A flock of birds fly across a blue sky

Join us Thursday, August 18, at 7pm PT for a free NightSchool livestream!


Animals don't use GPS to navigate the world around them, so how do they do it? Join us for a night featuring some of the amazing science behind communication and wayfinding in nature.

  • Sharks routinely make long-distance migrations, sometimes spanning entire ocean basins to their targeted locations. How do they maintain such incredible navigational success? Dr. Bryan Keller, Foreign Affairs Specialist at NOAA Fisheries, shares the story of a group of bonnethead sharks off the coast of Florida, and how they may be using the earth's magnetic field as a navigational aid.
  • Bats are skilled at echolocation, producing soundwaves to pinpoint their surroundings, but when it comes to navigating mid-flight they might not rely on echolocation as much as previously thought. Dr. Aaron Corcoran, Head of the Sensory and Aerial Ecology Lab at the University of Colorado, reveals the nighttime-navigation strategies of the hoary bat.
  • Ever taken a second to look closely at the marvels of an ant trail? Learn about the communication ecology of these insects as Jaime Mathew Chalissery, Master of Pest Management, shares the secrets of how little ants traverse a big world, and how one species of pavement ant coordinates its vast network of trails.



NightSchool is live on the first & third Thursdays of every month.

All NightSchool virtual programming is intended for audiences 21+.



Missed the party? Just want to relive the magic? Watch the recorded livestreams on YouTube!


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.