Grounded in Philadelphia's historic position as a cultural, commercial, and scientific center of the new nation, the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia was founded in 1812 "for the encouragement and cultivation of the sciences, and the advancement of useful learning."
The Academy's history mirrors the evolution of the relationship between the American people and the natural world. The oldest natural sciences institution in the Western Hemisphere, the academy organized classic expeditions to explore the western wilderness, such as those led by Stephen Long and Ferdinand Hayden. These explorers brought back new species of plants and animals, which were studied and catalogued; they formed the foundation of the Academy's scientific collections which now contain over 17,000,000 specimens.
This family-friendly museum now has four floors of exhibits that showcase these collections, with lots of opportunities for interactive learning and discovery.
Take the Dinosaur Hall, home to a lifelike and full-size Giganotosaurus, one of the largest meat-eating dinosaurs at 42 feet long and eight tons. In its shadow are the skeletons of more than 30 more dinosaur species, dinosaur eggs, footprints, dinosaur sculptures, murals, paleontologist tools, a life-sized model showing the internal anatomy of a Stegosaurus and a green-screen video studio where visitors can project their own images into a world full of dinosaurs. There's also the Big Dig, a hands-on exhibit where visitors can hunt for dinosaur bones.
But of course, the dinosaurs are just a small part of this fabulous cornucopia of natural wonders. Among the other permanent exhibits is "Butterflies!", which features a tropical garden filled with colorful plants and a multitude of exotic butterflies. There is a wide range of fascinating dioramas, where wildlife is displayed in a real-life setting in great detail.
- Monday through Friday: 10am to 4:30pm
- Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays: 10am to 5pm
- Closed: Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day
- Adults (age 13 and above): $12
- Children (age 3 through 12), Seniors (age 65+), Military and Students (with ID): $10
- Children (under age 3): Free
- Location: 1900 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy Philadelphia, PA
- Phone: 215-299-1000
- Website: www.ansp.org