The Academy of Natural Sciences
1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA 19103-1101
Price of admission: Adults (age 13 and above): $12.00; Children (age 3 through 12): $10.00; Children (under age 3): free; Seniors (age 65+): $10.00; Military & Students (with ID): $10.00; live butterfly exhibit has an additional fee of $2.00 per person for general admission.
Website - 215.299.1000
Hours of Operations: 10 am – 4:30 pm Monday – Friday; 10 am – 5 pm Weekends and Holidays.
The Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia was founded in 1812 "for the encouragement and cultivation of the sciences, and the advancement of useful learning." The unique aspect of this statement of purpose lies in the word "useful," a mandate the Academy has continuously redefined through research and education that reflects the societal needs of the times.
The Academy's history mirrors the evolution of the relationship between the American people and the natural world. The oldest natural sciences institution in the Western Hemisphere, the Academy was founded when the United States hugged the Atlantic coastline, and Philadelphia was the cultural, commercial, and scientific center of the new nation. Classic expeditions to explore the western wilderness, such as those led by Stephen Long and Ferdinand Hayden, were organized at the Academy. These explorers brought back new species of plants and animals, which were studied and catalogued; they formed the foundation of the Academy's scientific collections which now contain over 17,000,000 specimens.
The Academy opened its doors to the public in 1828. Here, the mysteries of nature were revealed, its chaos organized and labeled in Latin and Greek. The collections expanded so rapidly-through gifts, purchases, and exchanges as well as expeditions—that the Academy outgrew its building three times in sixty years. In 1876, its present home was built at 19th and Benjamin Franklin Parkway—then the outskirts of town, and now the heart of Philadelphia's cultural district. With the opening of the new building, the Academy became a modern museum with areas for exhibitions and public lectures.
By the turn of the century, Academy expeditions were ranging farther afield, to the Arctic, to Central America, and later to Africa and Asia. Plants and animals collected during these excursions were incorporated into the Academy's magnificent dioramas, many of which were constructed in the 1920s and '30s. To capitalize on the educational potential of the dioramas, the Academy initiated classes for students in the School District of Philadelphia in 1932. In 1948, long before water pollution and environmental degradation became topics of public concern, the Academy established the Environmental Research Division. This marked the beginning of a broadened research orientation for the Academy, which included applied research in aquatic ecosystems as well as the traditional systematics research--discovering and cataloguing organisms. As noted in the statement of purpose, the Academy today is integrating its activities in research and education around environmental themes.
Famplosion strives for 100% accuracy in all of our listings. However, we recommend checking with the venue prior to your visit especially for special holiday hours or event schedule changes.