My family was provided with complimentary admission to the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Did you know that Philly was recently named one of the 52 places in the world to visit in 2015 by the New York Times? Philadelphia actually came in number 3 on the list, which got me thinking that I need to spend more time in the city that I was born in and that happens to be a mere hour from my house. And I’m making spending more time in Philly one of my goals for 2015.
We started off the first weekend of 2015 by visiting the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. I’m sad to say that I had never visited the Academy of Natural Sciences before but I’m so glad that at 4 years old my son will be able to say that he has been there. My husband was excited to show Jackson the dinosaurs and I was excited to check out the Chocolate: The Exhibition.
As an added bonus we were meeting up with one of my favorite people, Jessica of Mommy University. If you don’t know Jessica yet, she is someone you definitely want to know, she’s one of the funniest, warmest people I’ve ever met. We both have preschool age children and the Academy of Natural Sciences was a great place to introduce them to all the fun that science can be.
We started our day with the live animal show that the academy run several times throughout the day. The show lasts about 30 minutes and allows the audience to see and learn about different animals. On our visit we were able to see a northern pine snake and a hawk.
The live animal show is not the only place at the academy where you can get up close with live animals. We had been told by friends that we needed to check out the Outside In on the third floor and they were right, Outside In is the perfect place for preschoolers to play and explore, and brings all kinds of outside fun (like the beach and the forest) inside.
Jackson also had the opportunity to have some hands on experiences by petting a bunny and getting to touch a turtle. He loved these hands on experiences that were definitely made for little ones. The staff in Outside In did a great job of making the animals approachable to little ones. Even Jackson who can be apprehensive about new experiences was comfortable with the animals.
Outside In also has lots of fun hands on activities for preschoolers. My son enjoyed digging in the sand at the beach and exploring the tree in the forest area. Outside In is the type of exhibit that little ones could easily spend the entire day in. Jackson loved playing with the puzzles and computers in the room and watching his friends put on a puppet show. There was also a bee hive in outside in that older kids were fascinated by. The hive is visible through a clear plastic enclosure and has a tube that leads out the window so that bees can get in and out. John and I were both a bit fascinated by the hive.
The Dinosaurs are definitely a main attraction at the Academy of Natural Sciences and for a good reason, kids and adults will both love the Dinosaur Hall. The giant tyrannosaurus rex when you enter the exhibit is a must take photograph and is so large and impressive. Dinosaur Hall features 30 different types of dinosaur species. John and Jack loved exploring the hall and enjoyed playing with the green screen that makes it look like you are standing among real dinosaurs. The animatronic dinosaur located on the left when you enter Dinosaur Hall is really impressive and made me feel like I was in Jurassic Park, though he proved to be a bit scary for Jackson, the other children in the museum loved him.
Upstairs of Dinosaur Hall is the dinosaur dig where kids are given protective goggles and chisels to “dig” for fossils. This was a fun place for kids to explore and get a hands on experience.
The Academy of Natural Sciences features lots of diorama’s of different animals and their habitats. Jackson and his friends loved pointing out all the different animals throughout the museum. Some of our favorites were the moose and the polar bear. Jackson’s favorite though wasn’t the biggest animal but quite possibly the smallest, this little chipmunk that he deemed “so cute”. I love that we each saw the exhibit differently.
The butterfly garden was really beautiful and there was something so calm about being surrounded by so many beautiful butterflies. The kids liked pointing out all the different butterflies and getting to see the butterflies up close.
We spent about 4 hours at the Academy of Natural Sciences, including lunch in the cafeteria. I was pleasantly surprised that the cafeteria offered several healthy options. We also visited the gift shop on our way out which sells not only souvenirs but also lots of educational toys and books, so that kids can continue learning about the things they discovered at the Academy of Natural Sciences.
We also had the chance to visit the Chocolate: The Exhibition where we learned about the history of chocolate. For anyone who has a love of chocolate this exhibit is a must do and runs through January 24th, so get there while you still can.
The Academy of Natural Science has something for everyone in the family. Upcoming exhibits include Caryn Babaian: Nature in Chalk starting January 17 and Titanoboa: Snake Monster starting February 14.
The Academy of Natural Sciences is located at 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia, PA. Admission is $15.95 for adults and $13.95 for children.