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Explore Nature, Celebrate Bug Fest This Summer!

Calendar of Events, June-August 2021

PHILADELPHIA, May 24, 2021

Summertime brings new opportunities to interact with nature, explore the environment and to have fun at the same timeThe Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University is here to help people of all ages better understand the natural world around them and to inspire everyone to care for it. 


This summer the Academy presents a variety of in-person and virtual experiences for both adults and kids to enjoyThe museum is open Thursdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the first hour reserved for members. The Academy continues to provide a safe environment for visitors by following city and state health and safety protocolssocial distancing, mandatory face coverings, hand sanitizer stations and timed ticketing. 


For the time being, many programs are still being offered on Zoom and Facebook Live, but there is much to see and do in the museum. And August wouldn’t be August without Bug Fest, the 14th annual. 


The special exhibits are Permian Monsters: Life Before the Dinosaurson view through Jan. 17, 2022, and Gideon Mendel: Drowning World, on view through Oct. 17, 2021. 


Now in its 14th year, Bug Fest, always the Academy’s most popular weekend festival, now will be spread out over a week. Due to the pandemic, most the events will take place virtually from Aug. 9-15, with a scaled back set of displays and activities in the museum. 


Here’s what’s on the calendar so far for June through August. For the latest information and more details, visit  


Special Exhibit 

Gideon Mendel: Drowning World  
Through Oct. 17, 2021


Drowning World is a unique photographic exploration of flooding, a stark portrayal of the human condition within the context of overwhelming climate events around the world. The exhibition features 37 photographs, video and a found-object display by leading contemporary photographer Gideon Mendel, a native of South Africa. Mendel began photographing major floods in 2007 when one in England and another in India occurred within two weeks of each other. Their proximity struck him as a shared vulnerability that seemed to unite people. Drowning World includes color images of some of the poorest and some of the wealthiest communities in the U.S. and around the world, all exposed to the floodwater that envelops them. In this moment the floods are a leveling factor, and people are brought together in visual solidarity. 


Special Exhibit 

Permian Monsters: Life Before the Dinosaurs  

Through Monday, Jan. 17, 2022  


Step back 290 million years to when bizarre-looking creatures dominated life on land and sea, and dinosaurs had not yet evolved. Permian Monsters blends vivid artwork, amazing fossils and scientifically accurate models of moving beasts to recreate this relatively unknown period when the greatest mass extinction wiped out creatures that will never be discovered. Explore odd-looking sharks, strange reptiles with mammal-like characteristics, and the vicious predator the giant saber-toothed gorgonopsid. Play paleontologist and dig for fossil casts, enjoy interactive games and more. 



Paleo Playdate  

WednesdaysJune 2, 9 and 16, 10-10:45 a.m. 


Have fun on Zoom with Academy experts and other young natural history fans at Paleo Playdate, a special science story time geared to preschoolers and their families. Each week features new stories, new hands-on activities to try at home, and room to move and explore. Everyone can chat, play and show off their knowledge, and you’ll meet a new guest each week. Whether you’d like to learn more about dinosaurs or dioramas, or if you just dream of becoming a scientist, Academy experts are ready to answer your questions and have some fun. Paleo Playdate was developed for preschoolers and their families to enjoy together. Pay what you wish. To register, visit 



Naturally Awesome Days: Shells and Shores  

Saturday, June 5, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.  


Explore the shores and shells you find in the museum and learn what unique adaptations water creatures have that help them to survive in their habitat. Take home a craft kit to create your own shelled creature as you have a shell-ebration with your whole family. Free with admission. Advance timed tickets recommended.


Partners for the Planet; World Ocean Day 

Wednesday, June 9, 1-1:30 p.m. 


How can we make the world a greener, cleaner, safer place for everyone and everything that lives hereFind out as experts from the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, Philadelphia Zoo and Adventure Aquarium meet up and share stories about their work. Discover what they have in common and how we can all do our part to build the world we’re dreaming about.Tune in on Facebook to explore each institution and learn how they all work together to make the world a better place. 


Junior Scientist Virtual Workshop: What’s Down the Shore? 

Saturday, June 12  

Morning Session: 10-11:30 a.m.  

Afternoon Session: 1-2:30 p.m.  


Shorelines are teeming with life across the entire animal kingdom. Many species of birds, fish and even mammals live down the shore, but they are dwarfed by invertebrates. In this virtual workshop, see just how many there are with a peek at the Academy’s vast collection and learn about all of the amazing adaptations they have. Then try your hand at discovering the best adaptations for life on the shore with hands-on activities designed to be done at home with easy-to-find supplies. Learn what it means to live on the shore. For more information, fee and to register, visit


Academy Book Circle: All We Can Save 

Wednesdays, June 23–August 25, 1-2 p.m. 


Embark on a shared journey with leaders of the climate movement as Drexel and Academy scientists, staff and supporters come together for the first Academy Book Circle. Together, we’ll read All We Can Save, an anthology of essays, poetry and art by 60 women of diverse backgrounds, curated by climate leaders Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, PhD, and Katherine Wilkinson, PhDAll We Can Save seeks to encourage climate leadership that is rooted in compassion, connection, creativity and collaboration. The Academy Book Circle meets weekly on Wednesdays from 1–2 p.m., June 23 through Aug. 25, to discuss each section in a welcoming and supportive environment. Attend one session or all 10. Free, registration required. For more information, visit



Academy Town SquareClimate Risks From Headwaters to Coast   

Thursday, June 24, 7-8:30 p.m. 


Find out the impacts and risks of climate change that we are all living with. In this free Zoom event presented in partnership with the Drexel Climate Year Speaker Series, three Drexel faculty members will discuss their areas of research and answer audience questions. This Academy Town Square is presented in coordination with the Academy of Natural Sciences’ exhibit Gideon Mendel: Drowning World, a photographic exploration of the impact of flooding on communities in the U.S. and around the world. Speakers: Stefanie Kroll, PhD, Academy project science director for the Delaware Watershed Initiative and faculty in the Department of Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Science; Debjani Bhattacharyya, PhD, Department of History; and Franco Montalto, PhD, College of Engineering and Center for Public Policy. For more information and to register, visit


Academy Summer Camp 

Monday–Friday, June 28–September 3 


Spend the summer at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University with fun educators, cool exhibits and wild science. Sign up for one week or all weekseach week has a different theme and each day features hands-on activities, creative crafts and untold secrets of the museum. Learn about the naturally awesome science at the Academy, from fossils and dinosaurs to bugs, birds and botanicals. Meet live animals, see rare specimens and get outside for lunch to explore the urban environment around the museum. Ages 610. For more information, fee and registration, visit


Academy Town SquarePreparing for a Warmer, Wetter Philadelphia  

Thursday, July 29, 7-8 p.m. 


Climate change is causing Philadelphia to not only heat up, but also to experience more frequent and intense flooding events. This free Academy Town Square on Zoom will explore how local communities are dealing with increasing temperatures exacerbated by the urban heat island effectnatural cycles of flooding, and how urbanization and climate change impact flooding risks in Philly. Find out how, from community groups to city government, Philadelphians are making efforts to understand and mitigate the effects of a warmer, wetter Philadelphia. This event is presented in coordination with the Academy of Natural Sciences’ exhibit Gideon Mendel: Drowning World, a photographic exploration of the impact of flooding on communities in the U.S. and around the world. Panelists: Jasmin Velez, Community Outreach Coordinator, EsperanzaMark SabajPhD, the Academy’s interim Curator of Fishesand Julia Rockwell, manager of the Climate Change Adaptation Program, Philadelphia Water Department. For more information and to register, visit 



Bug Fest 

Monday–SundayAug. 9–15 


Celebrate all the many-legged movers and shakers of the world at the annual Bug Fest. The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University will feature a variety of virtual events on Zoom and Facebook and also in the museum. Participate in a Q&A with Academy entomologists and have all the questions that "bug" you answered. Enjoy the Creature Features Live show, get a closer look at the Academy’s live bugs and marvel at the amazing Entomology Collection. Visit for details. 




News media contact:  
Carolyn Belardo, Director of Public Relations, Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University  
215-299-1043,, | Twitter @AcadNatSciPR | Press Room:  


Founded in 1812, the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University is a leading natural history museum dedicated to understanding the natural world and inspiring everyone to care for it.  


HOURS: Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m., with the first hour reserved for members. ADMISSION: $18 and up; for online tickets visit PHONE: 215-299-1000