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Backyard Adventures

June 9–September 10, 2017

Backyard Adventures
June 9–September 10, 2017

What is there to do in Backyard Adventures?

Did you know that science is in everything and everyone can be a scientist? Get the facts and exercise your imagination as you explore the biodiversity of a backyard garden in this very special exhibit. Figure out how to see the unseen and take a closer look at the world around you. You can:

  • Play backyard-themed mini golf
  • Ride the bee bike, and try your luck at pollinating flowers and collecting pollen for honey production
  • Dig in the dirt of an augmented reality garden bed
  • Find out how fast you can throw and kick a ball
  • Dress as a spider, bee, or ladybug
  • Take a walk through our digital garden and observe plants growing in super time
  • Create the world’s biggest vegetable
  • Using special lenses, see how different creatures such as bees and dogs see the world around us
  • Step inside the shed and build something with the tools and objects on the work benches, just like a mechanic or engineer
  • Help complete a garden path using oddly shaped pavers
  • Match critter calls with their sources

Backyard Adventures is designed and produced by SciTech and produced by Imagine Exhibitions. This limited-time special exhibit is perfect for kids of all ages, as well as the young at heart. $5 for nonmembers in addition to general admission; $3 for individual and family members. Family plus members and above see it free.

Backyard Adventures Closing Weekend
September 9–10

Celebrate all things ecology with a whole weekend of family fun as we say goodbye to Backyard Adventures!

You can make a cool backyard or window birdfeeder, check out special shows featuring live animals that are found right here in Philadelphia, and even learn how your backyard would be different if you lived in Australia, Africa, or Asia. Try your hand at "citizen science," and discover why science starts with you, right in your own backyard or park!

Auditorium Show: Animals of Philadelphia
11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

We humans aren't the only ones who call Philadelphia home. Learn all about the animals you might see in a backyard right here in the city and their adaptations, habitats, similarities, and differences. Meet some furry, feathery, and scaly Academy ambassadors!

Auditorium Show: Backyard Bugs
1 p.m.

Did you know that bugs outnumber humans 200 million to 1? Check out some awesome arachnids or cool cockroaches in this technology-enabled show featuring the live invertebrate collection of the Academy. Compare these bugs to the ones you see in your own backyard!

Backyards Around the World

How would your backyard be different if you were growing up in Australia? How about the Arctic Circle? What if you lived in the rainforest or the desert? Check out Academy specimens and touchable biofacts from around the world. Think about how the plants and animals you find most ordinary might be very exotic to someone from far away!

Birdfeeder Craft

Make and take a birdfeeder for your backyard, windowsill, or park. Learn how you can reuse and recycle everyday objects to create a rest stop for local birds.

Backyard Adventures Microscope Cart

There's so much science to discover right in your own playground, park, or backyard! Science starts with you at this engaging, hands-on microscope station. Practice plant and animal identification, check out slides from local species, and even get down and dirty looking at soil samples.


"A highlight for us was definitely the mini Garden Golf course. The holes are very imaginative with fun features including lightweight balls, air tunnels, and a giant spider! We also enjoyed trying to throw a ball at the speed camera. Who doesn’t have dreams of being a world-class pitcher at some point in their lives?" 

~Christina Reif for Daily Vacationer


"Some of our favorites from the exhibit were the food web pond where we could experience life in the pond food chain, the backyard mini-golf, learning the speed of a backyard game of catch and the hands-on building area at the outdoor shed. We love hands-on play and it's even more meaningful when there are important science and nature lessons hidden within!" 

~Jen Anderson, West Chester Macaroni Kid


"Unpack each of these games ... and the lessons come into focus. Mini golf is all about the math of angles; the jump rope highlights physics. It’s all part of the message that science, math, engineering and art are everywhere. So why not go outside and check it out?"

~Gwyneth K. Shaw,


Additional Backyard Themed Programming

Explore your world and have a blast this summer at the Academy of Natural Sciences during Dino-mite Summer! You might meet living backyard dinosaurs (you call them birds), get the behind-the-scenes scoop during a tour of North American Hall, join fellow Lego-lovers and build buggy and dino-inspired creations, or share a belly laugh with Marty the Moose during story-telling time. With your Backyard Adventures admission ticket, you can even make your own seed bombs and binoculars to take home! Many tours and activities are free with admission. More.