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Academy Celebrates Bugs

August 06, 2012

Museum visitor examines butterfly and moth specimens during Bug Fest.
Museum visitor examines butterfly and moth specimens during Bug Fest.

Dozens of live deadly scorpions, notorious black widow spiders, and giant centipedes will be on special display throughout August, as the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University celebrates its Bicentennial with bug month. The creepy crawly experience really ratchets up Aug. 11 and 12 with the 5th annual Bug Fest celebration.

Far from a horror movie, it’s the real thing. From Aug. 1 through 31, the exhibit Nature’s Assassins: Bug Predators From Around the World will showcase the most venomous, scary-looking invertebrates (they’re bugs, but not insects) one would ever hope to see all in one place. They will be just a pane of glass away from visitors and distributed in 20 tanks throughout the museum.

Visitors will learn that these venomous creatures, while deadly to their insect or rodent prey, are beneficial to the environment. While their stings won’t kill most healthy people of a certain age, their venom can cause severe pain, swelling and fever.

Bug Fest, Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 11 and 12, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

This year the theme of the Academy’s wildly popular Bug Fest is butterflies from around the world. From colorful caterpillars to majestic winged adults, visitors will see dozens of intricately patterned butterflies, as well as other insect specimens, from the Academy’s world-renowned collection. In the Butterflies! tropical garden exhibit, several species of birdwing butterflies from Southeast Asia and Australia have been introduced, including “King Priam’s Birdwing,” Ornithoptera priamus, a spectacular iridescent green species flying in the exhibit for the first time.

Throughout the weekend, activities for both children and adults will be plentiful. Visitors can:

  • watch popular Cajun chef Zack Lemann prepare buggy foods including “chocolate chirp cookies” and sample the results
  • touch live bugs
  • learn about butterfly gardening
  • take a bug-exploration walk across the street in Logan Square
  • cheer on a favorite roach at the Roach Race 500
  • meet entomologists from the Academy and the American Entomological Society
  • learn how to collect and pin and care for your own bug collection
  • play games, make crafts and get their faces painted

Bug Fest and Nature’s Assassins: Bug Predators From Around the World are free with museum admission. For more details, visit

Also in August, the Academy continues its yearlong Bicentennial celebration with:

Behind-the-Scenes Tours of the Entomology Collection

  • Enjoy the rare opportunity to take a scientist-led tour of the Academy’s Entomology Collection of 4 million insect specimens, one of the world’s most scientifically significant insect collections. Tours are offered at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., Thursdays through Mondays. Tickets can be purchased at the admissions desk on the day of your visit. Fee is $7.50 for nonmembers, $5 for members. Ages 8 and up. For more information, call 215-299-1167.

Admission Discount on Aug. 21

  • Enjoy 2-for-the-price-of-1 admission on Aug. 21, and the 21st of each month through March 2013.