Party Earth Review Anyone yearning to geek out inside a multimillion-dollar science museum with the added bonus of booze should head to Golden Gate Park on Thursdays for NightLife at the California Academy of Sciences. Since 2009, the Academy... ... read full review
55 Music Concourse Drive
San Francisco, CA 94118
MUNI N Line: 9th & Irving Avenue
The Sunset, San Francisco –
Anyone yearning to geek out inside a multimillion-dollar science museum with the added bonus of booze should head to Golden Gate Park on Thursdays for NightLife at the California Academy of Sciences.
Since 2009, the Academy has stayed open late once a week to give the 21+ crowd full run of the place, with an ever-changing series of themed events and several temporary bars spread throughout the gigantic building.
Groups of friends and inebriated naturalists make a beeline for the Steinhart Aquarium, which takes up most of the basement area and includes an incredible four-story dome that emulates all the levels of a real rainforest.
Multi-tasking dudes with beers in hand nonchalantly place a free arm around their dates as they ogle the other jellyfish in the room, while established couples get frisky along the darkened blue-hued corners where some thirty-eight thousand ocean creatures reside inches behind the glass.
Back on the main ground floor, live bands or DJs set up based on the night’s theme – salsa one week, sustainable seafood the next, even a zombie theme for Halloween – as space nuts pound their cocktails before entering the Morrison Planetarium, a massive all-digital dome with a seventy-five-foot diameter projection screen.
For four hours, singles mingle among the dinosaur bones, gasp at the albino alligator, or eye that special someone at the other end of a tunnel set beneath a gigantic tank brimming with arapaima, arowana, and giant catfish.
Fitting, perhaps, that something as natural as love could bloom at NightLife at the California Academy of Sciences.
It’s a good deal pricier, but why not splurge on the VIP Tour? For $59, you get admission and express entry to NightLife, an hour-long behind-the-scenes tour, an open bar in a reserved cocktail area before the tour, VIP access to the rainforest, and a reserved pass for the 8:30pm planetarium show.
Young couples, singles, large groups of curious friends, first dates, birthday groups, closeted geeks, and anyone looking for a different spin on their nightlife, 21 to mid-30s+.
Multiple DJs and/or live bands performing in a variety of styles tied to the night’s theme, from house to swing to everything else under the sun.
One hundred thousand square-foot museum packed with incredible exhibits, aquariums, a replica of a rain forest, and the largest all-digital projection screen on the planet in the planetarium.
Food stands offer a handful of snacks and entrées that can change weekly but usually include items like pork buns, chicken with fries, and vegetarian dishes. Private lounge available for rental.
Admission $12. Grub $5–$15. Beer $6–$8, wine $10, cocktails $7–$12.
Casual to trendy: everything from white t-shirts and jeans to dolled up duds.
Only open on Thursdays, but patrons should arrive early to avoid the lines and to check out the rainforest, which closes at 8pm.
The wonderful three-mile expanse of Golden Gate Park is right outside and just begging for some tipsy outdoor fun. NOTE: Party Earth does not condone in any way attempting to ride the bison in the park’s Buffalo Paddock, regardless of how many cocktails have been consumed.