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Fall Calendar of Events

PHILADELPHIA, July 1, 2015

Dinosaurs, rugged crocodiles, seashells from the seashore, and a special exhibit marking the pope’s visit to Philadelphia are coming up this fall at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University.

Adults get to leave the kids at home and enjoy a sleepover in the museum, and the Academy’s annual fundraiser, Cuisine from the Collections, is back to tempt palates with foods based on the museum’s research collections.

A fully mounted Hadrosaurus foulkii is the centerpiece of Drawn to Dinosaurs, opening Nov. 1, and three days in late November are dedicated to hands-on dinosaur activities and presentations. Reptiles: The Beautiful and the Deadly offers an eyeball-to-eyeball experience with some of nature’s most bizarre and captivating creatures.

For The Clergy and the Academy’s Collections, Aug. 31 through Oct. 23, the museum reaches back to its earliest years of working closely with clergy naturalists of all faiths. 

And there’s more. For more details on the following programs and to purchase tickets online, visit

Clearly Beautiful: Photographs by Adam Summers
Through–October 4

Art of Science Gallery

The large, revealing images of Clearly Beautiful: Photographs by Adam Summers depict the striking results of a common method of studying animal anatomy called clearing and staining. To achieve the beautifully detailed inner skeletal tissues of fish, the photographer, University of Washington biology professor Adam Summers, soaked the specimens in different dyes and enzymes, rendering the soft tissues transparent and the harder tissues deep blue and crimson. Each step of the process is described and illustrated through more photographs and fish specimens from the collection of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University. Free with regular museum admission.

The Clergy and the Academy’s Collections

Academy Library Gallery

Mondays through Fridays, August 31–October 23, 1-4 p.m.

September 21–25, during the week of the World Meeting of Families, the Library will be open 10 a.m.–4 p.m.

The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, the nation’s oldest natural history museum, is deeply rooted in religious activity, dedication and belief. From its founding in 1812, the Academy has been enriched by the work of members of the clergy active in the Catholic, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Quaker, Jewish and Moravian communities. Just as St. Francis of Assisi is known as the patron saint of animals and ecology, the Academy advances these same principles through research, education and public engagement in biodiversity and environmental sciences. This special exhibit showcases the plant and animal specimens, objects, books and archival materials that are the fruit of these “clergy naturalists" so closely intertwined with the Academy's history. 

Reptiles: The Beautiful and the Deadly

September 30, 2015–January 10, 2016

Get eyeball to eyeball with live deadly snakes, colorful lizards, bizarre turtles and rugged crocodilians from around the world at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University. Nestled in naturalistic habitats, these cold-blooded animals will help dispel common myths and foster a basic understanding of how reptiles fit into the animal kingdom and their native environments. Engaging, interactive components let visitors “milk” a viper, learn to speak croc in less than five minutes, and test their knowledge with Turtle Trivia and Lizard Wizard. Fee in addition to regular museum admission.

Reptiles: The Beautiful and the Deadly Opening Weekend

Saturday and Sunday, October 3 and 4, All Day

Cozy up to some cold-blooded critters at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University during opening weekend for the new exhibit Reptiles: The Beautiful and the Deadly. Get to know the resident reptiles of the Academy even better through live animal encounters, hands on activities, and specimens. Then, meet some scaly new friends in the Reptiles exhibit, including live deadly snakes, colorful lizards, bizarre turtles, and rugged crocodilians. Free with regular museum admission. There is an additional fee for the Reptiles exhibit.

Overnight for Adults

Saturday, October 3, 6:30 p.m.–9 a.m. Sunday, October 4

Pack a sleeping bag, put on your pj’s, and leave the kids at home—this overnight is for adults only!

Bigfoot, Chupacabra and the Jersey Devil take center stage in this creepy overnight. Collect clues and use your Scooby-Doo skills to solve a mystery. Navigate the underbelly of the Academy on behind-the-scenes tours, and see some of the real skeletons in the collection. Stay up late, meet live animals, and then curl up under T. rex. Dinner and breakfast included. For ages 21 and older. For more information and to register, visit

Philadelphia Shell Show and Festival

Saturday and Sunday, October 17 and 18, All day

Celebrate marine animals of all kinds at the Philadelphia Shell Show and Festival at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University. Examine your favorite mollusk up close, enjoy fun family-friendly activities, and meet the Academy scientists who care for the museum’s Malacology Collection of 10 million specimens. Shell displays, judged and awarded prizes by the Philadelphia Shell Club, will be on view, and hundreds more will be for sale in the international shell market. Free with museum admission.

Drawn to Dinosaurs

November 1–TBD

Art of Science Gallery

Drawn to Dinosaurs delves into the science and art of visualizing a living animal based on fragmentary fossils. This intimate exhibit illustrates what scientists can deduce from the fossil record when creating a reconstruction of a skeleton or model and what they must look to artists to interpret. The centerpiece is a full cast of the plant-eating dinosaur Hadrosaurus foulkii, discovered in 1858 in Haddonfield, N.J. The Academy created a full cast of this duckbilled dinosaur and put it on display in 1868, becoming the first place in the world where the public could go to see a dinosaur. Free with regular museum admission.


Cuisine from the Collections: Cocktail Edition

Saturday, November 7, 7–10 p.m.

Cuisine from the Collections: Cocktail Edition features cocktails and gourmet food pairings inspired by the Academy’s collection of 18 million plant and animal specimens. All proceeds benefit the Academy. Individual tickets start at $175 and Patron tickets are $300 and include a VIP tasting beginning at 6 p.m. Sponsorship opportunities available. For more information, call 215-299-3790, email or visit

Scouting For Science: Reptile and Amphibian Day

Saturday, November 14

Boy scouts and girl scouts are invited to participate in fun-filled activities involving reptiles and amphibians in order to work toward their badge and journey requirements. Scouts will get to touch specimens, meet live reptiles, learn about venomous snakes in the region, investigate how snakes see, and more. Fees, including all museum exhibits and participation patch: $17.95 for scouts, $15.95 for adults. For more information and to register, call 215-299-1060.

Dinosaur Days

Friday, Saturday and Sunday, November 27, 28 and 29, All day

Celebrate dinosaurs and their closest living relatives—birds—with a holiday weekend of family fun at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University. Explore the world of the dinosaurs as you examine real fossils up close, meet live birds, and talk with dinosaur experts. Fun games and crafts are guaranteed to enlighten even the wisest (and youngest) dinosaur experts in the family. Free with museum admission.

All-Star Days

Saturday through Wednesday, December 26–30, All day

Spend the winter break with The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University! Celebrate what makes the Academy so popular with All-Star Days filled with exciting stage shows, fascinating fossils, hands-on science, and specimens from the museum’s famous collection of 18 million plants and animals. Free with regular museum admission. The All-Star Days themes are:

December 26: Dino Day
See real dinosaur fossils up close, meet living relatives of these ancient beasts, and explore the world of the dinosaurs.

December 27: Bug Day
Learn what makes a bug’s life so special through up-close encounters with beetles, cockroaches, butterflies and tarantulas. 

December 28: Reptiles: The Beautiful and the Deadly Day
Bring your love of all things scaly as the Academy celebrates the last weeks of Reptiles: The Beautiful and the Deadly with a day devoted to reptiles. 

December 29: Fur, Feathers and Scales Day
The Academy’s live animals take center stage on a day all about amazing animals. See firsthand how naturalists care for the live animals and learn about the stars of the museum’s famous dioramas.

December 30: Weird Things in Jars Day
Science is surprising, inspiring and weird! Get an up-close look at the weirder specimens in the museum’s collections.

Media Contact

Carolyn Belardo

Director of Public Relations
Phone: 215.299.1043