Academy Ranked 2nd Best Science Museum
July 1, 2013
The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University ranked second out of the nation’s 10 best science museums to visit, according to a recent survey of American Mensa members.
Mensa is an organization open to people who score in the top 2 percent on an accepted, standardized intelligence test. There are about 57,000 Mensa members in the U.S.
Mensa presented a list of 30 American science museums to two groups of their members: educators and scientists. The members considered hands-on learning, the variety of exhibits, and other factors in choosing their 10 favorite science museums, according to Mensa. One common trait the respondents felt was vital was the interactive aspect of the museum.
The survey results come as families are taking summer vacations and looking for fun and educational things to do with their children. “Our nation’s science museums are a treasure for families looking for ways to keep bright minds active all year round,” said Lisa Van Gemert, Mensa’s gifted youth specialist.
Founded in 1812, the Academy of Natural Sciences is the nation’s oldest natural history museum and is dedicated to advancing research, education and public engagement in biodiversity and environmental science. The museum, nestled in the heart of Philadelphia’s Museums District, is one of the city’s top cultural attractions and a popular destination for families, school groups and tourists.
The Academy features four floors of interactive permanent and changing exhibits. Visitors can come face-to-face with a towering T. rex in Dinosaur Hall, take a stroll through a tropical garden filled with live butterflies, touch live animals, peer through microscopes, meet scientists, and see some of the 18 million plant and animal specimens from the collections. Evening author talks, classes and field trips for adults, panel discussions on important environmental issues, and Mega-Bad Movie Nights make the Academy a destination for all ages. In 2011 the Academy became an affiliate of Drexel University.
Now through Sept. 29, the exhibit Glow: Living Lights illuminates the phenomenon of bioluminescence in creatures such as fireflies. And now through Sept. 22, fine arts photographer Mark Laita’s colorful and sensual deadly snakes fill the walls of the Art of Science Gallery in an exhibit called Serpentine. August 10 and 11 bring the sixth annual Bug Fest, a festival of live insects of all kinds and even insects cooked into foods that visitors can taste. Dinosaurs Unearthed, a major exhibit featuring moving, roaring, life-size animatronic dinosaurs, opens Oct. 12 and runs through March 30, 2014. For more information, visit ansp.org.
The Academy was one of three museums on the Mensa list that are located on the East Coast. The National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., ranked number one, and the Museum of Science in Boston came in at number 9.