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Bug Fest

Saturday and Sunday
August 27-28

green mantis

bug fest august 27-28 photo of green mantis

10 a.m.–5 p.m. (Special Members-only Hour 9–10 a.m.)
Free with admission

Bug Fest is coming! Join us at the Academy of Natural Sciences for a wild weekend celebrating a few of our favorite (invertebrate) things. Enjoy classic Bug Fest favorites, including scientist-guided Bug Walks on the Parkway and our famous Roach Races, or discover your love for something surprising like the graceful dance of a crane fly.

Explore specimens from the Academy’s world-class Entomology Collection, including recently discovered beetles, bees and butterflies. “Ask the Experts” at exclusive scientist meet-and-greets for all ages. Meet Academy researchers and talk with fellow bug enthusiasts to find out how their passion for all things invertebrate impacts our communities.

As part of our Water Year programming, we invite you to dive deep to find out all about aquatic invertebrates and what their presence means for a waterway. Did you know dragonfly flatulence is critical to the health of a stream? Or that water pennies spend most of their time as larvae living in clean water? Meander through our halls while you check out live insects and arachnids and ponder their place around the pond. Learn what you can do to make our waterways more invert-friendly!

Bug Fest 2022 Activities: 

Roach Races Grand Prix
10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Come cheer your favorite roach as it tests its speed on different tracks and races over obstacles. The best competitors will race to six-legged glory!

Bug Enthusiasts

Explore our halls and talk with fellow bug enthusiasts and Academy partners. Learn what you can do to make your world more bug-friendly.

Bug Walks
11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m.

Join Academy entomologists on an expedition just outside the museum. You’ll be amazed by what you find! Space is limited. Sign up in advance in North American Hall on Level One.

Awesome Inverts Hands-on Family Workshop

Join us for interactive bug-themed activities for young learners and their families. Meet other nature-loving families to read stories, make art, play games and learn all about everybody’s favorite bugs.

Bug GrubHub
11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.

If these critters could have their feast delivered fast, they would! Take a look at some of the fascinating insectivores that call the Academy home. This live animal meet-and-greet will introduce and expand on the power of predation. Join us in front of our T. rex to hear about all the ways an insect-based diet fuels these captivating creatures.

Inverts of the World Crafts and Quiz

Take a look at live arachnids, insects and myriapoda and then test your bug knowledge to win a small prize. Make and take a bug-themed craft and add to our Academy caterpillar chain.

Beauty and the Bugs

From pretty-in-pink tarantulas to the traveling wave of a millipede’s legs, the bug world is a place of immeasurable beauty and aesthetics. Marvel at pinned jewel beetles, astounding plant mimicry and some of the Academy’s living beauties— all of which couldn’t exist without water! You’ll never see a bug the same way again!

Academy Collection Highlights

Enjoy a display of some of the frankly fascinating specimens from the Academy’s world-renowned Entomology Collection. These specimens are rarely displayed and number among some of the most interesting, beautiful and significant examples from the millions that hide behind the scenes.

iNaturalist and Invert Photography
12:30 p.m.

Come check out an engaging overview of iNaturalist, an app designed to help identify the wonders of the world around you. Discover how technology allows you to take a picture of a cool specimen and watch as fellow nature lovers and scientists help you fill in the blank. Meet Academy scientist and photographer Isa Betancourt and learn why she loves to capture bugs with her camera. Join the Academy Naturalist project and submit your buggy observations to the iNaturalist this month for a chance to have your insect and spider observations featured!

Light Trapping Techniques and Academy Scientist AMA
3:30 p.m.

Enjoy this delightful video providing the inside scoop on one of the many ways entomologists collect specimens! Ask an Academy entomologist what it's like to work with these delicate creatures directly.

Bugs on the Big Screen
4 p.m.

This unique live animal show will take a high definition look at what makes bugs beautiful, amazing and important. Join us for this digital, deep dive into the morphology, form and structure of insects and the vertebrates who love them.

Meet the Entomologists

Talk with entomologists from the Academy and the American Entomological Society. Find out how butterflies are preserved and why the Academy leads the way in biology, conservation and ecology. Get a closer look at some rarely-displayed specimens from our collections and ask whatever insect questions are bugging you. Sign up in advance here for Bug Walks. Space is limited to ensure a positive experience for visitors.

Bug Hub Live Invertebrates

Take a closer look at some of the most misunderstood and fascinating insects, arachnids and more!

Zombie Ants and Flower Power

How does a fungus turn an ant into a mindless machine? And how do flowers tempt butterflies, bees and other bugs to their fate? Meet Academy botanists and see incredible plant specimens from the collections that feature insects who have met their demise because of plant interactions. Ask the scientists questions about the organisms they study and show off your plant prowess.

Meet the Macros

From toe-biters to whirligigs to caddisflies, macroinvertebrates are vital to understanding the health of a waterway. Check out some live water-dwelling inverts and meet scientists from the world-famous Patrick Center for Environmental Research, right here at the Academy. Learn more about the research projects they are undertaking in the wider Philadelphia region as well as internationally. Discover how you can get involved with community science projects as well as steps that you can take to keep our water systems safe and biodiverse.  

Water Buggin’

At this interactive education and make-and-take station, learn about incredible water bugs, a surprising property of water and how they work together! Test and try different adaptations to see how you would fare as a water-bound insect and practice your knowledge of physics and conservation.

Bee Yourself
Noon and 2 p.m.

What’s the buzz about bees? Come find out for yourself as you encounter these interesting insects and meet urban apiarist Don Shump from the Philadelphia Bee Company.

Meet the BEES

Loving bugs starts young! Talk with current Drexel Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Science (BEES) students working with Academy entomologists and find out about their current research projects. Listen to them describe their love for bugs and how their research might benefit the world around us.

Drexel Research Associates

Talk with scientists working with Academy entomologists across the region and find out about their current research projects. Discover why aphids are awesome or how isopods are integral. Find out how you can help with community projects.