Summer Camp

summer campers hunting for insects

Real Science is real fun…
all summer long!

Academy Explorers Camp invites campers, ages 5-12 years old, to learn about natural science in a safe, fun, and engaging way. Each week of camp explores an exciting new theme and features an off-site field trip! From fossils to our extreme earth to amazing animals, check out our camp themes to find the best fit for your child’s interests. Summer Camp is appropriate for children ages 5-12.

Parents with younger children may want to consider Tiny Tot Explorers, a program for children ages 3–5.

Weekly Camp Themes

kids with sculpture
Animal Inventions (July 6–10)
Tap into your inner inventor as you observe nature and design something new inspired by animal attributes. Be inspired by science!
  • FIELD TRIP: Get inspired by sea creatures of all stripes. Study sharks, jellyfish, and penguins to inform your own aquatic inventions.
  • Create your own wearable camouflage.
  • Invent an animal-inspired product to help you in everyday life.
  • Take home your very own “Gecko Glue.”
kids with squid
Inside-Out (July 13–17)
Discover what makes animals (including you) tick, and figure out how bones, organs, blood, and guts work together.
  • FIELD TRIP: Explore the world 3,000 years ago at a local museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Discover the ins-and-outs of mummification.
  • Determine what makes a mammal a mammal, from the inside out.
  • Write a letter home in fresh squid ink.
  • Collect Plant DNA.
kids at big brook
The World of T.rex (July 20–24)
Travel back in time to explore the world of Tyrannosaurus rex, and meet the real live descendants of these ancient beasts.
  • FIELD TRIP: Let’s go fossil hunting! This trip excites everyone’s inner-most paleontologist. Use what you found to start or continue your own fossil collection.
  • Take a tour of Dinosaur Hall and discover who the prehistoric neighbors of T. rex really were.
  • Create your very own Ammonite fossil to take home.
  • Play Pterosaurs Frisbee, and learn about the prehistoric animals that took to the skies during the Cretaceous Period.
live iguana and kids during Academy Explorers Camp
Slimy Science (July 27–31)
Wiggle with worms and squirm with salamanders to inspire your inner scientist with these icky, slimy experiments.
  • FIELD TRIP: Explore the pond and stream ecosystems in Gladwyne, PA. You’ll go searching for insects, crustaceans, fish, and amphibians that are adapted for life in the water.
  • Experiment with your very own hand-made slime.
  • Can you survive the wetlands? Find out during a game of “It’s a Frog’s Life.”
  • Begin your own composting kit and create a worm’s paradise.
kids with dinosaur horn
Dino-lympics (August 3–7)
Join the feathered frenzy, challenge yourself, and discover how well you’d measure up to the dinosaurs.
  • FIELD TRIP: Explore the fossil-rich creek beds of New Jersey in this campers-only fossil hunting excursion. Bring home what you uncover.
  • Determine if you could have out-run a dinosaur.
  • Meet living dinosaur relatives up close.
  • Test your best attributes during our campers-only Dino-lympic Event.
campers getting a close but safe encounter with a tarantula
Bugstravaganza (August 10–14)
Journey deep into the dirt and observe the world from a bug’s point of view. Plus, get up close and personal with some real live creepy crawlies!
  • FIELD TRIP:Visit a garden paradise, right here in Philadelphia. Explore the grounds, find out the importance of bees, and learn the basics of beekeeping.
  • Take a virtual trip around the world while never leaving the museum, and discover the insects and arachnids found on different continents.
  • Design and build your own “bug” to display in our campers-only “Bugstravaganza Ball.”
  • Who’s feeling buggy? Play games to determine the difference between insect and human senses.
kids with plant fossils
Behind-the-Scenes (August 17–21) Sold Out!
Become the ultimate Academy insider! Explore the museum’s rarely seen collections, meet Academy scientists and try your hand at some seriously fun science.
  • FIELD TRIP:Explore the inner workings of historic ships, the Olympia and the Becuna, still afloat on the Delaware. Experience the Philadelphia waterfront's rich history.
  • Discover the secrets behind the Academy’s dioramas.
  • Observe specimens rarely seen by the public.
  • Experience a day in the life of a butterfly keeper in our Butterflies! Exhibit.
kids with goat
Animal Grossology (August 24–28) Sold Out!
Get a closer look at animals and the disgusting things they do. Learn how puke, poop, and pellets can be fun, funky, and fascinating.
  • FIELD TRIP:Discover how “gross” becomes “awesome” by taking a hay ride around a local farm, meeting farm animals, going berry picking, and letting loose at the farm playground.
  • Dissect a pellet from an Academy owl to determine its diet.
  • Uncover the power of poop in an exciting animal matching game.
  • Learn how to eat like a fly during a fun, hands-on activity.


The Academy is conveniently located right in the heart of Center City, making pickup and drop-off a breeze for those who live (and work) in and around Philadelphia.

Registering is easy!

  1. Download the Registration Form. For each camper, please clearly and completely fill out the registration form, medical form, and permission and release form. Remember to sign each form. A Parent’s Guide is also available for download.
  2. Submit your registration and payment. All Academy Explorers registrations must be accompanied by a nonrefundable $100 deposit per week registered. Deposit does not apply to Tiny Tot registrations. Balance in full is due by Friday, June 19, 2015. You may submit your registration over the phone or by mail:
    1. By Phone: Call our Reservations Office at 215-299-1060 to pay with a credit card. You will then be asked to fax your completed forms to 215-405-1551.
    2. By Mail: Send the completed forms with a check made out to the Academy of Natural Sciences to:
      Academy Explorers Camp
      1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
      Philadelphia, PA 19103
  3. Return registration forms no later than Monday, June 29th, 2015. Children will not be permitted at camp without a signed Medical, Permission, and Release form. Click the links below to print Academy Explorers Camp forms for 2015.
  4. Upon completion of your registration, you will receive additional information about camp as well as instructions for paying any balances.
  5. In the event of a registration cancellation, no refunds will be given after June 19th, 2015. Prior to June 19th, 2015, refunds may be given at the discretion of the Camp Coordinator.

If you have any questions about the registration process, please call 215-299-1060. For general questions, please contact Christine Danowsky at or 215-299-3798.

Members pay $320 per camper per weekly session.
Nonmembers pay $360 per camper per weekly session.
Before-care (8–9 am) is $50 per camper per weekly session.
After-care (4–5:30 pm) is $50 per camper per weekly session.
Academy members save even more!
If you are interested in becoming a member of the Academy, check out our membership information or call us at 215-299-1022.
SCOP Scholarships
Occasionally a small number of scholarships are available through the generosity of SCOP (Support Community Outreach Program). Scholarships for 2015 are now closed.  
Registration Form for Summer Academy Explorers Camp 2015
Parents Guide for Summer Academy Explorers Camp 2015 
2015 Camp Brochure
Plan your visit, check out our new exhibits, and find out about upcoming activities.
Discover the past and explore the future of the natural sciences in our online exhibits.
Make a difference, browse our programs, and get involved with the natural world.