Self-guided Visits

Diorama with a polar bear and a seal is has just caught.

Take your students on an exciting exploration of the natural world. Our three floors of exhibits, ranging from dinosaurs and dioramas to hands-on interactive stations, are sure to make your field trip to the Academy the highlight of the school year.

Special Exhibits 

Chocolate: The Exhibtion

October 11, 2014-January 24, 2015

Indulge yourself in the sumptuous world of chocolate! Making its East Coast premiere, Chocolate: The Exhibition traces the intriguing story of this “food of the gods” from its origin as a unique rainforest tree to the sensuous sweet millions of people crave today. Barter cacao seeds for goods in an Aztec market, trace cacao’s journey across the Atlantic, and witness chocolate’s transformation into a tantalizing treat through the addition of sugar. Explore chocolate’s impact on tropical ecosystems, human cultures, and the global economy through a range of fun, hands-on activities for all ages. Stand under a life-size cacao tree and touch pods and seeds. Manipulate a conveyor belt to learn about the steps in chocolate production. Whether you are a novice or a connoisseur, Chocolate will engage your senses and share an enticing tale of the world’s favorite treat.

Download the Chocolate: The Exhibtion teacher's guide.

Titanoboa: Monster Snake

February 14-April 19, 2015

Deep underground in a Colombian coal mine, scientists have uncovered remains of the largest snake in the world, Titanoboa cerrejonensis. Titanoboa haunted the rain forest during the Paleocene, the lost world that followed the demise of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Stand eye-to-eye with a full-scale model of this massive predator, which at 48 feet long and 2,500 pounds could crush and devour a crocodile. Crawl through a Titanoboa-sized tunnel, see live boa constrictors, and check out authentic snake specimens from the depths of the Academy’s collections. This fearfully fun exhibition delves into Titanoboa’s discovery and reconstruction, as well as what scientists have learned from this enormous reptile.

Art of Science

This gallery features changing displays of artwork that explore the interplay between science and art.

Signature Exhibits 

Dinosaur Hall

Explore the exciting world of paleontology, stroll beneath towering fossil skeletons, and examine dinosaur anatomy up close. Stop by the Fossil Preparation Lab to talk with staff as they clean and prepare real fossils.

The Big Dig Now FREE with your admission!
Let’s go fossil hunting! Become a field paleontologist and dig for dinosaur fossils in a setting straight out of the badlands. Academy educators teach you how to use the tools of the trade, supervise the digging, and help identify fossil finds.
Located on the Mezzanine Level of Dinosaur Hall

Dioramas of Africa, Asia, and North America

Travel the globe without leaving the museum! Our ever-popular dioramas let students get nose-to-nose with gorillas from Africa, pandas from Asia, and bison from North America.

Science at the Academy

Find out what Academy scientists are up to these days in this multimedia exhibit. Watch video footage from research expeditions, see recently collected specimens, and find out about our latest scientific discoveries.

Programs

Live Animal Presentations!

Meet the furry, feathered, and scaly residents of the museum’s Live Animal Center, and explore their behaviors, adaptations, and ecosystems. The museum's Live Animal Center supports a collection of over 100 individual animals and several colonies of invertebrates that make thousands of program appearances annually.

September 1–June 30
Monday–Friday
Seating is first come, first served.
Auditorium
11 a.m., 11:45 a.m.
25–30 minutes
All ages welcome. This presentation is open to the public

Naturalist Presentation

Join our experienced Academy Educators as they explore natural history in these informal and interactive presentations involving live animals or museum specimens. 

  • Presentations are held at 2:30 p.m. weekdays.
  • Presentations are held at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. on weekends. 
  • Topics and locations vary daily; Check in the lobby on the day of your visit for details.
  • Presentations run for 20 minutes.

Carts of Curiosity

When you visit a Cart of Curiosity, you get to talk to Academy experts, touch real specimens, meet live invertebrates, play engaging games, learn special information about Academy exhibits, and discover how to be a natural scientist.