200 Years of Discovery
The Academy of Natural Sciences is celebrating its 200th birthday in 2012. The year-long bicentennial celebration kicks off with the opening of a new exhibit The Academy at 200: The Nature of Discovery. Visitors can explore the Academy’s groundbreaking discoveries of the past and present while taking a glimpse into the future of Philadelphia’s incredible natural history museum. Click here for more information and a complete listing of events.
The discoveries that rocked the world then and now share four floors of exhibit space in this family-friendly museum that showcases the Academy’s remarkable collections. The fully constructed Tyranosaurus rex, one of the largest meat-eating dinosaurs, towers over Dinosaur Hall, also home to fossils from the Hadrosaurus foulkii, discovered in New Jersey in 1856. You can climb inside a Tyrannosaurus rex skull, try on horns and claws, and dig for fossils.
Multitudes of butterflies from Kenya, Costa Rica and Malaysia flit around you in a simulated tropical rain forest. Large game animals acquired in the 1920s and 1930s are mounted in 3-D painted dioramas that replicate their natural habitats; for Philadelphians of that era, this was their first sighting of an Indian tiger or a wildebeest.
Founded in 1812, The Academy of Natural Sciences is the oldest continually operating museum of its kind in the Western Hemisphere. It sponsored some of the seminal explorations for American wildlife and fossils, and by the early 1900s, expanded those explorations to Africa, Asia and the Antarctic. Researchers worldwide utilize the museum’s more than 17 million specimens for biodiversity studies.
Many of the museum’s live animals are featured in shows throughout the day. Don’t miss the small but dazzling gem and crystal collection.
Great Kids’ Stuff
In the Outside-In hands-on nature center, children can touch a hissing Madagascar cockroach or a snake, crawl through a tree trunk and examine fossils under a microscope.
Butterflies! took flight in October 2009 at the Academy, with dozens of different butterflies from around the world encased in over 1,200-square-feet of exquisite gardens and interactive freedom. Witness the different stages in a butterfly’s life cycle, or let your imaginations take flight as you experience the beauty and charm of these delicate creatures.