NightLife: Inked

Get ready for memories that are sure to be everlasting: Inked is back at Nightlife. Explore the wonders of ink, from cephalopods to live tattoos — yes, the real kind.

Sounds by Sean G & J Boogie

Check out Sean G's NightLife Playlist and J Boogie's NightLife Playlist on the NightLife Spotify page.

Nightlife is supported by Local Motion® Vodka Sodas, light, refreshing, and simply made with vodka, carbonated water, and natural flavors. Grab Local Motion® at all bars throughout NightLife this year. Plus, snag a sample of Local Motion® during this event!


Tats & Tentacles - Live talks on Cephalopods and Tattoos

Tats & Tentacles
African Hall

  • 7:30 PM - Dive into the wild world of underwater ink for a live talk about cephalopods with author and expert Danna Staaf. Discover the unique role ink plays in the lives of squids, octopuses, and cuttlefish, from defense mechanisms to courtship displays.
  • 8:30 PM - Join artists from Parallax Art Studio as they discuss the different paths they’ve taken to join the tattoo industry, from humble beginnings to self-taught mastery. Listen to career highlights, horror stories, and pick their brains with questions of your own.
NightLife Tattoo Shop - Live the museum

NightLife Tattoo Shop
Curiosity Grove
6:15 - 9:45 PM

  • Welcome back to the NightLife tattoo pop-up shop! This year’s shop features local artists Blackstone, Cloud Achoo, Glumpey tats, and Inklore. A few* lucky folks will be able to get some ink of their own with a selection of flash designs inspired by the Academy’s most iconic spaces and creatures. Want to nab one of the coveted spots? Head to their Instagram pages and book your spot for the chance to say you got tattooed at NightLife.
  • Did someone say free tattoos? We did! For those interested in a Local Motion® Vodka Sodas inspired flash design, it’s on the house. A limited number of guests can snag a spot via the Instagram pages of our resident tattoo artists for the night. P.S. We’re also teaming up with DoTheBay for a special giveaway.

*Please note: There will be a handful of walk-up tattoo appointments available, however we recommend booking an appointment with the artist ahead of time via their Instagram.

Inkin’ Bout You - Try your hand at a real tattoo needle, request a personal portrait in ink, grab a temp tat, and more 

Inkin’ Bout You
6 - 10 PM

  • Ever wanted to try your hand at being a tattoo artist? Now’s your chance. Bring a design to life on your own with tattoo machines and fake skin, under the expert guidance of Parallax Art Studio. Start times for this workshop will vary and space is limited.
  • For something a little less permanent, grab a temporary tattoo designed by local illustrator and muralist Nigel Sussman. Plus, snag your own cephalopod-inspired masterpiece with a drawing brought to life on the spot by Nigel himself!
  • Pick up some tattoo-inspired merch designed by artist Crystal Chariot, in collaboration with our friends at San Franpsycho.
  • Chat with Academy Curatorial Assistant Johanna Loacker about some inky friends from our collections.
The Menu - Drinks and Bites from Liquid Happiness and Chef Rob

The Menu
Drinks and Bites from Liquid Happiness and Chef Rob

At The Swamp & Aquarium Bars:

  • Tinta Siempre - Tequila, lime, agave, triple sec, activated charcoal

In The Academy Cafe:

  • Inked Mac & Cheese - Mac and Cheese with Squid Ink Tuile

  • Tiny Tentacles - Fried Calamari served with Spicy Remoulade


A few don't-miss NightLife details:
  • NightLife is for adults 21+ only. Valid, physical photo ID required.
  • Last entry into Osher Rainforest is 7:30 pm — our animals need their sleep.
  • Gems and Minerals Unearthed opens to the public at 8:30 pm. It is reserved for NightLife Plus guests from 6 - 8:30 pm.
  • Morrison Planetarium passes are available online in advance for $5 each while supplies last. Showtimes are 6:30, 7:30, 8:30, and 9:30 pm. A limited number of standby seats will be available for all showtimes as space allows on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Food and drink are not permitted in Osher Rainforest, Morrison Planetarium, or the Swamp.
  • While not required, we encourage all guests to stay up-to-date on their vaccinations and to mask up indoors. If you’re feeling sick or have been in close contact with someone who has recently tested positive for COVID-19 or another respiratory virus, please visit another time. View our health and safety page.
  • Still have Qs? Click here for As.

Planetarium Shows

8:30 pm, 9:30 pm

Embark on a journey into the hidden world of coral reefs.

6:30 pm, 7:30 pm

Explore the immense scale of the known Universe in this live presentation that leaves Earth far behind.

Thank you to our cocktail sponsor
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Upcoming events

July 25th at 6:00 pm

Explore the Academy at night alongside nearly 60,000 live animals.

August 1st at 6:00 pm

We’re kicking off our music series with homegrown movement maker LaRussell & the surf rock sounds of 3LH.

August 8th at 6:00 pm

Be transported by the grunge punk stylings of Margaritas Podridas and psychedelic rock sounds of opener Fauxes.

August 15th at 6:00 pm

Underground rap pioneer MURS takes center stage, with an opening set from multifaceted hometown artist Z-Man.

August 22nd at 6:00 pm

We’re closing out NightLife Remix with the serene soul vibes of Madison McFerrin and opener Dani Offline.

August 29th at 6:00 pm

See what’s revealed once the sun goes down and explore the nocturnal side of the Academy.