OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Through a second silent virtual auction, Oakland’s Chabot Space and Science Center hoped Wednesday to raise even more money amid challenging financial times, executive director Adam Tobin said.

Thousands of dollars have been raised and demand for the auction items prompted the center to open a second round of bidding that will continue through the end of September.

The center closed for general admission at the start of the state’s COVID-19 lockdown, but programming continues virtually through recorded and live events. The center plans to reopen in a big way in June 2021, but before then supporters can bid on items and experiences.

“They’re really unique experiences and auction items that really only Chabot can provide,” Tobin said.

Imagine a date night in a planetarium that can accommodate 240 people under a 70-foot dome, and “the two of you get it all to yourselves,” Tobin said.

Add to that a projection of the sky on the dome for a special day in history, such as the day of the birth of a child, Tobin said. Chabot can do such a thing and it’s one of the items up for bid.

“It’s really a neat customized experience,” he said.

Bidding starts at $1,000.

Other items in the auction are high-resolution prints of the moon, which were created last year when the center celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing, which put the first people on the moon.

We received a lot of interest in the prints,” Tobin said. “They’re stunning.”

He said they help people get a new appreciation of the moon.

“Science education has never been more important,” he said.

But the nonprofit has faced some financial challenges, which the auctions are helping to alleviate some.

“We’ve lost critical revenue streams,” he said.

Bidders can place their bids 24 hours a day. More details are available at

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