The Academy of Natural Sciences is home to thousands of specimens that have been lightly killed, stuffed, described, and cataloged to provide a record of the wonderful life on this planet.
Right now, The Academy is offering Behind the Scenes tours where you will be able to venture into the other two thirds of the building and gaze upon specimens that have never been seen in the main collection. A simple elevator ride takes you into the inner sanctum of all things stuffed and preserved.
June was the month of the bird. The Behind the Scenes tour this month featured all sorts of feathered specimens from the very small to the very extinct.
Nate Rice, the resident all-knowing Ornithologist, walks you through the moveable stacks of stuffed birds, passionately spouting the latin names and history of each intriguing bird. In addition to simply gazing upon these beautiful and delicate works of nature, Rice provides the intriguing backstory to each bird. Some date back to the 1800’s.
One of the most intriguing birds featured was the Carolina Parakeet. This colorful bird used to live along the East coast and may have nested around Philadelphia. It certainly would have been wonderful to see the fluttering of bright colors around our city. But, alas, it is extinct and won’t be brightening our skies anytime soon. That is, unless the Academy decided to open up their own version of an avian Jurassic Park.
The Behind the Scenes tours run every week from Thursday to Monday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tickets for members are $5 and $7.50 for non-members.
Here is a list of the upcoming Behind the Scenes Tours:
July 2012: Herpetology and Mammology Collections (amphibians, reptiles, and mammals)
August 2012: Entomology Collection (insects)
September 2012: Diatom Collection (diatoms are microscopic algae)
October 2012: Malacology Collection (bivalves, snails, and octopi)
November 2012: Live Animal Center
December 2012: Ichthyology Collection (fish)
January 2013: Botany Collection (plants)
February 2013: Vertebrate Paleontology Collection