Live voracious crocodilians, extreme insects, and a rare opportunity to observe two historic dioramas undergo a makeover top the exhibition schedule in 2018 at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University.
Nestled in the heart of the city’s Parkway Museums District, the Academy is Philadelphia’s dinosaur museum and the nation’s oldest natural history museum. In the months ahead, two new traveling exhibitions will fill the galleries with exciting opportunities and engaging programs for both children and adults.
In addition, the glass will be lifted off the classic Takin and Gorilla dioramas, and every inch of the plants, animals and paintings inside will be cleaned and renovated while visitors can watch.
The Academy’s signature exhibits include Discovering Dinosaurs, Butterflies! (a tropical garden of live butterflies), Outside In (a children’s discovery center with live animals), and historic dioramas depicting animals around the world in realistic habitats. Live animals roam the halls with their handlers on any given day, and naturalist presentations are an enlightened delight to behold.
Here is the schedule of new exhibits for the coming year. For updates, online discounts and a full calendar of events, visit ansp.org.
Crocs: Ancient Predators in a Modern World
Saturday, February 3–Sunday, May 6, 2018
Come face-to-snout with live crocodilians, a group of reptiles that has evolved and thrived for 200 million years thanks to their brute strength, keen senses, and murderous instincts. Today’s crocs range from diminutive forest dwellers to monstrous creatures that eat wildebeests, buffaloes, and occasionally people. Their ancestors were the galloping land predators, jumping insect eaters, pug-nosed herbivores, and ocean-going filter feeders that haunted our waters and our dreams. Crocs: Ancient Predators in a Modern World features numerous live species, including a Siamese crocodile and Albino American alligator. Visitors can learn to speak croc in under five minutes, test their strength against a croc’s bite, view skulls, make water dance, and create a 3-D animation of a long-extinct croc. Get the facts on croc attacks and understand how humans and crocs can peacefully coexist.
March–April 2018, Exact dates TBD
Two of the Academy’s classic dioramas are getting a makeover, and visitors can watch. Conservators and other experts will clean and renovate every inch of the beautiful Takin and Gorilla dioramas in Asia Hall for the first time since they were installed decades ago. Visitors will be able to peer through a viewing window into the temporary workspace as the plants, animals and paintings are painstakingly dusted, deep cleaned and restored to lifelike condition. It will be a unique opportunity to see what the dioramas look like without glass and to watch the process unfold over four to six weeks. New touchscreens and graphic panels will tell the stories of the habitat scenes’ history, conservation status, habitat condition, and what people can do to help.
Saturday, May 26–January 21, 2019
Experience the mind-boggling behaviors and surprisingly intricate structures of bugs through 20 giant colorful animatronic insects. From a fluttering oversized monarch butterfly to a gigantic Madagascar hissing cockroach, the exaggerated size of these creatures shines a creative spotlight on what makes them “extreme.” Xtreme Bugs blends technology, science, artistry and imagination to capture the most unusual aspects of the insect world. Visitors will get a bug’s-eye view of their world, explore critter calls, dig for ancient arthropods, and play a bug facts game. Each day, a live insect will be on view for close-up inspection.
Founded in 1812, the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University is a leading natural history museum dedicated to advancing research, education, and public engagement in biodiversity and environmental science.