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FAQ

Answers to your questions about museum hours, accessibility, wi-fi, bringing kids to the museum, renting the museum, taking photos, and more. 

Kids exploring Butterfly exhibit 

Hours and Visitation

What are the hours of the Academy of Natural Sciences?
The Academy is open weekdays 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. and weekends and holidays 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

Is the Academy open on holidays?
The Academy is open every day of the year except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day.

When is the best time to visit?
Weekdays are usually less crowded than weekends. For a more quiet and relaxed visit, visit the Academy after 2 p.m. Get insider tips for visiting the Academy. 

Do I need to purchase a timed ticket?
No, you do not need to purchase a timed ticket to visit the Academy. We do recommend that you purchase online to save money.

Can I use my ACCESS Card for museum admission?
State-issued ACCESS cards offer general admission to the Academy for only $2 (limit four people), excluding special exhibits. Cardholders must present their ACCESS Card and a valid photo ID to receive the discount. You do not need to purchase a timed ticket to visit with your ACCESS card. ACCESS admission is available seven days a week during regular museum hours.M/p>

Are there good restaurants near the Academy of Natural Sciences?
There are many great restaurants near the museum, but we encourage you to try the fresh fare served daily in our Academy Café. We serve a daily hot special, salads, made-to-order sandwiches, soups, gourmet snacks, ice cream, kid-friendly foods, and more.

Do I need to buy a ticket to visit the Academy gift shop or Academy Café?
You are welcome inside the Academy Shop or Academy Café without purchasing a ticket to the museum. The Academy Shop offers a wide variety of science gifts, books, jewelry, books, toys, and more for everyone on your list. The Academy Café serves a daily hot special, salads, made-to-order sandwiches, soups, gourmet snacks, ice cream, kid-friendly foods, and more.

Is there convenient parking near the Academy of Natural Sciences?
Yes, there are several convenient parking options near the Academy. The streets surrounding the Academy have hourly parking. There are also several parking garages within a block of the Academy. Visitors can take advantage of Central Parking Systems discounts by bringing a coupon printed from their website to the parking area. Payment must be made by credit card upon parking. The LAZ parking facility located at 1815 Cherry Street offers discounted parking for Academy visitors. Validate your ticket at the front desk.

Members receive special discounts at the LAZ parking facility located at 1815 Cherry Street. To receive your discount, validate your parking ticket with one of our cashiers.

Public transportation is plentiful near the museum, with three SEPTA bus routes running within a block of the museum. Southbound Routes 32 and 33 use 19th Street. Northbound Route 32 uses 18th Street, while Northbound Route 33 uses 20th Street. The Academy is a ten-minute walk from Suburban Station, which connects the regional rail, Market Frankford Line, and Broad Street Line.

Accessibility

Is the Academy accessible for people with mobility needs?
Yes, the Academy is accessible for people with mobility needs, including people using wheelchairs and scooters. Here are some tips for getting around the Academy easily:

  • Visitors with wheelchairs are welcome to enter through our barrier-free entrance located on 19th street.
  • Wheelchairs are available in limited numbers upon request.
  • The elevator near the 19th street entrance provides access to all levels. The elevator at the front of the building provides access to the main level, mezzanine, and second level.
  • All restrooms have stalls that can accommodate wheelchairs, and all accessible stalls have railings. Automatic doors are available for the restrooms on the ground level.

May I bring a service animal into the museum?
Yes, the Academy welcomes Active Service Animals to all our programs and exhibits. If your service animal is in training, please call the museum to discuss your specific situation. We ask that handlers consider that our museum provides live animal encounters for visitors.

Does my caregiver need to pay admission?
The Academy grants free admission to one caregiver or aide accompanying a guest with disabilities. Please ask at the admissions desk and a Visitor Services manager will assist you.

Practical Matters

Does the Academy have free Wi-Fi?
Yes, the Academy has free Wi-Fi. Look for “ansguest.”

Does the Academy offer luggage storage or stroller storage?
Our coatroom is open and available to leave belongings at your own risk. It is located opposite the entrance to the auditorium on the first level.

Babies and Kids

Parents and kids enjoy hands-on exhibits

Are there fun activities for kids at the Academy?
Yes, throughout the museum, there are engaging exhibits and activities that are fun for kids of all ages. Don't miss Dinosaur Hall, The Big Dig, Outside In, and Butterflies!

Is the Academy good for toddlers and young children? 
Yes, the Academy is great for young children. The Academy has a hands-on exhibit space perfect for children ages 3–8 and their adults. Outside In is a warm, welcoming place where inquisitive youngsters can investigate a forest, visit the seashore, see and touch live animals, and much more. Comfy seats allow caregivers to relax and help your child explore science—up close and hands-on.

Is there a designated area for breastfeeding parents at the Academy of Natural Sciences?
Parents are encouraged to feed and/or nurse their babies any way they choose at the Academy. There is a nook in Dinosaur Hall near the Parkway entrance that provides a somewhat private space for quiet time. We can make accommodations if you prefer to feed your child in private. Please ask a staff person and they will help you find a private area.

Does the Academy accommodate visitors with strollers?
Yes, all floors of the museum are accessible with a stroller, and we have a barrier-free entrance to the museum on 19th Street. There are elevators located at either end of the Academy, and families can use them to travel throughout the museum. The elevator in the rear of the museum (near the 19th street entrance) provides access to all levels. The elevator at the front of the building provides access to the main level, mezzanine, and second level. The coatroom is open and available to leave coats and strollers, at your own risk. It is located opposite the entrance to the auditorium on the first level. View the museum floorplan for more information. 

Exhibits and Entertainment

Are the animals in the dioramas real?
Yes, the animals in the dioramas are real, but they are no longer alive. Our world class dioramas reveal skillfully preserved animals and painstakingly modeled plants, insects, and environments that reveal a real geographical location at one point in time. Learn more about our dioramas in our exhibit, Secrets of the Diorama on level 2.

Can I see live animals indoors at the Academy?
The Academy is home to more than 100 live animals, representing approximately 50 different species of birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. We are also home to many invertebrates, from butterflies to hissing cockroaches and even tarantulas. If you really love bugs, the Academy has a Bug Fest every year in August!
You can see and sometimes touch many of the Academy’s animal ambassadors in Outside In on the third level. There are live butterflies in our butterfly exhibit on the first level. Our educators also host live animal presentations during the day—ask at the admissions desk upon your arrival.

Is the Academy of Natural Sciences fun for adults?
Yes, there are many exhibits for adults to enjoy at the museum. Don’t miss Dinosaurs and Other Ancient Creatures, our diorama galleries, Butterflies!, or our many festivals and events featured on our website. The Academy’s Special Exhibit Gallery has two to three new exhibits a year. These are selected for their engaging content and wide appeal to many audiences.

Events at the Academy

Birthday party rentals at the Academy

Can I rent the museum for my event?
With amazing food, superior service, and a setting unlike any other in Philadelphia, the Academy is a unique and beautiful place to host weddings, parties, mitzvahs, conferences, workshops, birthday parties, tours, and more for groups of all sizes. For your convenience, the Academy and 12th Street Catering, the exclusive caterer of the Academy, have partnered to offer one-stop shopping for all events. Find online information on renting the museum for your event, or contact our on-site event coordinator to discuss your next event and schedule a tour. We can be reached at 215-299-1047 or events@ansp.org.

Does the Academy offer birthday parties?
Yes, the Academy offers birthday packages for children ages 3 and up. They last two hours and run either in the morning or afternoon on weekends. Families can book a basic party, which offers you a private room and a birthday party host. A theme party comes with a cake and a special focus on live animals, butterflies, bugs, or dinosaurs. Call 215-299-1060 or check out our parties online for more information.

Museum Policies

Can I bring my weapon/firearm into the Academy?
Possession of dangerous materials, including firearms, is not permitted. Read more about Drexel University's policy.

Are photography and video allowed in the Academy?
Yes, the Academy allows photography in most of the museum. Any restrictions for special exhibits will be clearly posted. Commercial photography, videography, and filming require advance notice and permission from Public Relations. Review guidelines for photography and videography in the museum.

May I bring my own food into the Academy?
Yes, food and drinks must remain in designated areas. Please recycle in specially marked receptacles.

Is there a lost-and-found area at the Academy?
Yes, for lost and found, visit the admissions desk in the main lobby near Dinosaur Hall or call 215-299-1000.

Joining and Donating to the Academy

How do I become a member of the Academy or purchase a gift membership?
To join the Academy as a member you may ask any staff member for assistance, or contact our membership office at 215-299-1022, or sign up online.

How do I donate to the Academy?
To give to the Academy, you may ask any staff member for assistance, or contact our Institutional Advancement office at 215-299-1182, or make your donation online.