematocysts with marine biologist Dana Carrison-Stone.
6:30–9:30 p.m. | Gallery 4
Spiders aren't poisonous, but some of them are venomous. What's the difference? The spider experts of UC Berkeley's Evolab can fill you in—and tell you about the role of venom in spider mating, how venomous spiders evolved, and how it feels to milk spiders for their venom every day at work.
With Scott Kildall
6:30–9:30 p.m. | Gallery 4, near tidal walls
You know the sound of running water—but can you hear what's in the water? Artist Scott Kildall's installation Sonaqua uses an algorithm, a simple Arduino circuit, and samples of river water from around the world to produce sonifications—data-driven orchestral arrangements that express the makeup and purity of each sample through sound.
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.