Evening explorations in science across San Francisco

 

Every Thursday at 6 p.m., the doors of the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco open, ushering long lines of adults in. Nearly seven miles across town, a similar scene unfolds along the Embarcadero at the Exploratorium.

Both houses of intellectual exploration began running their current evening programs — “NightLife” at the Academy and “After Dark” at the Exploratorium — over five years ago on the premise of allowing people to interact with science in an unconventional form.

The facilities keep their doors and exhibits open late, pairing intellectual activities with food and spirits, while offering temporary expositions ranging from art to science — oftentimes combining more than one discipline.

Communications manager at the California Academy of Sciences, Kelly Mendez, said the diversity in programming and weekly theme changes continue to draw the young and old Bay Area community in.

Mendez’s counterpart at the Exploratorium, director of public programs Melissa Alexander, said their goal is to attract people who aren’t necessarily on a “science track” through their innovative expositions and party atmosphere. Alexander said these programs provide access to scientific learning — a right she believes should be available to all, especially after they have graduated from a stereotypical classroom.

Alexander and Mendez both emphasized their aspiration to invite even those who thought they hated science to join in the wonders of the natural world.