Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Academy of Natural Sciences

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)
(Honeybee hive)
(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!


  1. So much fun! We have tickets to take Keri Brenna and Shaela in November for their birthdays. We got them through Groupons.

    I do remember the butterfly exhibit being very exciting!

  2. Looks like fun!

    We have had zoo and science center memberships in the past, and have used them around the country with the reciprocal memberships. Love them! We've visited a lot of places that we just wouldn't have had we not had the memberships.

    Laurel :)

  3. So where do you get this membership???? I am very interested!

  4. You can join any museum (Davinci Science Center in Allentown, Franklin Institute, Lancaster Science Center or the Academy of Natural Sciences) and that membership automatically comes with reciprocal memberships to all the science museums. You can see more info here: http://www.ansp.org/get-involved/membership/
    This year we are going to get one to the ANS since it comes with a parking discount, and parking is free anyway at the Davinci Science Center in Allentown where we had our membership last year.

  5. Oh man, that looks like something that my kids (especially Chase) would love! And Ahh, the butterflies! How long are they there?!

  6. The butterflies are a permanent exhibit!

  7. Loved the butterfly exhibit and it looks like the children did also. Sometimes we are fortunate to see the Monarch's in their migration. They are so beautiful.


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