By Carolyn Belardo
Summer is a great time to explore nature, and Bug Fest, summer camp, and an exhibit about the squishiest, stinkiest, slimiest creatures on Earth offer some wonderful ways to do that at the Academy.
The new Animal Grossology exhibit opening May 16 delves into the squishy, stinky, slimy habits of the animal kingdom. From poop to pellets and scales to hairballs, the exhibit celebrates all the things that can’t be discussed at the dinner table.
Bug Fest, Aug. 8 and 9, is the Academy’s most popular festival and features hundreds of live insects, hands-on family activities, discussions with Academy entomologists, and the chance to taste some creepy crawlies, which are actually nutritious.
And there’s more. Check out the Calendar of Events below to see what we are planning for spring and summer. You can purchase tickets online by visiting ansp.org.
May 16–August 30
Special Exhibits Gallery
Experience the squishiest, stinkiest and slimiest creatures on Earth in Animal Grossology. Based on the best-selling children’s book series Grossology by Sylvia Branzei, this exhibit oozes with disgusting science and entertaining hands-on learning games. Find out why cows chew cud and how snail and slug slime could lead to a treatment for cystic fibrosis. From poop to pellets and scales to hairballs, celebrate all the things that can’t be discussed at the dinner table.
Mega-Bad Movie Night: The Fly
Thursday, May 21, Reception 5:30 p.m., Movie 7 p.m.
An all-female panel of local geeks, including Kennedy Allen of the Black Tribbles, will be onstage to offer quips and sidesplitting comments while the audience laughs along about the many scientific absurdities while watching the awesomely awful 1986 sci-fi classic The Fly. Think Mystery Science Theater 3000! Before the movie, guests can stroll the Academy’s exhibits, meet fellow science nerds, and enjoy beer and refreshments. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit ansp.org.
Clearly Beautiful: Photographs by Adam Summers
June 6–October 4
Art of Science Gallery
The large, revealing images of Clearly Beautiful: Photographs by Adam Summers depict the striking results of a common method of studying animal anatomy called clearing and staining. To achieve the beautifully detailed inner skeletal tissues of fish, the photographer, University of Washington biology professor Adam Summers, soaked the specimens in different dyes and enzymes, rendering the soft tissues transparent and the harder tissues deep blue and crimson. Each step of the process is described and illustrated, and the exhibit is accompanied by fish specimens from the Academy’s vast Ichthyology Collection.
Tapping Our Watershed
Monday, June 15, 6 p.m.
National Mechanics, 22 South 3rd St., Philadelphia
In this informal science café, Tom Davidock, senior coordinator for the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, will discuss “Protecting the Delaware Estuary One Beer at a Time: How Creative Partnerships with Breweries Are Helping Keep Our Water Clean.” The monthly Tapping Our Watershed is free and is organized by the Academy. Talks are for people age 21 and older; those under 21 must be accompanied by a chaperone who is at least 25.
Academy Explorers Camp
Monday–Friday, July and August, 9 a.m.–4 p.m.
Academy Explorers Camp offers children ages 5–12 a unique, fun and engaging experience. Each week of camp explores an exciting new theme and features an off-site field trip, plus all the museum has to offer—from dinosaurs to preserved specimens to live animals. For details, visit ansp.org or call 215-299-1060.
Camp Dates and Topics
July 6–10 Animal Inventions
Tap into your inner inventor as you observe nature and design something new inspired by animal attributes.
July 13–17 Inside-Out
Discover what makes animals (including you) tick, and figure out how bones, organs, blood and guts work together.
July 20–24 The World of T. rex
Travel back in time to explore the world of Tyrannosaurus rex and meet the live descendants of these ancient beasts.
July 27–31 Slimy Science
Wiggle with worms and squirm with salamanders to inspire your inner scientist with these icky, slimy experiments.
August 3–7 Dino-lympics
Join the feathered frenzy, challenge yourself and discover how well you’d measure up to the dinosaurs.
August 10–14 Bugstravaganza
Journey deep into the dirt and observe the world from a bug’s point of view. Get up close and personal with some real live creepy crawlies.
August 17–21 Behind the Scenes
Become the ultimate Academy insider. Explore the museum’s rarely seen collections, meet Academy scientists and try your hand at some seriously fun science.
August 24–28 Animal Grossology
Get a closer look at animals and the disgusting things they do. Learn how puke, poop and pellets can be fun, funky and fascinating.
Tiny Tot Explorers
Wednesdays, July 8–August 19, 11 a.m.–noon
Tiny Tot Explorers is a program for 3- to 5- year-olds and their favorite adults, where the littlest campers have the biggest fun. Each week participants discover an exciting new theme through games, crafts, songs and museum adventures. Register for a single session or the entire series. For details, visit ansp.org or call 215-299-1060.
Appreciation Day: Police, Firefighters and the Office of Emergency Management
Thursday, August 6, 10 a.m.–2 p.m.
The Philadelphia Police Department, Fire Department and Office of Emergency Management have a special day of activities and presentations for visitors to the Academy on this day set aside to show appreciation for their bravery and service. Meet the men and women of these forces; get fire prevention tips; learn emergency preparedness; learn what it takes to become a police officer; meet McGruff the Crime Dog and more.
Saturday and Sunday, August 8 and 9, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
Celebrate insects of all kinds—and taste a few—at the annual Bug Fest. Cheer on a favorite cockroach in the Roach Race 500, talk with Academy entomologists, examine hundreds of live bugs up close, get your face painted, and enjoy other fun activities.
Philadelphia Geek Awards
Saturday, Aug. 15, Evening
The Philadelphia Geek Awards is an annual black-tie, red-carpet ceremony hosted by Geekadelphia and the Academy. It honors geeks in the greater Philadelphia region who have made major contributions in their fields, including game developers, comic book artists, social media marketers, and others. Fee. Registration is required. For details, visit ansp.org and geekadelphia.com.
Academy Explorers Camp
Monday through Thursday, September 21–24, 9 a.m.–4 p.m.
The Academy is offering a special fall Academy Explorers Camp when schools are affected by the visit of Pope Francis. Academy Explorers Camp offers children ages 5–12 a unique, fun and engaging experience with science and the many exhibits the museum has to offer. The camp will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with optional before and after care. For details, visit ansp.org or call 215-299-1060.