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To purchase an Adopt-A-Critter plaque, please click here.

Adopt a Critter
Adopt a Critter  

Recently, the Academy of Natural Sciences’ popular discovery center for children, Outside In, underwent a facelift! This exciting renovation brought new activities and play areas to the beloved space. Children can now explore an interactive eagle’s nest, a laboratory designed especially for small hands, and a new sandy beach experience. makeoverOutside InView more information about the .

Did you know that Outside In is also home to many of our live animals? As part of this renovation, our live animals are settling into new housing and getting increased opportunities to meet visitors face-to-face—or beak-to-beak as the case may be.


Inspired by the curiosity and enthusiasm of Outside In’s regular visitors, we have created the Adopt-A-Critter program. Adopt-A-Critter provides a special opportunity for you to help us care for the new Outside In and the resident critters that our young visitors love so much. You can support Adopt-A-Critter by purchasing customized plaques that will become a central feature of the new and improved Outside In.

Your donation to Adopt-A-Critter will help us to care for the live animals in Outside In and offer our educators essential teaching tools. These educators guide our youngest explorers, helping them to develop a passion for nature through hands-on activities and up-close live animal encounters.

Your gift will help provide:

  • Fresh fruit, produce, meats, and animal-specific kibbles and chow to feed our live animals. The Academy spends more than $500 a week just feeding the mammals!
  • Special enrichments for our live animals, such as toys and treats. Our cockatoo Bennie is especially fond of puzzle boxes.
  • New books, games, and activities for our educators to share with visitors. Our new reading nook will feature these books on a rotating schedule to provide a fresh experience each time you visit.


Your personalized Adopt-A-Critter plaque will be an enduring fixture in Outside In. Use your plaque to honor someone special by inscribing your child’s name or family name. You could also recognize a favorite Academy animal, a beloved pet, or commemorate a birthday with a special message. The possibilities are endless!

Adopt-A-Critter plaques are available in two sizes and three fun critter shapes: Bunny, Turtle, or Fish. Large critters are $150 and can hold up to 35 characters of text, and small critter shapes are $75 and hold 20 characters. To purchase an Adopt-A-Critter plaque, please click here, or download our printable form to mail in your order.Adopt a Critter

Frequently Asked Questions

How big are the Adopt-A-Critter plaques?


  • Large Turtle: 8”x4” with 35 characters of text
  • Small Turtle: 6.5”x3.3” with 20 characters of text


  • Large Bunny: 6”x6” with 35 characters of text
  • Small Bunny: 5”x5” with 20 characters of text


  • Large Fish: 8”x5.5” with 35 characters of text
  • Small Fish: 6.5”x4.5” with 20 characters of text

Is my Adopt-A-Critter purchase tax-deductible?

Yes, your Adopt-A-Critter purchase is fully tax-deductible. You will receive a letter acknowledging your contribution within a week of placing your order.

Where will my critter be placed?

Critter plaques will be mounted to the central columns in Outside In.

How much can I write on a critter?

Inscriptions must fit in the allotted characters: 35 characters for large critters or 20 characters for small critters, including spaces and punctuation marks. Any character on the keyboard may be used. For example, you may use “&” for “and,” or a dash instead of a comma and space. Upon special request we can include one of the following symbols as part of your word count:

  • Heart
  • Birthday Cake
  • Balloon
  • Flower
  • Star
  • Dino Head

If you would like to include one of these symbols, or have any special instructions for your critter, please contact the Institutional Advancement office at 215-299-1182 or via e-mail at

What should I write on my critter?

Create a message that is meaningful to you! You might choose a name, date, or phrase. No advertisements or websites please, and the inscription must be appropriate for a public place where children are present. Check out others’ inspiring messages and get creative!

What if I want to change the text on my critter or get a larger size?

Changes can be made within 3 days of purchase by contacting the Office of Institutional Advancement, at 215-299-1182 or via e-mail at

Can I designate the location of my critter?

Groups of critters can be placed together if they are purchased on the same day. Please note in the comments field of the online order form that they should be grouped. 

For additional questions about Adopt-a-Critter or your order, please contact the Office of Institutional Advancement at 215-299-1182 or via e-mail at

To purchase an Adopt-A-Critter plaque, please click here.