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Self-Guided Visits

the big dig
A woman and children look into microscopes.Planning a future visit? Check out our offerings below!

Take your students on an exciting exploration of the natural world. Our three floors of exhibits, ranging from dinosaurs and dioramas to hands-on interactive stations, are sure to make your field trip to the Academy the highlight of the school year.

Special Exhibits

Microsculpture: The Insect Portraits of Levon Biss

November 19, 2022–April 23, 2023

Microsculpture: The Insect Portraits of Levon Biss is a groundbreaking project that presents insect specimens from the Oxford University Museum of Natural History like never before. British photographer Levon Biss’ images reveal an unexpected and often breathtaking beauty that brings to life the many intricate adaptations of an insect’s form — what entomologists call their microsculpture.

Displayed as large-scale photographic prints up to 9 feet high, the Microsculpture project reveals the hidden structure and beauty of insects. Each beautifully lit image was created from around 8,000 individual photographs taken under strobe lights, capturing the microscopic forms of insects in striking, high-resolution detail. Examine extremely fine pigmented scales, velvet-like surface textures, saw-sharp mandibles, swirling patterns and some of the most vibrant, iridescent colors seen in nature.

Conversations With Birds

February 18–May 21, 2023

Opening in time for the 2023 spring migration, Conversations With Birds celebrates the many ways that we are inspired by these magnificent, feathered creatures, here in the city and around the world.

Discover the fascinating lives of local bird populations and the astounding migrators that fly through the region. Glimpse nest-cam footage of a peregrine falcon, and enjoy stunning avian photography and video by local birders and wildlife photographers.

Explore unique bird architecture and flight through hands-on activities. Investigate real-time migration data gathered from BirdCast, Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s forecast radar, and other innovative bird-tracking technology.

Learn about the challenges birds face in urban environments and how you can help protect them by creating bird-friendly habitats or advocating for bird-safe changes in your neighborhood.

Conversation With Birds is generously supported by the LTM Family Foundation and the Marshall-Reynolds Foundation.

Signature Exhibits 

Dinosaur Hall

Explore the exciting world of paleontology, stroll beneath towering fossil skeletons, and examine dinosaur anatomy up close. Stop by the Fossil Preparation Lab to talk with staff as they clean and prepare real fossils.

NEW! Chaperones, download our Dinosaur Hall Scavenger Hunt! Answer key located here.

Dioramas of Africa, Asia, and North America

Travel the globe without leaving the museum! Our ever-popular dioramas let students get nose-to-nose with gorillas from Africa, pandas from Asia, and bison from North America. Chaperons may also find the following exhibit guides useful: Africa and Asia Diorama Hall Activity Guide and North American Journey.

Science at the Academy

Find out what Academy scientists are up to these days in this multimedia exhibit. Watch video footage from research expeditions, see recently collected specimens, and find out about our latest scientific discoveries.