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Winter Break at the Academy

Tuesday through Friday, December 26–29, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday, December 30–31, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

winter break at the academy on a blue background with white snowflakes

winter break at the academy on a blue background with white snowflakes

Join us at the Academy for a week of special discounts and opportunities to make memories with the whole family! Visit our children’s discovery center, Outside In, dig for fossils in The Big Dig, investigate and draw beetles in our brand-new temporary gallery, meet your ancestors in Life Onto Land, and catch the exhibit Skin in its final weeks at the Academy.

Special Days

$10 Tuesday
December 26

Enjoy Dinosaur Hall, Outside In and our dioramas from around the world. Visit our new exhibit Life Onto Land, which reveals the amazing scientific discovery of Tiktaalik roseae, by an Academy team of paleontologists. Visit Skin: Living Armor, Evolving Identity to investigate the shapeshifting, color-changing and ever-evolving nature of this complex organ. Plus try your hand at drawing, describing and documenting your observations on the vast biodiversity of beetles! Admission is $10 per person on Tuesday, December 26.

Winter Break Teacher Discount
December 21–24 and December 27–31, 2023

Attention all teachers! Join us during winter break for free AND bring the whole family at a discounted rate. See Dinosaur Hall, visit our brand-new exhibit Life Onto Land and check out our traveling exhibit Skin during its final weeks at the Academy. Teachers can visit the Academy for free by presenting their school ID and email at our desk during winter break (Dec 21–24 and December 27–31)! Additionally, teachers can use promo code WNTRBRK23 to receive $5 off per ticket when you go online to reserve tickets for up to four additional guests.

Winter Break Member Morning
December 28, 9–10 a.m.

Attention Academy members! Explore the museum before the crowds! Visit current exhibitions and stop by a Cart of Curiosity for hands-on learning.

Grubaholics Food Truck

Enjoy a jerk chicken cheesesteak and a full menu of Caribbean food from our friends at the Grubaholics food truck during your visit. Grubaholics will be on site December 28–30.

Daily Exhibitions and Activities

Skin: Living Armor, Evolving Identity
Final Weeks!

Discover the shapeshifting, color-changing and ever-evolving nature of this complex organ in Skin: Living Armor, Evolving Identity. Explore the fascinating roles that feathers, furs, scutes, scales, hides and hairs play for different organisms across the globe through dozens of scientific specimens. Investigate the layers of meaning associated with skin color throughout history and discover skin’s influence on shifting ideas of race and culture in our modern world.

Cart of Curiosity
Throughout the museum

Stop by an education station to touch real specimens, including fossils, fur and bones!

Polar Bears and Beyond Specimen Exploration Station
Wednesday to Saturday, December 27 to 30, 1–4 p.m.
Science Live, Level 1

In the winter, the bears that first come to mind are the polar kind, but did you know they are one of three species of bears found in North America? Each bear has unique biology and behavior. Check out bear skulls, touch real claws and teeth, and discover why there might be bears in your backyard before exploring the famous bear dioramas nearby.

Science Story Time: Maisy Goes to the Museum, by Lucy Cousins
Wednesday to Friday, December 27–29, 11–11:30 a.m.
Dinosaur Hall, Lobby Level

What fun will Maisy have when she visits the museum? What will she do and discover among the dinosaurs and dioramas? Find out at this young learner-friendly story time, followed by a special dinosaur or animal craft to take home.

Life Onto Land: The Devonian
Dietrich Gallery

You’ve likely heard of the Jurassic and the Cretaceous, but do you know about the Devonian? Life Onto Land: The Devonian centers around the Academy’s internationally celebrated paleontological research and the incredible discovery of Tiktaalik roseae. This new exhibition features the original holotype specimen of Tiktaalik and a newly commissioned Tiktaalik model by artist Tyler Keillor. See enchanting drawings by Spanish artist Aina Bestard, breathtaking footage of Arctic and Antarctic research sites, vivid scientific illustrations of Scott Rawlins and stunning plant and animal fossils.

Fin to Limb
Dietrich Gallery
Daily, 10 a.m.–1 p.m.

Get to know your inner fish! Discover the connection between humans and our scaly ancestors through an exploration of Tiktaalik and its impact on our understanding of how our arms came to be.

Devonian Fossil Identification
Dietrich Gallery
Daily, 1:30 p.m.–Close

Have you ever wondered how Academy scientists identify the fossils they find? Do you know what kinds of fossils we find in Pennsylvania? Discover the answers through a hands-on experience and see the hard work that goes into reading the rocks.

Drawing from the Collections: The Evolutionary Success of Beetles
Spotlight Gallery

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.