Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Pennsylvania Field Trip: Academy of Natural Sciences

Today was supposed to be our second day of homeschooling at home, doing math, English, Latin, and other (possibly more) interesting stuff. But we ended up having a field trip instead. Or, actually, in addition.

Early this morning I discovered that I was going to have to make a trip to downtown Philadelphia for a short but important errand. I do not like going downtown. But as I googled my route I noticed that I was going to be six blocks from a museum my kids have been wanting to visit for just about the entire three years we've lived here. So, I had to decide: leave the kids on their own for a couple of hours to do their math and other tablework without getting distracted or into a fight, or take them to the museum? Which would you pick?

Isn't this little guy cute?

The Academy of Natural Sciences is in the museum area of Philadelphia, near the Franklin Institute and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  It is a pretty nice area of town, as big old cities go.    It's full of dinosaur skeletons, from my little friend above, to a giant T. Rex.  There is an area for little scientists to have a go at digging for fossils.  My kids are too old for that now.  I can't say I miss it.

Isn't the cut-away of the nautilus just stunning?  I'd like to hang that on my Christmas tree.

Snail shells.

Among the permanent exhibits are wildlife dioramas, the "outside in" children's area, and a butterfly house.

It was hot and humid in there, but worth it to see so many butterflies up close.

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There are also temporary exhibits, Scout programs, a cafe, and a gift shop. I'm happy to say that my kids did not ask me to buy anything for them while we were there. Between the admission (butterflies are a few dollars extra) and the parking (parking in Philadelphia is just never cheap) they knew it was an expensive day.  But the museum is not overpriced.

And they thanked me for taking them! We ate our peanut butter sandwiches and graham crackers on the way home.  And when we got home they did as much work as they could squeeze in before soccer practice and dinner.

This is a nice museum. It reminded me of the San Francisco Academy of Sciences from my youth, but is nowhere as extensive in size or variety of exhibits. Still, it is a good way to spend a few hours and my kids learned a few things, in particular at the temporary "Creatures of the Abyss."  But go quickly if you want to see that; it's moving next week.  


wayside wanderer said...

You guys are having a lot fun! Love the pictures.

Sheryl said...

Reminds me of the Cranbrook Science Center. We love that place and spent a lot of time there.

Glad you had a good time! :-)