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Bug Fest

green mantis


Check back soon for 2021 details!

See highlights from our 2020 Virtual Bug Fest below.

Talk about web crawling… Bug Fest has gone digital for 2020! Monday, Aug. 3 – Sunday, Aug. 9, join us on Zoom, Facebook and Instagram to celebrate all things creepy, crawly, sticky, prickly, wiggly, yucky, and kinda cute for our annual celebration of invertebrates. Download new activities and watch exclusive videos; tune in to talk with real scientists; learn about insects from all over the world, and see specimens from the Academy’s behind-the-scenes collections. Go ahead, get caught in our web! All digital activities are free; Zoom programs require free registration but may be limited in the number of attendees.

Bug Fest 2020 Activities:

Academy Entomologists Collection Trip to the Pine Barrens

Behind the Scenes Tours

Tour of the Entomology Collection with Jason Weintraub

Tour of the Invertebrate Paleontology Collection with Katy Estes-Smargiassi

Cockroach Cam

Tune in to check out the secret lives of our Madagascar hissing cockroaches. What do they do all day? What do they eat? How do they interact? Who’s the boss of the colony? Find out all this and more as you observe these surprisingly charismatic creatures in their specialized enclosure. 

The Daily Backyard Bug
10 a.m., Daily
Monday–Sunday, August 3–9
Facebook Live

What crawls in your yard? Bugs, of course! Join Academy entomologist Isa Betancourt for a daily glimpse into the miniature world of local invertebrates. Check out her “Bugscope” and learn how you, too, can become a backyard bug explorer.

August 3 - Aphids, Fly Larvae and Aphidlions 

August 4 - Assassin Bugs! 

August 5 - Tortoise Beetles


August 6 - Long Legged (Spaceship) Fly


August 7 - AntLions!

August 8 - Meadow Katydid

August 9 - Backyard Biodiversity Safari - Part 1

August 9 - Backyard Biodiversity Safari - Part 2


Live! from the Academy
1 p.m., Daily
Monday–Sunday, August 3–9
Facebook Live

Hundreds of live insects, arachnids and myriapods (think millipedes!) live at the Academy. Learn about special invertebrates and the keepers who love them at this daily interactive meet-and-greet. A new bug will be featured each day for you to ask questions about!

August 3 - Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches

August 4 - Sonoran Centipedes


August 5 - Vigenaroons, Tailless Whip Scorpions, and Desert Hairy Scorpions

August 6 - Small Sample of our Entomology Collection


August 7 - Curly Haired Tarantula

August 8 - Beetles!

August 9 - Arthropods!


3 p.m.
Monday, August 3 and Friday, August 7
Instagram Live

Grab a pencil and some paper to draw along with Academy entomologist and artist Isa Betancourt as she demonstrates how to observe and draw a butterfly or beetle. Meet local artists Alex Lebron and Gillian Cavoto to learn their techniques of the art of science. Learn how to look closely and capture the marvelous morphology of insects; no art experience necessary! Tag us in your drawings on Instagram so we can check out your work. @acadnatsci #bugfest

August 3 - Spiders Part 1

August 3 - Spiders Part 2 

August 7 - Butterflies

Buggy Lunchtime Stories

Cozy up to the computer with a snack for a special bug-themed story time with Academy educators and invertebrate enthusiasts. Munch along with the bugs in the book and be swept away by their stories. All ages are welcome to listen along, but our younger friends may enjoy this program the most.

August 4 - Bug Fest Story Time | Hank's Big Day: The Story of a Bug

August 6 - Bug Fest Story Time | There's a Bug on my Book!


Entomology AMA (Ask Me Anything)
7 p.m. Wednesday, August 5
3 p.m. Saturday, August 8 (Members only event)
3 p.m. Sunday, August 9
Zoom, free registration required

Now’s your chance to meet the experts! Talk with entomologists from the Academy and find out about our current research. Get a closer look at some specimens from our collections and ask whatever insect questions are bugging you. Learn what you can do to make your world more bug-friendly and maybe even have a mystery invertebrate identified!

Summer Butterfly Guide and Event
7 p.m.
Thursday, August 6

It is time for the next installment of the Academy’s Butterfly Guide, which highlights butterflies that can be found in the Philadelphia area during different times of the year. Our entomologists are delighted to share with you their favorites among the summer butterflies. Some of the butterfly species in the early spring guide —such as the Cabbage White, Tiger Swallowtail, Comma, Question Mark and Mourning Cloak — can also be found now and later in the season, so keep that guide handy. If you would like to print the guide, you can download the printable Early Spring Butterfly Guide.

Roach Races
11 a.m., Daily
Friday–Sunday, August 7–9
Facebook Live

Scope out the cockroach competition and make your predictions for which roach will scuttle to glory. Cheer for your favorite roach as it tests its speed on different tracks and races over obstacles. The best competitors will go on to race in the finals.

Roach Race 5000 - Round 1

Roach Race 5000 - Round 2

Roach Race 5000 - Round 3


Moth Night with Tanya Dapkey

The Academy's Tanya Dapkey discusses Moth Night with a backyard light trap. 

Digital Downloads 

Want even more great Bug Fest content to enjoy on your own time? Check out brand new “Bug Fest from Home” activity sheets featuring experiments, crafts and science explorations you can do right from home. Enjoy a virtual tour of the invertebrate paleontology and entomology collections. Get lost in the dark while you watch Academy scientists on a light trapping expedition. And don’t forget to engage with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. We want to hear all about the bugs you love! @acadnatsci

Bug Fest from Home:

Academy Exhibits Open to the Public
11 a.m.-5 p.m. (10-11 a.m. for members only)
Friday–Sunday, August 7–9
Timed tickets required

Bug Fest is mostly online this year, but you can visit us Friday, Saturday and Sunday, August 7–9, to see our signature exhibits and enjoy a nod to Bug Fest. A selection of our invertebrate specimens will be on display and there will be a fun self-guided diorama activity, Down the Hall and Around the World