BUG FEST at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, Reviewby EJ on 08/30/12
The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University is the country's oldest natural history museum and that in itself is downright amazing. Whether you're walking the halls of the majestic North American dioramas exhibit, or standing beneath a towering dinosaur skeleton, you are guaranteed to find more than one something to take your breath away.
Once inside, we stopped for face paintings in the museum cafeteria, with the accompaniment of some live music. The kids picked their favorite bugs for their faces or arms: a scorpion, butterflies and a spider. The artists were actually very good and the kids wore their new art proudly for the day.
We watched the Giant Red Fire Ants in action, climbing sticks in their tank. A huge stag beetle lunged, frightening us, as a museum employee cleared some dirt from around her "armor".
Every bug had a story, a distinct look, and a purpose behind the appearance. The kids were able to touch the distinctively colored Eyed Hawk Moth Caterpillar, which had little tiny horns and an incredibly soft body. ML and AJ became enthralled with the Eyed Hawk Moth babies, as did I.
The room seemed to pulse with the flapping of delicate wings. With wide eyes, the kids waited patiently for a butterfly to pass close by. Several butterflies, large and small, sat nibbling on bananas at the various feeding stations throughout the garden.
In The Academy at 200 room, we stepped back in time to view some incredibly old and no longer living creatures, preserved in glass bottles that ranged from small to huge. The 80 foot wall that housed the many jars, shells and bones included a preserved baby Great Hammerhead, extinct Giant White Shark's teeth, a Burmese Python, squid, owls, and an enormous Andean condor. The sheer number of creatures represented was amazing. In the same room, kids were able to touch a huge meteor, a giant clam shell and a large chunk of coral.
Within the halls of the North American dioramas, surrounded by bears, a moose, elk, bison and other huge creatures, we viewed the many colorful and impressive collections of bug collectors and entomologists.
A student and insect collector pointed out some of the caterpillars which at first glance appeared exotic and *maybe not of this world* but were actually native species.
We learned that stick bugs live on every continent except Antarctica. They can also shed and regenerate their limbs to escape predators.
There were still many activities left to do and before we headed home for naps, the kids designed their own butterfly masks. Fascinated to extremes and thoroughly exhausted, the monsters departed Philadelphia with a huge appreciation for bugs and ready to collect more specimens for their bug boxes.
On the way home, we realized we never did find that Black Widow Spider. Where was he (or she) hiding, anyway?
Thank you to the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University for inviting Four Little Monsters to BUG FEST! Passes were provided for the purpose of this review and all opinions belong to the blogger.