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Visit the Academy of Natural Sciences

Philadelphia, a city best known for Rocky’s epic run up the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum, legendary cheesesteaks, and rowdy sports fans — oh, and a minor historical document called the U.S. Constitution — is also home to the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University. This remarkable museum is filled with natural wonders that will leave you with a newfound appreciation for our blue planet.

Founded in 1812 with a mission to "advance useful learning," the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia is the Western Hemisphere’s oldest natural sciences museum. This distinction, as well as its exemplary exhibits, make it one of the top-visited museums in the "City of Brotherly Love." From hands-on archaeological digs for tots to almost eerily lifelike dioramas depicting animals from around the world, the Academy of Natural Sciences is your chance to indulge your curious inner scientist for hours.


Exhibits at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia

Take your time when exploring this Philadelphia natural history museum. You have a lot of ground to cover and a substantial helping of fascinating knowledge to devour! While planning your trip, be sure to check out this list to make sure you hit all the most popular permanent exhibits during your visit.

  • Dinosaur Hall: There’s a good reason these fearsome creatures once ruled the planet. Walk into the Dinosaur Hall and the first thing you’ll see is a massive 42-foot Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton towering over you, its razor-sharp teeth ready to snatch up some dinner. Along with the T. rex, the Academy of Natural Sciences has dinosaur skeletons from over 30 species, replicas of dinosaur eggs and footprints, and some nifty paleontologist tools.
  • Butterflies: Shed your coat and step into the lush, summery wonderland garden that these delicate winged creatures call home. At any given time there may be up to 150 butterflies from up to 40 different species zipping around you.
  • Dioramas: Dioramas are a masterful blend of aesthetics and science that allow you to peek at a world oh so different from your own. The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University boasts 37 top-notch dioramas exhibiting animals in their natural habitats from across the globe. Gorillas, tigers, pandas and more await you in astonishingly lifelike exhibits.
  • Outside In: Youngsters three to eight years old will love this hands-on exhibit in which they can touch live animals, make sandcastles in a sandy "beach," and play scientist and view specimens under a microscope.
  • Treasures from the Mineral Vault: An explosion of color and spiky geometric shapes glitter inside this exhibit, which features rocks and minerals taken from the Academy of Natural Science’s own vaults in a rainbow of hues.
  • What Eats What: Being at the top of the food chain is pretty sweet, but what about the 99.9% of animal species with another creature above them? Here you’ll learn all about the delicate food chain balance in our global ecosystem.
  • The Big Dig: Budding paleontologists will squeal with delight upon discovering a "dinosaur" bone nestled amongst cork bits and dry earth in this hands-on, kid-friendly exhibit.

Along with its permanent exhibits, the Academy also hosts rotating temporary exhibitions. Check the official website to find out what’s in store for you when you visit.


Academy of Natural Sciences Tickets

You can purchase tickets for the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia through the official site, buy them when you arrive, or you can score a sweet discount on tickets through Philadelphia CityPASS. Don’t miss your chance to save up to off admission to the very best of Philadelphia’s marvelous tourist attractions including Adventure Aquarium, Philadelphia Zoo, and the always outstanding Barnes Foundation.

Tips for Visiting the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia

As one of the most highly visited museums in the area, the Academy of Natural Sciences can get quite crowded, so it’s best to visit after 2pm later in the week to avoid the bulk of the crowds. Visitors can park at the Logan Square Parking Garage located nearby (get your ticket validated at the Academy’s front desk for a discount), or they can take a public bus; several routes will let you off close to the museum. If you have some time to spend in the area, there are other cultural institutions within walking distance, including the Philadelphia Art Museum — take advantage of the opportunity to run up the "Rocky" steps!

This top-rated Philadelphia museum is truly an unforgettable experience for all ages. So grab a ticket and head over to the Academy of Natural Sciences – you’ll be glad you did!

Explore The Academy of Natural Sciences for Less With CityPASS

Experience the Academy of Natural Sciences plus all that Philly has to offer with Philadelphia CityPASS. CityPASS offers up to in savings and lets you choose from Philadelphia’s most popular attractions including the Adventure Aquarium, The Franklin Institute, Philadelphia Zoo, Barnes Foundation, Museum of the American Revolution, and more. Grab your CityPASS online and get ready for the ultimate Philadelphia sightseeing experience.

Header Image Courtesy of Academy of Natural Sciences