Member Holiday Party and Shopping Night

Sunday, December 9, 2018 • 6:00–9:00 p.m.

Exploratorium, Pier 15 (Embarcadero at Green Street)

Free for Daytime and After Dark members with RSVP.
Are you a donor at the Catalyst Circle or Innovator levels? RSVP here.

All Ages

Note: Daytime and After Dark members only. Optional dinner tickets available for purchase when you RSVP through November 29 only (dinner will not be available for purchase at the event). Light refreshments will be served to all attendees.

Light up your holidays at the Exploratorium! Enjoy special programs and hands-on projects for the whole family at our annual Member Holiday Party—it's free and open to all members who RSVP. 

Play with the whimsical handmade machines of Curious Contraptions and bask in the dazzling lights of Glow. Build your own contraptions, mix up glowing oobleck, enjoy magical animated short films, watch ping-pong balls take a spin through a toothpick San Francisco, and more. Then get your holiday shopping done (with free gift wrapping and shopping-bag check) while supporting science education. Plus, you'll get an extra 10% discount at our Exploratorium Stores—adding up to a one-night-only 20% savings for members.

Not a member? Join to attend.


Shopping Night

Exploratorium Store interior

Double Your Discount
Exploratorium Stores

Get your holiday shopping done while supporting science! Catch fun demos led by product experts and shop for gifts created by local merchants and artisans. Take advantage of the one-night-only 20% member savings and get gifts for everyone on your list.


Free Cookies
Main Store

Enjoy a complimentary sweet treat while you shop for those perfect holiday gifts. Each member visiting the Main Store will receive a cookie. While supplies last.


Free Gift Wrapping for Exploratorium Purchases
Front Lobby at the Main Store Entrance

Take advantage of free gift wrapping for all of your Exploratorium Stores purchases.


Free Shopping-Bag Check
Information Desk

Leave your purchases in our lockers for free! Pick up quarters at the Information Desk, then experience the party without lugging your gifts throughout the museum.


Toys for Tots Donation Station
Front Lobby at the Main Store Entrance

Drop off a new toy for someone in need in our Toys for Tots barrel.



Pythagorean Devices

Prepaid Dinner Pickup and Pythagorean Devices
Fisher Bay Observatory Gallery 6
6:00–8:30 p.m.

Pick up your preordered dinner and watch an innovative, rapid-fire dose of Rube Goldberg entertainment. Pythagorean Devices (2002–2009, 30 min.), a compilation film of chain-reaction machines, was produced for a Japanese children’s television show.


The Adventures of Prince Achmed

The Adventures of Prince Achmed
Bechtel Gallery 3, Webcast Studio
6:15 and 7:45 p.m.

The Adventures of Prince Achmed by Lotte Reiniger (1926, 72 min.) is an enchanting film about an evil sorcerer trying to best the princely hero. The story is told using only cut-paper silhouettes against the warm glows of colorfully tinted and toned backdrops. Prince Achmed is loosely based on The Arabian Nights tales. Reiniger’s exquisitely expressive cutouts depict magical scenes of adventure involving flying horses, Aladdin, the Witch of Fiery Mountain, and Princess Pari Banu.


Rolling Through the Bay

Rolling Through the Bay
By Scott Weaver
Gallery 2, Tinkering Studio
6:15, 7:15, and 8:15 p.m.

Delight as Ping-Pong balls dropped from above take a spin through a toothpick sculpture of iconic San Francisco sites. Artist Scott Weaver has been painstakingly constructing this piece since 1974.


Drawing Board exhibit

Drawing Board
Osher Gallery 1
6:30–9:00 p.m.

Draw hypnotically flowing patterns with a swinging table, and watch friction cause the patterns to slowly shrink along a spiral path.


Holiday Animations

Holiday Animations
Bechtel Gallery 3, Webcast Studio
7:30 p.m.

Various animation styles fill this film program designed to delight.



Ornamental Projections

Ornamental Projections
Osher Gallery 1, Microcinema

From dancing kaleidoscopes and visual tricks to beautiful motion studies, these short films offer fun and fascinating looks at light.


Make Your Own Automata

Make Your Own Automata
With Explorables
Gallery 4

Play with motion and mechanisms. Use cams, cranks, and moving parts to investigate and build different types of contraptions made with everyday materials such as cardboard and paper. Explore the intersection of art and engineering, and tell playful stories with your contraptions.


Tactile Dome

Free Tactile Dome
Osher Gallery 1

Admission to the Tactile Dome is first-come, first-served. Didn’t make it in time? Daytime members can return any time next May for free May Is for Members Tactile Dome access!


Kinetic Ball Run

Build a Kinetic Ball Run with Curious Contraptions Artist Kazu Harada
Gallery 2, Tinkering Studio

Build an interactive kinectic ball run with Japanese automata artist Kazu Harada. Get an up-close look at the work in progress. Drop a ball, crank a handle, and follow the paths the marbles travel.


Glowing Oobleck activity

Glowing Oobleck
With Explorables
Bechtel Gallery 3 Classrooms

Oobleck, also called “ooze,” is an easily made at home non-Newtonian fluid (which don’t flow as you’d expect). A suspension of cornstarch in water, it takes its name from the Dr. Seuss book Bartholomew and the Oobleck. Mix luminescent colors into the oobleck and see it glow under black lights.