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Visit the Academy this Holiday Season!

Night in the Museum Starring Xtreme Bugs
January 5, 2019

Experience the Academy’s towering dinosaurs—including T. rex—after dark! Your action-packed night at the museum barely leaves room for shut-eye. Night in the Museum is appropriate for children ages 6–14. 

On January 5, come face-to-feet with nearly 20 massive, colorful, moving bugs after dark! Grab a flashlight and wander between a fluttering oversized monarch butterfly and a fluffy tri-colored bumblebee. Discover a gigantic Madagascar hissing cockroach and a blood-sucking bedbug like you’ve never seen them before. Learn about bugs that glow in the dark and the giant ancient invertebrates that shared the planet with dinosaurs!

Click here to learn more about Night in the Museum.

More Night in the Museum Dates:

  • February 16: Night in the Museum: Myths and Legends
  • March 16: Night in the Museum: Myths and Legends 

Can’t make it to our public overnights? Do you have a specific date in mind? Develop your guest list and contact us to reserve the museum just for your own private group of 100 to 300. Contact or 215-299-1060 for more information.

Academy in the snow 

Spend your holidays with hedgehogs, dinosaurs, beautiful butterflies, and over 200 years of scientific discovery! The Academy is a great place to keep warm this holiday season with exciting activities for all ages. Warm up in our tropical butterfly garden, then head to Xtreme Bugs to meet nearly 20 massive, colorful moving bugs before catching up with some live turtles in Outside In! 

The Academy is conveniently located near many Philadelphia holiday destinations! We are just 2 blocks from the Comcast Holiday Spectacular, 4 blocks from the Christmas Village at Love Park and the Christmas Tree at City Hall, and 6 blocks from Macy's!

fossil guys antarctica 

Paleontology in Antarctica

Loads of dark chocolate. Reams of toilet paper. Dozens of hand warmers. Six snowmobiles and a leaf blower. Academy Curator of Paleontology Ted Daeschler is all packed for his next big camping adventure. He'll spend a month in Antarctica.

Daescher is co-leading a team for a second field season of fossil research and collecting at the bottom of the world. This time he will scour a targeted region in the Transantarctic Mountains of Southern Victoria Land. He’s looking for 390-million-year-old vertebrate fossils from the Aztec Siltstone, specimens that will shed more light on the evolution of the earliest limbed animals, Daeschler’s specialty.

Click here for more details and an interview with Daeschler talking about his preparations and what he hopes to find.

access to science

Access to Science: Opening Doors to Autism
Friday, December 28, 2018

The Academy provides families of children with autism the opportunity to experience the museum in a secure and comfortable environment. The museum provides specific tools and tactics, such as museum stories, to help plan your visit.

As you plan your visit to the museum, some of the best times to visit are the afternoons after 1:00 p.m. as the museum is quieter for you and your family. The Academy also offers Access to Science events when the museum is open only for families with children on the spectrum. These are scheduled at different times each year. Our next event is Saturday, December 28, 2018, 9-11 a.m.

Preregistration is required (same-day registration is available onsite). If you would like to attend, please contact our visitor services department at 215-299-1060 or Please provide the following information: contact name, email, phone, total number of attendees, number of children and their ages. To ensure a positive experience, space is limited!

Upcoming Access to Science Dates:

  • Friday, December 28, 2018
  • Sunday, January 20, 2019
  • Saturday, February 23, 2019
  • Sunday, April 7, 2019

This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Click here for more details about our Access to Science program.



Our Butterflies! exhibit features a lush, tropical garden filled with colorful plants and a multitude of live butterflies from Central and South America, East Africa, and Southeast Asia.The exhibit usually has between 60 to 150 butterflies and 20 to 40 different species on any given day!

Learn more about our Butterflies! exhibit.

educator with owl

Live Animals at the Academy

You can meet live animals at the Academy every day! Get up close to birds, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates on your next visit! Join us for our daily Meet the Animals presentations and even get a chance to touch some of our live animals in Outside In!

Meet the Animals

Meet the furry, feathered, and scaly residents of the museum’s Live Animal Center, and explore their behaviors, adaptations, and ecosystems. The museum's Live Animal Center supports over 100 individual animal ambassadors and several colonies of invertebrates. Cared for by a team of full-time keepers, they make thousands of program appearances annually.

11 a.m. and 11:45 a.m.

Saturday and Sunday
11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.

Location: Auditorium or Science Live
25–30 minutes
All ages welcome

Learn more about Meet the Animals.

Outside In

Designed for children ages 3–8 and their parents, Outside In is a warm, welcoming place where inquisitive youngsters can investigate a forest, visit the seashore, see and touch live animals, and much more.

Learn more about Outside In.

Dinosaur Hall

Dinosaur Hall

It’s one of the first things visitors see when they enter the Academy of Natural Sciences: measuring up to 42 feet in length and weighing in at an estimated 7.5 tons, Tyrannosaurus rex was one of the largest predators to ever walk the Earth. This impressive animal is one of many dinosaurs and other Mesozoic creatures you’ll encounter in Dinosaur Hall. More than 30 species are represented, about half of which are full skeletal mounts, including Avaceratops, Chasmosaurus, Corythosaurus, Deinonychus, Pachycephalosaurus, Tenontosaurus, and Tylosaurus.

xtreme bugs

Xtreme Bugs

Come face-to-feet with nearly 20 massive, colorful, moving bugs! From a fluttering oversized monarch butterfly and a fluffy tri-colored bumblebee to a gigantic Madagascar hissing cockroach and a blood-sucking bed bug, these towering animatronics tell a rarely seen story of the behaviors and intricacies of extreme bugs. Get a bug’s-eye view of the world, explore critter calls, dig for ancient arthropods, and play an Xtreme bug facts game.

Learn more about Xtreme Bugs.