Targeted Facebook ads got me on this one. For months I have been seeing sponsored posts from the Academy of Natural Sciences at Drexel University in Philadelphia come across my news feed. Every time I saw one I would make a mental note to add it to “the list” for this year’s adventures. Finally, the perfect opportunity presented itself for a Mommy and me day with my middle little. I hopped online to check out the details about tickets, parking, hours and directions and I’m glad I did because when you purchase tickets ahead of time, you save $2 on each. I also discovered we were going to be driving in to the heart of the city and if you’re like me, the thought alone gives me anxiety. I hate driving in cities but I put my game face on and we actually made it there with zero issues. There is some metered street parking on N. 19th St. right next to the museum but I opted for the parking garage on Cherry Street. You can get a discounted rate if you validate your parking ticket before you leave the Academy, so don’t forget! It ended up being $10 for parking and $36 for tickets for the two of us. I purposely chose to do this adventure with just O and I because it would have cost us $$ for the whole family to go and I wasn’t sure if it would be worth the ticket price.
When we got there, the beauty of Logan Square was almost overwhelming. The amazing historic buildings, the fountain at the center of the square, it’s all larger than life. There were some homeless people sleeping on the benches in the park but overall it’s a very clean part of town. I love all the detail associated with the Academy building from the small things like handrails and floors to the large dino statues outside and tall ceilings inside. Immediately to your right when you enter are the dinosaurs so we headed straight for the t-rex. We spent a good amount of time here reading (and trying to pronounce) all the names and the archaeological dig upstairs was fun.
As we explored the rest of the museum, it felt like a lot of the display area square footage consisted of dioramas. Unfortunately, these can be extremely boring for younger kids. They don’t really understand what they’re looking at or how much work goes in to creating them. Luckily two of the dioramas had these awesome interactive touch screens that forced you to search the scene for specific plants or animals. I also found it very interesting when they explained how dioramas are made. We learned so much about the animals on display with the interactive touch screens. I just wish they had way more of those.
On the third floor we loved the kids area that included live creatures, a shark tooth dig, fossil rubbings, sand pit and more. One of the last places we visited was the butterfly house back on the first floor (save the best for last!). It was small (and HOT) but we saw quite a few beautiful butterflies and O even got up close and personal with one of them!
The museum is pretty huge but there are elevators so it is stroller and handicap accessible. There are plenty of restrooms and even water fountains on each floor. There’s a café and a nice gift shop with a very attentive cashier to help your extremely indecisive kid make a decision. We had a great time and spent exactly two hours here which is what I had planned on. I think this adventure is better suited to school age kids to get the most bang for your buck because as I mentioned, a lot of the exhibits are just dioramas and my 5 year old didn’t have much interest in them. Add this to the list of places to visit on a rainy (or snowy or hot) day!