Bowl of chili peppers

In response to the latest guidelines and information from local and state public health authorities, we have decided to close the Academy to the public, effective today, March 12, at 5:00 pm. This includes tonight's NightLife event and all others through the end of March. For the latest updates from the Academy, please visit


Live Talks: Fireside Chats — CANCELED
Science Today

  • At 7:30 PM, hear the stories behind the local hot sauces you'll be tasting all night featuring Papalote Salsa and Tia Lupita.
  • At 8:00 PM, get a deeper understanding of how the peppers you’re going to eat will affect your nerves with a talk from Dr. David Julius, who studies sensory systems and how they enable humans to perceive the world, including how capsaicin—the “heat”-causing compound in chili peppers—elicits that signature burning sensation.
  • At 8:30 PM, catch a short talk from farmer David Winsberg of Happy Quail Farms on the history, types, and cultivation of peppers on his local pepper farm in East Palo Alto. 

Experience: Spice Up Your Life — CANCELED
African Hall
8:00 PM, 8:30 PM, 9:00 PM

  • For something equally spicy but less painful, give the dance floor a whirl with Cuban salsa dancing lessons by Rueda Con Ritmo.

Experience: The Hot Seat— CANCELED
Project Lab & Swamp



  • Last entry for the Rainforest dome is at 7:45 pm. Please note: drinks are not allowed inside the Rainforest exhibit.
  • Thirsty? Each bar area features a unique seasonal craft cocktail—there are multiple bars throughout the museum.
  • Special programs and lectures may have limited seating and admission will be available to visitors on a first-come, first-served basis.



  • Planetarium passes are required for the 7:30, 8:30, and 9:30 pm shows.
  • Passes are $5 each and may be purchased online or at the ticket window. Since shows do sell out, we always recommend buying in advance.
  • The 6:30 pm live show is always free. Seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Please arrive at the planetarium 15 minutes before your ticketed showtime for seating. We run a tight spaceship!



  • A variety of food options are available at NightLife from 6:00-9:30 pm, including The Academy Cafe and The Academy Cafe Food Cart located in the front lobby.
  • Enjoy a different fresh seasonal "craft on draft" cocktail at each NightLife bar area designed by our resident mixologist Shane McKnight!

All bars accept cash and credit cards.


Upcoming NightLife Events

July 23rd at 7:00 pm

This NightSchool session is designed to give viewers a new appreciation of frogs.

July 30th at 7:00 pm

Virtual NightLife is going to space! Join us for Vol. 7, hosted by the Morrison Planetarium team.