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Paleopalooza "A Nine-Day Festival of Fossils"

Paleopalooza 'A Nine-Day Festival of Fossils'

Paleopalooza is back for another dino-mite season! We are excited to present Paleopalooza with a Mesozoic mix of virtual and in-person programming over a wild week. From hands-on workshops to digital drawing class to fossil exploration stations, there’s something for paleo fans of all ages to enjoy online or at the museum!

2021 Highlights

Junior Scientist Workshop: When Did Dinos Rule the World?
Saturday, October 16, 10 a.m.–noon

Child looking through a microscope 'Junior Scientist Workshop'

$35 child/$25 member child per workshop; additional children per family can be registered for $10 each by calling 215-299-1020
$5 off with Early-bird Discount (Valid through October 1)
Ages 8–11
In-person workshop; space is limited

We are fascinated by fossils, but what do they say about how times have changed? They tell a tale as old as time — deep time, that is! Be transported back in history to a time when dinosaurs walked the earth and ancient reptiles swam in the seas. Explore specimens from the Academy’s collection and learn how to read them to learn the stories of environments, evolution and extinction. Find out how Academy scientists collect, prepare and study fossils, and practice these skills yourself under the guiding eyes of an Academy paleontologist. Take home your own fossil cast to add to your collection and become a part of our dinosaur-loving team!

This workshop is part of Paleopalooza, the Academy’s annual festival of fossils. Find out about other Junior Scientist Workshops here.

Please bring a small snack and a filled reusable water bottle. Feel free to bring some fossils, rocks or other natural history specimens from your own collection to show off, and we will provide everything else. At this time, masks are required in the museum for staff and guests. Please contact Mary Bailey, youth and family programs developer, if you have any questions:

Drawn to Dinosaurs: Paleopalooza Edition
Tuesday, October 19, 6–7 p.m.

A black and white sketch of an allosaurus.

$5; free for Academy Members
All ages
Zoom; registration required

Whether you are a beginning artist, experienced sketcher or just a lover of dinosaurs, you are invited to join us for a dino drawing opportunity led by renowned paleo-artist Jason C. Poole. All you need is a piece of paper and a pencil! Jason will take you through the basics of fleshing out the world’s most iconic dinosaurs while sharing real facts behind their discovery and eventual return through a dinosaur uprising. (Our lawyers say we cannot officially confirm or deny that a dinosaur uprising may or may not, but definitely will, be happening soon). Grab your favorite dinosaur model, sharpen your pencil and join us for this special session!

Paleo Playdate: Dinosaur Party!
Wednesday, October 20, 10:15–11 a.m.

A child sitting in a chair playing with dinosaur toys.

$12 non-members, $8 members
Ages 3 to 5
In-person workshop; space is limited

Calling curious kiddos! Grab your favorite plastic dinosaur and join us at the Academy for a playful preschool party, just in time for Paleopalooza!

Have some fun with Academy experts and other young natural history fans for a very special science story time. Each week will feature new stories, new hands-on activities, take-home crafts and room to move and explore. Everyone can chat, play and show off their knowledge, and you’ll meet a new special guest each week! Whether you’d like to learn more about dinosaurs or dioramas, or if you just dream of becoming a scientist, our experts will be ready to answer your questions and have some fun. You bring the curiosity, and we’ll provide the science and supplies.

Paleo Playdate was developed for preschoolers and their families to enjoy together. We kindly ask that adults assist our young guests with participating in this playdate. Museum admission is included for one adult per registered child.

This session is part of Paleopalooza, the Academy’s annual festival of fossils. Find out about other Paleo Playdates here.

For more information, contact Amy Hoyt at

A Shaker of Science: Paleontology in the Field
Thursday, October 21, 5:30–6:30 p.m.

A Shaker of Science: Paleontology in the Field

Pay What You Wish
Ages 21+
Zoom; registration required

Ever wonder what it is like to excavate fossils in the field and how you can do this yourself one day? Dino-lovers, rock collectors and fossil diggers unite to talk excavating and paleontology with Jason Schein, executive director at Bighorn Basin Paleontological Institute. You’ll get to hear cool stories from the field, learn some do’s and don’ts of paleontology and get an exclusive chance to ask the paleo professionals a few questions.

Paleopalooza Weekend
Saturday and Sunday, October 23 and 24
10 a.m.–5 p.m. (special Member’s Only hour 9–10 a.m.)

Activities free with admission
All ages

Cap off a week of Paleopalooza events and join us at the museum to learn all about fossils and explore the Academy’s signature exhibits. Meet Academy scientists and check out the interesting specimens they’re working on. Hear some of the secrets of Dinosaur Hall at guided tours throughout the day. Make-and-take a Cretaceous craft, talk to our knowledgeable paleontology partners and check out rare specimens. Listen to our researchers talk about their latest projects and discover how the ancient world is still with us in some of our auditorium presentations.

Paleopalooza Weekend Activities

Drop-in Family Workshop: Fossil Fun!
Saturday, October 23 only, 10 a.m.–3p.m.

Calling all fossil lovers! Drop-in for fun, hands-on fossil activities. Families will work together as teams to learn something new and make time to play together, too. Take home activities for all participants will be provided. While this workshop is designed for preschoolers and their families to enjoy together, all ages are welcome to participate.

Dino Hall Tours
10 a.m., noon, 2 and 4 p.m.

You’ve marveled at the Academy’s towering T.rex and the Mesozoic menagerie. Now get an insider’s perspective from teacher and dinosaur aficionado Tim Serabian. He will take you through prehistoric time and the Academy’s own history to make our Dinosaur Hall even more dynamic. Tours will start under the T. rex skeleton. Tour capacity may be limited; sign up in advance for a timed tour in Dinosaur Hall.

Ask the Scientists! Paleontology Pandemonium
11 a.m.


Who would win in a fight: T. rex or Spinosaurus? We’ll never know since they never existed at the same time. However, our Academy scientists can tell you all sorts of things about ancient life, both big and small. In this ask me anything format, you can pose questions and learn everything you’ve always wanted to know about the ancient world. You might even get an opportunity to stump the experts!

First Steps: The Origin of Limbed Animals
Vertebrate Paleontology Presentation
1 p.m.


Have you ever wondered why all vertebrates have four limbs? Academy research has the answer! Join Ted Daeschler, PhD, and our Vertebrate Paleontology Department as they walk us through how we got our body shape and teach us all about our inner fish.

Bugs on the Big Screen: Paleo Edition
3 p.m.


What group of animals both predated and succeeded the dinosaurs? Bugs, of course! Join us for a closer look at one of the most ancient (and overlooked) groups of living fossils. See cockroaches, scorpions and spiders like you never have before: on the big screen. Learn from staff entomologists exactly why these animals have been such great survivors and what lessons we can learn from them.

Vertebrate Paleontology: From Past to Past

Behind the Academy’s doors is an astounding collection of fossils from across Earth’s history. This weekend will be your chance to view part of our rare and famous collection for yourselves and meet our researchers and scientists. Discover what we are digging up, polishing off and examining closely to piece together the story of our planet.

Fossil Exploration Station

Not all fossils live behind a glass case. Come check out some of the Academy’s fossils and objects up close and personal. Feel how big the tooth of a T. rex really was or how heavy fossils are. See if you can match specimens with the dinosaurs they came from and get a firsthand view of how long dinosaurs were.

Monster Mash Scavenger Hunt and Prize

Before the dinosaurs was a fascinating time in Earth’s history. Stop by the Academy’s Permian Monsters exhibit to learn some new secrets and bizarre information about the deep past. Pick up a scavenger hunt at the front of the exhibit and explore at your own pace. Once you make your discoveries, celebrate this new knowledge with a prize. Just be careful, these prizes might bite!

Cretaceous Crafts

Paleopalooza only happens once a year, but you can keep the paleo party going with a sustainable make-and-take craft project. Show off your dinosaur knowledge as you bring your creativity to life.

Paleo Partner Showcase

The Academy is in good company! Meet some of our fun fossil-loving friends from the Edelman Fossil Park of Rowan University. Check out some of their collections and projects. Find out how you can get involved outside the museum walls with local experts and enthusiasts just like you.

Bighorn Basin Paleontology Institute

Dinosaur Hall’s Fossil Prep Lab is open for all Paleopalooza visitors to get up close to real fossil research. Get a sneak peek at what’s needed to prepare fossils and ask the talented staff and volunteers about their work.