Explore the museum at night

NightLife: Level Up
Thursday, August 25, 6-10 pm
21+ with ID
Prices vary; planetarium passes $5

For guaranteed availability, we strongly recommend purchasing tickets in advance. Last rainforest entry is 7:30 pm. Proof of full vaccination OR negative test within 48 hours required; boosters and indoor masking strongly encouraged but not required. Learn more.

Grab your Player 2 (or 3 or 4) and level up your Thursday night with an evening dedicated to gaming.

Sounds by RIETA

Featured Cocktails

  • Princess Peach Margarita – peach infused tequila, triple sec, lime juice, simple syrup
  • Q*bert Punch – vodka, blood orange vodka, cranberry juice, pineapple juice


Story Mode
6 - 10 PM

  • For one night only, find out more about video game history…literally, we mean find it. Join the Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment (MADE) in a scavenger hunt and look for plaques scattered around the museum to learn more about this entertaining and evolving medium.

Arcade Mode
6 - 10 PM

  • Check out our makeshift Academy Arcade and play the world’s only 10-player strategy arcade game, Killer Queen, vie for the high score on pinball machines from the Pacific Pinball Museum, or test your luck at winning a Claude plushie in our Claw-de machine (see what we did there?)

VS. Mode
African Hall
6 - 10 PM

  • Ready, set, smash. Watch 64 players go head-to-head at the Academy’s first-ever Super Smash Bros. Melee tournament, hosted by YungWaff.

Free Play Mode
East Garden
6:30 - 9:30 PM

  • From on-screen to in-person, let the nostalgia commence and jam out to the sweet sounds from your favorite video games with local orchestral powerhouse, Awesöme Orchestra.
    • 6:30-7:00: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
    • 7:00-7:30pm: "To Far Away Times" music from Chrono Trigger
    • 7:40-8:30pm: Celeste Symphonic Suite
    • 8:40-9:05pm: "Clip Joint Calamity" from Cuphead
    • 9:05-9:30pm: "Floral Fury" from Cuphead

View Collection
Science Today
7 PM

  • Omanyte, I choose you! Enter the Pokémon universe and learn about the real-life inspiration behind some of your favorite Pokémon with our very own Curatorial Assistant in Geology, Maricela Abarca. And as an added bonus: we’ve hidden a few Pokéballs around the museum for those that “gotta catch ‘em all”.

Power Down
Curiosity Grove
6 - 10 PM

  • Don’t worry, board game lovers, we know gaming isn’t just digital. Local SF gem, Game Parlour, is back for another round at NightLife with a variety of classic board games.

A few don't-miss NightLife details:

  • To help keep staff and guests safe, proof of full COVID-19 vaccination OR a negative test result from within 48 hours of the event is required for entry, and boosters and indoor masking are strongly encouraged. Feeling under the weather? Please NightLife another time! View health and safety information here.
  • Last entry into the rainforest exhibit is 7:30 pm—our animals need their sleep.
  • Morrison Planetarium is now open at NightLife with 4 showtimes. To maximize staff and guest safety, planetarium passes are required and capacity is limited. Passes are available online in advance for an additional $5 while supplies last to reserve a seat at a 6:30, 7:30, 8:30, or 9:30 pm planetarium show. Please see our FAQs for more details. (Please note: A limited number of standby seats will be available for all showtimes as space allows on a first-come, first-served basis. Food and drink are not permitted inside the planetarium.)
  • Beverages are available at various bars throughout the building, but food must enjoyed outdoors or in the Academy Cafe only.
  • NightLife is for adults 21+ only. Photo ID required.
  • Still have Qs? See our FAQs here.


Planetarium Shows

8:30 pm, 9:30 pm

Discover how a deeper understanding of Earth might help us spot other living worlds light-years away.

6:30 pm, 7:30 pm

Explore the immense scale of the known Universe in this live presentation that leaves Earth far behind.

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Upcoming ticketed museum events

October 6th at 6:00 pm

Bird is the word! Flock over to NightLife for beers and birds in honor of this Oktoberfest tradition.

October 13th at 6:00 pm

Touch, smell, hear, taste, and feel your way through the museum for a night that just makes sense.

October 20th at 6:00 pm

Explore the nocturnal side of the Academy and see what makes the museum at night different. For adults 21+.

October 27th at 6:00 pm

We’re dying to have you back at our annual Halloween bash for a spine-tingling night dead-icated to science!

November 3rd at 6:00 pm

Lil’ NightLife, Big Vibes. Join us for an evening devoted to all the small things— from microbes to tiny homes.

November 10th at 6:00 pm

Spice up your Thursday night and take your tastebuds for a ride at our hottest NightLife yet.

Upcoming free virtual events

October 6th at 7:00 pm

What live everywhere there’s water, are invisible to the naked eye, and are essential to life on Earth? Diatoms!

October 20th at 7:00 pm

We’re throwing a mini-festival celebrating the ground beneath your feet.