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Academy of Natural Science

Posted by on January 29, 2012

Field Trip: Academy of Natural Sciences
Location: 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA
Contact: 215-299-1000
Grades: Pre-School and up


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About the Museum:

The Academy of Natural Science houses four permanent exhibits:

  • Dinosaur Hall
    In addition to more than 30 species of virtually full skeletal mounts, visitors can view 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. The Big Dig hands-on exhibit lets junior paleontologists hunt for dinosaur bones. Visitors can also see the Fossil Prep Lab where fossils collected from remote localities are carefully prepared for study.
  • Butterflies!
    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. You will usually have between 60 to 150 butterflies and 20 to 40 different species on any given day. Adult butterflies usually live for one to two weeks and the museum receives new butterflies from around the world each week.
  • Outside In
    The outdoors have been brought inside in this hands-on discovery center geared toward children ages 3-8. Its artifacts and specimens challenge inquisitive minds. Its activities provide fun, magical, and educational experiences for the whole family. Visit a forest, a mountain pond, or an ocean shore. Touch a real meteorite, view a stream from underneath, crawl through a fallen log, look for fossil footprints, pan for shark teeth, watch a live beehive, or read a book on Lucy’s Back Porch. You also may encounter live animals like a legless lizard, hissing cockroaches, a tortoise, a cowbird, or a rabbit.
  • Africa, Asia, and North America Dioramas
    There are 37 dioramas in the Academy. Each diorama typically has three parts. At the heart are the large animals. The animals are usually mounted on an armature made up of the original skeleton covered by a sculpted body of wire and plaster. The skin of the animal was then stretched over this armature to form the animals you see. The next part of the diorama is the elaborately detailed foreground. In most cases, the small animal tucked away in a corner of the display were collected at the same time and place as the larger animals. The plants and rocks are usually artificial, but they were based on samples collected during the expeditions. The final part of the diorama is its background. These exquisite paintings formed a backdrop that conveyed a both a sense of space and place.

Pre-Trip Activities: Prepare for your trip with Academy of Natural Science’s pre-trip teacher packets.

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