Exploratorium After Dark


I’m a huge fan of mixing a little bit of childhood wonder with the perks of adulthood. Like when they put a Napa area in California Adventure at Disneyland. Or, game nights with friends mixed with a little wine. Or having picnics with vino on park days. (There’s a theme here right? I guess mixing a little booze with a fun activity is really a recipe for a good time!)

So true to this equation, one of my favorite things to do in San Francisco is the Exploratorium After Dark. It is an adult version (18+) of the Exploratorium that happens every Thursday from 6pm to 10pm and gives visitors a chance to check out exhibits while enjoying some food and drink. Why not learn a little something and explore a bit instead of the regular ole happy hour?

The whole experience really gives me that old school giddiness of a field trip because there are so many fascinating exhibits that show off amazing bits of science that are completely fascinating… and these are things that I feel I haven’t been exposed to since school which is a shame because this is the most fun part of learning!

I loved things like this as a child and that wonder hasn’t faded. My friend Lisa joined me for the evening and I have to say, we had a blast looking at all the different things that allow you to see colors, sounds, and objects in a whole new light. Every little exhibit has something that makes you think, an optical illusion, or is genuinely just a ride for your senses! It all felt like magic and as though we had a personal tour into the secrets of magicians! And the coolest part? Most things were hands on! So we could really experience it all first hand.

They also had live exhibits and showcases and my favorite one-HANDS DOWN- was the Tactile Dome! I had a total and complete blast in there and it was really the perfect thing to do for the spooky Halloween season too. And since I love this time of year but don’t have time to go to a haunted house, it really got me in the spirit. So here is the scoop on the experience:

Lisa and I had no idea what to expect and when we walked into the Dome, we were in a waiting room and a very nice gentleman told us what we were in for. Basically, we were to take off our shoes, go in groups and feel around to try to get through the next part of the Dome, which was essentially a maze. The thing is: it is PITCH BLACK. So think grown-up Discovery Zone, meets completely visually impaired.

I have to say, it took us a solid 7 minutes probably to figure it out on the first part of the Dome. (The very nice man watches all of us in case we need help via a screen that only he can see!) And we were laughing REALLY hard because we were kind of nervous! This exhibit is not for the faint of heart! Legitimately I felt that weird bit of panic but was also so amused and mixed in with laughter made the experience even better.

It got a little spooky though too but once we figured out how to feel around to get to the next part, we learned to work together. There were lots of different shapes and textures throughout so it was a way to get you to use your other senses but since it was such a tight and enclosed space, it was for SURE challenging. So cool!

There were a ton more awesome experience just like this one! So make sure you grab your besties, love, first date, or coworkers and head on over there! Check out their Thursday calendar and see what is going on. And every Thursday is a different theme so no one visit will be like the other!

Also, save 5% on individual After Dark tickets through November 30th and $5 off an individual or dual membership package using promo code FUTUREFOOD. Be sure to check it out!

Make sure to check out the pics below of some of my favorite exhibits. Quite honestly it really doesn’t do them all justice because there is such a present, feeling, in-person rush you get since everything is so hands on so it really can only capture an twinge of the essence and fun at the Exploratorium After Dark! So hurry up and go and make your Thursday nights a little bit better.


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