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Bug Fest

Saturday and Sunday
August 10–11, 2024, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

bug fest with close up of metallic green beetle with purple legs

bug fest with close up of metallic green beetle with purple legs

Join us at the Academy of Natural Sciences for a wild weekend celebrating more than a few of our favorite (invertebrate) things. Enjoy scientist-guided Bug Walks on the Parkway and our famous Roach Races or discover your love for something surprising like the unexpected insect biodiversity of your local park. Explore specimens from the Academy’s world-class Entomology Collection, including recently discovered beetles, bees and butterflies. “Ask the Experts” at scientist meet-and-greets for all ages. Talk with Academy researchers and fellow bug enthusiasts to find out how their passion for all things invertebrate impacts and shapes our communities. And check out the new marketplace that will highlight local artists and artisans.

Bug Fest is included with general admission to the Academy.
Save $2 per ticket when you purchase online.

Bug Fest 2024 Programs

Food Trucks
11 a.m.–4 p.m.

On Saturday, Pitruco Pizza will be on site offering their delish pies.

On Sunday, Lula’s Empanadas will be on site with their tasty Dominican empanadas with a twist.

Bug Sculpture and Lauren Cat West

See artist Lauren Cat West’s large rainbow scarab beetle sculpture at our Parkway entrance and talk to the artist, who will be onsite with some of her smaller works.

Now and Then Market

For the first time, we welcome the Now and Then Market, which brings local Philadelphia artisans' work to the Academy. Meander through Commons to see how many makers use nature and inverts as inspiration.

A Bug’s Life

Invertebrates are everywhere, in every ecosystem you can imagine. They need everything to survive that you need: shelter, food, water and other members of their species. Picture what your life would be like as a bug, learn about invertebrate care and keeping, and discover how your worlds are not so different.

Bug Headband Make-and-Take Photobooth

Wrap your head around being a bug! Come color and wear a bug headband that brings out your inner insect. With your bug headband in place, buzz together with others to snap a photo!

Building a World for Bugs Tank Construction Demos

Invertebrates (and the creatures who eat them!) are perfectly adapted for the world where they live. When we take care of animals at the Academy, we make sure we think carefully about all of their needs, from substrate to snacks. Meet husbandry specialist Nick Brewster from Aark Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center and watch while he builds beautiful new enclosures for the museum to house our animal ambassadors.

Specimania Interactive Digital Insect Kiosk

Supported by the Museum Innovation Fund, Drexel students from the Digital Media & Virtual Production program share their interactive kiosk with 3D holographic displays and "Be the Bee" game highlighting insects from the Academy's Entomology Department.

Getting Involved for Inverts

Academy scientists and Philadelphia community members have dedicated themselves to studying invertebrates and advocating for their health and habitats. Talk to Academy scientists and local experts to find out how you can get involved in invertebrate research and conservation.

Respect for Roaches

Find out why cockroaches are diverse, beautiful animals that deserve our admiration. Come scope out the competition for the Roach Races and make your predictions for which cockroach will scuttle to glory at 12:30 and 4:30 p.m. in the Auditorium.

Meet the Macros

From toe-biters to whirligigs to caddisflies, macroinvertebrate biodiversity is vital to understanding the health of a freshwater ecosystem. Check out some water-dwelling inverts and meet scientists from the world-famous Patrick Center for Environmental Research, right here at the Academy. Learn more about the projects they are undertaking in Philadelphia and throughout the United States. Discover what steps you can take to keep our ecosystems safe and biodiverse.

Free Library of Philadelphia Book Bike
Storytimes at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. at the Moose Diorama

Come and see the Free Library Book Bike and check out a bug book! Then join us for story time led by librarians of the Free Library of Philadelphia.

Mighty Mussels

Learn more about the region's freshwater mussels and why they're so important to local aquatic ecosystems.

Drawing from the Collections: Beetles

Part gallery and part studio, Drawing from the Collections celebrates the enduring appeal of drawing and describing our insect counterparts as a method of generating creative insights and scientific understanding. Investigate Coleoptera specimens from our world-renowned Entomology Collection, as well as stunning artworks and materials from our Library & Archives. Then, try your hand at drawing, describing and documenting your observations on the vast biodiversity of beetles.

Bug Walk Sign-ups
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 under the rainforest tree on Level 1.

Bug Appetit with the Cajun Bug Chef
Sampling ongoing; additional shows at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. in the Auditorium

“Entomophagy,” or eating bugs, is a common, sustainable and delicious practice all over the world. Meet New Orleans Cajun Bug Chef Zack Lemann and watch him cook up some slimy yet satisfying treats! Crunch down on a chocolate chirp cookie, dive into some waxworm salsa or devour a deep-fried cicada. Guests with shellfish allergies should not consume insects.

Under the Canopy

Travel to the most diverse ecosystem on the planet! Under the Canopy: Animals of the Rainforest is an immersive exhibition introducing you to the fascinating world of rainforests and the animals that inhabit them. Learn about unique plants and rainforest ecology as you encounter a live sloth, boa constrictor and other animals that call these habitats home. Think big about the importance of rainforests to the planet as you explore interactive discovery stations, dynamic displays and engaging programming. Under the Canopy will leave you with knowledge and actions you can take — from choosing the best coffee to growing the right garden plants — to support healthier rainforest ecosystems and become an advocate for conservation.

Curiosity and Collections

From the exotic to the everyday, Academy staff, friends and guests love insects, arachnids and myriapods of all stripes. Explore ancient fossils and newly discovered species. See rarely displayed specimens from the Academy’s world-class Entomology Collection and discover the fantastic bugs that populate other, more unexpected corners of the Earth.

Artist in Action with Jerrell Adams

Come watch artist Jerrell Adams sketching beetles and other bugs on a large chalkboard throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday. You can sit nearby and draw, too!

Ruffled Feathers: The Hidden World of Avian Parasites

Meet ornithology researchers as they describe the parasitic lice and flies that spend their whole lives on the skin and feathers of birds. Learn more about how we study these fascinating parasites and what we can learn from them.

Ancient Jewels

Marvel at some rarely displayed specimens from the Invertebrate Paleontology Collection. Talk to Academy scientists about ancient insects in amber, learn more about the extraction of amber and discover how these fossils are possible.

Bugs and Books

Check out beautiful old books of insect art from the Academy’s esteemed Library & Archives. Join a relaxed, restful atmosphere where you can sit, draw or see an on-screen presentation about insects.

Paleozoic Arthropod Pals

Bugs are older than you think! Visit us in Life Onto Land: The Devonian to explore the ancient arthropods of the past, up close and personal. This station will feature touchable Academy specimens and a special tech-enabled microscope cart, allowing a close look at these amazing creatures.

Bugs and Botany

Without plants there'd be no bugs and without bugs there'd be no flowers! Because bugs and botany are so important to each other, we often find bugs in our herbarium — come see pollinators, fossils, zombie fungus and more.

Invertebrate Life in the Rainforest

One of the most complex and interconnected ecosystems on the planet, the rainforest is filled with life of all shapes, sizes and strategies to survive! See live inverts that you would find in the rainforest, check out live frogs that depend on having bugs to eat, explore real specimens and craft a rainforest make and take.

Bug Hub Live Invertebrate Display

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

Love Bugs

Loving bugs starts young! Kids (and kids at heart) can enjoy hands-on exploration, storytelling, crafts and live animal encounters to learn more about the world around them. If you love bugs, you’re invited, no matter how old you are!

Outside In

Want more bugs? Inquisitive minds of all ages can investigate animal habitats, explore science and the natural world and discover how we all have a role to play in our ecosystem.

Buggin’ Out

Join us in BEES Classroom for some family-friendly fun! Build a bug, complete a craft, take a look at our book nook and try not to get tangled in the spider webs. This interactive space is perfect for engaging younger visitors!

Live Shows

Bugs on the Big Screen
10:30 a.m.

This unique live animal show will take a high definition look at what makes bugs beautiful, amazing and important.

Bug Appetit! Cooking with the Cajun Bug Chef
11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.

Celebrity Bug Chef Zack Lemann will demonstrate the culinary art of entomophagy (eating insects) and will be cooking up tasty treats with the buggiest ingredients.

Roach Races
12:30 and 4:30 p.m.

Come cheer your favorite roach as it tests its speed on different tracks and races over obstacles.

Ask the Experts
1:30 p.m.

Talk with entomologists from the Academy and find out about current research projects. Ask whatever insect questions are bugging you and find out how you can become an entomologist, too.

3:30 p.m.

Drexel University Digital Media & Virtual Production students share how they created the Specimania kiosk, an interactive digital experience with holographic display that brings specimens from the Academy's "hidden" collections into public view through entertaining and engaging experiences.

up close picture with blue bug with giant eyes

Film Screening: Microcosmos
Saturday, August 10, 7 p.m.

Microcosmos (1996), 80 minutes

A captivating documentary — now a world-renown classic — written and directed by Claude Nuridsany and Marie Pérennou, this extraordinary and awe-inspiring film takes a very close look at the life of invertebrates. Film critic Roger Ebert writes, “The movie is a work of art and whimsy, as much as one of science. It uses only a handful of words, but is generous with music and amplified sound effects, dramatizing the unremitting struggle of survival that goes on in a meadow in France.”

Tickets for Microcosmos are pay-what-you-wish.

Watch the Microcosmos trailer: