The Academy of Natural Sciences hasn’t been on my radar for long. When doing internet searches for things to do and see in Philadelphia, it never came up, and I didn’t really know it existed until DH and I walked past it a while back.
The building caught our attention due to the dinosaur statue out front, but we learned that admission was over $15 a person, and that seemed a little steep for what essentially felt like a secret museum that no one ever told us we should visit.
But I kept the museum in mind for a day of solo wandering, and then earlier this month I noticed that they were offering pay-as-you-wish admission in honor of their founding anniversary.
I wished five dollars.
The museum is not as visually impressive as those old-school natural history museums with the high-ceiling-ed foyers and the super tall dinosaur bone extravaganzas. The Academy of Natural Sciences is low-ceiling-ed and little scruffy around the edges. It also feels very much like a workplace. I kept stumbling upon private doors, and “employees only” sections of the museum, and a very cool reading room where I felt a little unwelcome because I only wanted to take pictures for non academic purposes.
But even with the workplace vibe, this museum is charming and informative, especially if you have kids in tow.
I felt a little out of place being childless, alone, and unloved (just kidding, obviously I am beloved by all) since the exhibits were definitely catered towards kids and families, but on the upside I did visit during peak nap hours, so I had a lot of exhibits entirely to my selfish self.
I enjoyed the butterfly exhibit (with real live butterflies!), but I mostly wanted to see the dioramas, because I am a sucker for them, and they were totally worth the price of pay-as-you-wish admission.