We spent Labor Day down in Philly at the Academy of Natural Sciences. I was a little apprehensive that it would be crowded since it was a holiday and because our visit to the Franklin Institute the Friday after Christmas ended up being the busiest day of the year (scary!). Thankfully I thought to call ahead this time to ask if they were typically busy on Labor Day, to which the answer was, thankfully "no".
(FYI my parents were at the Franklin Institute the same day and they reported that it was crowded)
We have a membership to our local science museum and it includes reciprocal membership at all the local science museums including the Academy of Natural Sciences. It's really such a great deal and we got our money's worth many times over this year. Our membership was running out though so I really wanted to get down there before the end of the month, and Christian really wanted to go too because this stuff is right up his alley so we were happy that it worked out.
I must say that we liked this museum a lot better than Franklin Institute. It isn't as huge, meaning you can basically see everything in one day, and it isn't as crowded. Kids also seem to find natural science more interesting than the electricity, physics, chemistry and such that you will find at Franklin.
They had this fun excavation simulation where the kids could pretend to be archeologists and try to dig up dinosaur bones.
I just want to give a shout out to our friends in Argentina! Apparently it's a major spot to find dinosaur bones.
They had all these really cool dioramas of scenes from Africa, Asia and North America. The kids said these were their favorite thing about the museum. I only have two pictures here but there were 37 dioramas in all.
There was also a great exhibit called "Outside In" that was more geared to younger children, and was filled with insects, turtles, small mammals and lots of other hands on things to explore.
(Red Kneed Tarantula)
(Panning for shark teeth)
One of the major reasons we wanted to visit was to see their indoor butterfly exhibit. There were species of butterflies from all over the world in there and you could get so close to observe them. While you were not allowed to touch them, if you were lucky, one could land on you.
We also enjoyed this room with specimens collected from all over the world. Shells, butterflies, a meteorite, birds, insects, fish, bones, plants and on and on. It was all so interesting and fun to look at. The kids could not stop saying "oooh mommy, daddy, come look quick!"
There was also a live animal section where we got to observe this guy taking a snooze. Unfortunately the camera could not seem to capture his iridescent scales that looked so beautiful in the light.
We had such a fabulous time that we decided this was one membership we needed to renew for the coming year. It also happened to have the best gift shop of any museum ever. O.k. maybe I tend to be a little extreme sometimes, but it really was pretty cool. Even Christian managed to stay in there for more than ten minutes and that says a lot. :)
Hopefully we will be heading back soon!