Self-guided Visits

the big dig

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

Dinosaurs Unearthed

June 25, 2016–January 16, 2017

Back by popular demand—roaring, moving, life-size animatronic dinosaurs invade the Academy for a multi-sensory experience for the whole family. State-of-the-art and scientifically accurate—down to the feathers on T. rex—Dinosaurs Unearthed features more than a dozen realistic, full-bodied dinosaurs, as well as skeletons, fossil casts of skulls, claws, and horns, real specimens of mosasaur and spinosaurus teeth, an Oviraptor egg, and the ever-popular coprolite (dino poop). Visitors will experience brand-new interactives, such as a multi-touch table and a scale that tells you how you measure up to different dinosaurs. A dig site for young paleontologists, a Dino Detective touch-screen quiz, chances to control dinosaur movements, and other activities encourage exciting hands-on exploration.

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

NEW! Chaperones, download our Dinosaur Hall Scavenger Hunt! Answer key located here.

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. Chaperons may also find the following exhibit guides useful: Africa and Asia Diorama Hall Activity Guide and North American Journey.

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.

Monday – Friday
Seating is first come, first served.

Auditorium (Subject to change. Listen for announcements.)
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.