Yesterday my kids, Miller and Maddox, and I visited the Academy of Natural Sciences to see the Titanoboa: Monster Snake exhibit. I was eager to take the kids on their first trip to the Academy, and particularly excited to show my daughter the snakes, which if you ask her, are the coolest animals ever.
For those of you who haven’t visited the Academy before, it is located on the Ben Franklin Parkway near several parking lots (and street parking if you’re lucky enough to find a spot). It was founded in 1812 “for the encouragement and cultivation of the sciences, and the advancement of useful learning.” I was fascinated to learn that in its early years, the Academy even organized expeditions to the unexplored American West to study and catalog indigenousplants and animals. In later years, expeditions even ventured as far as Antarctica! So. Cool. While the Academy is still heavily involved in research and discovery today, it is also a fully functioning museum (complete with cafe and gift shop) with a special emphasis on children’s education.
We arrived at the Academy (street parking right out front – woohoo!) and made our way to the Titanoboa exhibit. I don’t want to reveal too much, but….wow. Let’s just say….48 foot long prehistoric snakes are pretty intimidating. The exhibit is small, but packed with lots of fascinating information and interesting displays. The exhibit also included, much to my daughter’s delight, several live snakes. When we had finished viewing the exhibit, we had to revisit each snake so that Miller could say goodbye. It went something like this, ‘Bye Mr. Snake. Ssssssss.’
Next, we visited the Butterfly House (a major highlight!) and wandered the halls of the Academy looking at the incredible animal dioramas. When we stepped off the elevator into the Dinosaur Hall, we were greeted by an exceptionally realistic looking animatronic dino, which startled my daughter. After I assured her that it was just a ‘big toy’, and she in turn assured her little brother that it was just a ‘big toy’, we enjoyed looking at the multitude of fossils. It is always staggering to look up at a T-Rex skeleton. I mean…truly incredible.
From the moment we arrived at the Academy, every staff member we encountered was incredibly friendly and helpful. I appreciated the fact that everyone from the kind woman at the ticket desk to the scientists in the Fossil Prep Lab to the sweet cashier in the gift shop took the time to acknowledge my kids, and speak to them about their visit. Everyone was so nice! Those simple gestures truly enhanced our (already awesome) visit to the Academy.
If you get a chance, I encourage you to take the kiddos to the Academy of Natural Sciences. It is well worth the drive down to the city, and a wonderful experience to share with your Little Ones!
Emily’s Tip: The Academy also hosts some fantastic events like summer camps, overnights, movie showings and special activities. Click here to view upcoming events!
Disclosure: I was provided tickets to the Academy of Natural Sciences and the Titanaboa: Monster Snake exhibit to facilitate this review. All opinions are 100% my own.
This originally appeared on Montgomery County Moms on March 25.