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The Exploratorium Goes Adult with "After Dark" Tonight

We're not ashamed to admit it—we love the Exploratorium, the interactive science museum that caters to kids but inevitably delights visitors of all ages. Now that we're grown up, however, we have to confess having some fantasies about hitting the Tactile Dome after knocking back a few adult beverages. Wish granted! Based on the success of the California Academy of Sciences' "Nightlife," the Exploratorium now has a new "After Dark" series, where the fun of playing with their exhibits meets the fun of hitting the bar. Just think: You could meet that special someone while you toy with the Tesla coil.

December's event focuses on "Fire and Ice," with a "pyrograph" that lets users trace out patterns in fire and a walk-through fog pool, plus live ice sculpting. January's event is "Resolution," focusing on the boundaries of perception, and will feature a 3-D cube light sculpture by Mark Lottor. And at a special "Science of Cocktails" event on January 20, bartenders from Alembic, Orson, 15 Romolo, and 83 Proof will mix signature drinks while guests peruse special exhibits about the science of alcohol production, inebriation, hangovers and cocktail creation. If you have a science-loving foodie in your life (a clue: episodes of "Good Eats" on the TiVo), a pair of tickets to this one would make a great holiday gift.

Exploratorium After Dark is held the first Thursday of every month from 6-10 pm. Upcoming events are "Fire and Ice" on Thursday, December 3, and "Resolution" on Thursday, January 7. Tickets are free with a $25 yearly membership, or $14 for non-members. The "Science of Cocktails" event will be held Wednesday, January 20, from 7-10 pm. Tickets are $50 for general admission (one free cocktail, access to the exhibits, and food) and $75 for VIP admission (the general-admission perks, plus a chance to meet the bartenders, an extra cocktail, and a gift bag).