2015 Exhibits Feature Live Deadly Snakes, N.J.’s Most Famous Dinosaur and More at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University

T. rex greets visitors to the Academy's signature Discovering Dinosaurs exhibition.PHILADELPHIA (October 21, 2014) — Get up close to live deadly snakes, revel in the grossness of animals, brush up on New Jersey’s most famous dinosaur, and see how you measure up to the largest snake that ever lived. 2015 brings a new year of engaging exhibitions at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University.

Nestled in the heart of Philadelphia’s Parkway Museums District, the Academy is the nation’s oldest natural history museum. The museum’s signature exhibits, popular with both children and adults, include Discovering Dinosaurs, Butterflies! (a tropical garden of live butterflies), Outside In (a children’s discovery center with live animals), and historic dioramas depicting animals around the world in artful habitats.

In addition, the Academy presents a series of engaging and educational temporary exhibits. Below is the schedule of exhibits for 2015. For frequent updates, visit ansp.org.

Chocolate: The Exhibition
October 11, 2014–January 24, 2015
Special Exhibits Gallery

Indulge in a sumptuous world of chocolate and discover the captivating scientific and cultural history of one of the world’s favorite treats in Chocolate: The Exhibition at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University. Chocolate, presented by Mars Chocolate North America, traces the intriguing story of this “food of the gods” from its origin as a unique tropical rain forest tree, to the Aztecs who used cacao seeds as currency, to the Spanish who added sugar and transformed the bitter drink of kings, to the sensuous sweet millions of people crave today. Chocolate is a sweet, interactive experience that engages all the senses and reveals facets of chocolate most people never thought about before. Chocolate is in both English and Spanish. Fee: $5 in addition to regular museum admission.

Caryn Babaian: Nature in Chalk
January 17–May 31, 2015
Art of Science Gallery

Caryn Babaian’s exhibition of large-scale nature mandalas in colorful chalk focuses on the complexity and beauty of living systems in nature. Babaian, a biology professor and accomplished artist, uses circular compositions to reference traditional Hindu and Buddhist mandalas, spiritual and ritual symbols representing the universe in those religions. In doing so, she hopes visitors will be encouraged to contemplate the natural world and establish a connection to their place within it. Art-making is a key component of her Bucks County (Pa.) Community College science classes. By actively observing and drawing, she believes her students will more deeply observe and relate to the details within nature. Free with regular museum admission.

Titanoboa: Monster Snake
February 14–April 19, 2015
Special Exhibits Gallery

Deep underground in a Colombian coal mine, scientists have uncovered remains of the largest snake in the world, Titanoboa cerrejonensis. 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. Titanoboa haunted the rain forest during the Paleocene, the lost world that followed the demise of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. This fearfully fun exhibit explores the adventure of Titanoboa’s discovery and reconstruction, as well as what scientists have learned from this enormous reptile. Free with regular museum admission.

Animal Grossology
May 16–August 30, 2015
Special Exhibits Gallery

Experience the slimiest, stinkiest and downright yuckiest creatures on earth in Animal Grossology. Based on the best-selling children’s book series Grossology by Sylvia Branzei, this exhibit oozes with disgusting science and entertaining hands-on learning games. Find out why the dung beetle is called nature’s pooper scooper, why cows chew cud, and how snail and slug slime could lead to a treatment for cystic fibrosis. From poop to pellets and scales to hairballs, celebrate all the things that can’t be discussed at the dinner table. Fee: in addition to regular museum admission.

Clearly Beautiful: Photographs by Adam Summers
June 6–October 4, 2015
Art of Science Gallery

The large, revealing images of Clearly Beautiful: Photographs by Adam Summers depict the striking results of a common method of studying animal anatomy called clearing and staining. To achieve the beautifully detailed inner skeletal tissues of fish, the photographer, University of Washington biology professor Adam Summers, soaked the specimens in different dyes and enzymes to render the soft tissues transparent and the harder tissues deep blue and crimson. Each careful step of the clearing and staining process is described and illustrated through more photographs and fish specimens from the Academy’s own Ichthyology Collection.

Reptiles: The Beautiful and the Deadly
September 26, 2015–January 10, 2016

Get eyeball to eyeball with live deadly snakes, colorful lizards, bizarre turtles and rugged crocodilians from around the world. Nestled in naturalistic habitats, these cold-blooded animals will help dispel common myths and foster a basic understanding of how reptiles fit into the animal kingdom and their native environments. Engaging, interactive components let visitors “milk” a viper, learn to speak croc in less than five minutes, and test their knowledge with Turtle Trivia and Lizard Wizard. Fee in addition to regular museum admission.

Drawn to Dinosaurs
October 31, 2015–TBD
Art of Science Gallery

Drawn to Dinosaurs delves into the science and art of visualizing a living animal based on fragmentary fossils. This intimate exhibit illustrates what scientists can deduce from the fossil record when creating a reconstruction of a skeleton or model and what they must look to artists to interpret. The centerpiece is a full cast of the plant-eating dinosaur Hadrosaurus foulkii, discovered in 1858 in Haddonfield, N.J. The Academy created a full cast of this duckbilled dinosaur and put it on display in 1868, becoming the first place in the world where the public could go to see a dinosaur. Now it’s back. Free with regular museum admission.

For more information, visit ansp.org.

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Founded in 1812, the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University is a leading natural history museum dedicated to advancing research, education, and public engagement in biodiversity and environmental science.
HOURS: Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m.; Saturday–Sunday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. ADMISSION: $15.95 adults; $13.95 children 3-12, seniors, college students, and military personnel; free for members and children under 3. PHONE: 215-299-1000

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