Bug Fest

August 8–9

Bug Fest

Creepy, crawly, sticky, prickly, wiggly, yucky. And kinda cute. At least that is what we think about bugs at the Academy of Natural Sciences!

Join us on August 8 and 9, 2015, for our annual celebration of insects! Enjoy new activities and shows on the grosser features of insects, stretch and pose like a phasmid in a bug yoga class, and visit the bug clinic to find out how bugs might help (or hurt) your health. Plus revisit some old favorites—back by popular demand. Talk with real scientists, learn about insects from all over the world, and see specimens from the Academy’s behind-the-scenes collections. Eat bugs, get your face painted, and relax as you enjoy a buggy show.

Click here to purchase tickets!

Bug Costume Discount
Come dressed as your favorite bug and receive $2 off regular admission.

Bug Fest 2015 Highlights


Hundreds of live invertebrates will be on display throughout the museum. You’ll see beetles, true bugs, millipedes, centipedes, scorpions, stick insects, cockroaches, caterpillars, tarantulas and other spiders, and more. Spot live invertebrates’ “gross factors” as you examine blister beetles, venomous spiders and scorpions, millipedes, grasshoppers, and stinkbugs. If that’s not enough, you can even check out insect poop, regurgitation, and “ooze.”

volunteer showing child insect cases 

NEW IN 2015

Bug Yoga

Stretch and pose like a bug! Draw your inspiration from the postures of live phasmids (stick and leaf insects), as well as some grasshoppers and mantids, which will be on display during this guided yoga class.


Bedbugs are bad news. But what about spiders and their silk? Learn about invertebrates that might benefit humans—and others that are a cause for concern.

See live and preserved specimens and complete interactive activities focusing on lice, bedbugs, maggots, mosquitoes, ticks, certain spiders’ venoms, silk from spiders and caterpillars, and more. Search for lice or bedbugs (don’t worry—they won’t be alive), and find out why lice like hair. Touch real maggots, and discover why they might fill in for bandages. Discover these answers and more as you take a closer look at the medical world of bugs.

Grossology: Bugs Edition

What would you consider the grossest of the gross? Throughout the museum and at our discovery carts, check out bug vomit, poop, chemical warfare, slime, and more using live specimens and real samples.

  • Poop or Egg? Can you tell which is which from certain species of phasmid and caterpillar? 
  • To Ooze or to Snooze? See a variety of species that defend themselves by oozing “blood” or other liquids, and examine beetles that like to play dead. 
  • Alive and Up Close: Check out live specimens that often make people say “yuck,” including slugs, worms, spiders, bug “guts,” and more.
  • See maggots or dermestid beetles decomposing a corpse of a small animal!

Click here to purchase tickets!

Meet the Bug People

Representatives from various community organizations, including researchers, local butterfly gardeners, bee keepers, and others will answer your questions throughout the museum.

 kids eating cricket cookies


Roach Race 500: Cheer on your favorite roach as it tries to conquer three different tracks in the famous Roach Race 500! Every half hour, 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Bug Picasso: Cockroaches and maggots create unique pieces of art by scurrying through trails of vibrant paint. 10:15-11 a.m., 12:15-1 p.m., 2:30-3:15 p.m.

Live Invertebrate Stage Show: “B-eww-tiful Bugs” will be the stars of our unique live animal show. 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.

Bug Walks: Join Academy entomologists on an expedition outside the museum to see what species of invertebrates live there. Hourly, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Bug Appétit: Enjoy culinary art with a buggy twist. Or, in other words, you get to eat bugs!!! Join Chef David George Gordon as he cooks up some tasty bug cuisine! Demonstrations in the Commons 11 a.m.-noon, 3-4:30 p.m.; Live show in the Auditorium at 1 p.m.

Meet the Entomologist: Talk with Academy entomologists and representatives from the American Entomological Society. Find out about current research projects and get an up close look at some specimens from our collections.

Crafty Critters: Create your own bug-themed craft to take home.

Bedbug Sniffing Dogs: Learn more about the bugs that bug us! Auditorium show at 3:30 p.m.; Demonstrations in Dinosaur Hall at noon and 2 p.m.

Story Time in Outside In: Story time will feature a bug tale, Marty the Moose, and a live animal. 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Click here to purchase tickets!

arms covered with insect tattoos 

Open During Bug Fest 2015—FINAL WEEKS!

Animal Grossology is the slimiest, stinkiest, and downright yuckiest exhibit you will find in Philadelphia in 2015! Based on Sylvia Branzei’s best-selling children’s book series Grossology, this hands-on 3-D exhibit oozes with disgusting science and provides a slightly off-kilter view of the animal kingdom. Learn why cows chew cud and why snail and slug slime might provide scientists with more insight into treating cystic fibrosis. From poop to pellets and scales to hairballs, check out all the things you aren’t allowed to discuss at the dinner table!

Click here to purchase tickets!

Plan your visit, check out our new exhibits, and find out about upcoming activities.
Discover the past and explore the future of the natural sciences in our online exhibits.
Make a difference, browse our programs, and get involved with the natural world.