Around the Country
Celebrating a Bicentennial
Two hundred years ago-before the nation was yet 40 years old, before the United States declared war on the British Empire-a group of amateur naturalists met in a Philadelphia cake shop to form The Academy of Natural Sciences.
It was on March 21, 1812, that the group of six men in their 20s founded an organization "for the encouragement and cultivation of the sciences, and the advancement of useful learning."
"They were just well-educated, enthusiastic naturalists who thought that by sharing their specimens, their libraries, their knowledge, and their enthusiasm, they could accomplish much more together as a group," said Robert Peck, a senior fellow at the academy.
The academy grew slowly, for a time housing its donated books, dried plants, and stuffed birds in a room above a milliner's shop. It next moved to a house, then operated from a variety of ever-larger buildings, and finally moved to its present location in 1876.
During a ceremony recently, officials gathered in the oldest part of Philadelphia to dedicate a historical marker near the site of the old cake shop, which no longer exists.
After 200 years, the academy, now a part of Drexel University, has grown its collection to about 18 million specimens, employs a scientific staff of 150 people, and still continues to advance useful learning.
Arizona Museum of Natural History
Ongoing: "Rulers of the Prehistoric Skies." Meet the pterosaurs, the largest animals that have ever flown, in this new exhibition examining the winged reptiles that lived from 225 to 65 million years ago. Find out about the Quetzalcoatlus northropi and its 39-foot wingspan, the fish-eating Nyctosaurus, the toothed Dsungaripterus, and many other animals that were neither birds nor dinosaurs.
53 North Macdonaid
Arizona Science Center
Ongoing: "Forces of Nature." Experience some of the raw power generated by a dynamic Earth, including phenomena such as earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, volcanic eruptions, and wildfires. Find out what Earth scientists do and what their work reveals. The Immersion Theater puts you in the center of the action, and hands-on exhibits help explain the underlying science of plate tectonics, ocean currents, wind patterns, and more.
600 East Washington Street
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
Ongoing: "Dinosaur Hall." Get up close to the terrible lizards in this gallery featuring more than 300 fossils and 20 complete mounts of dinosaurs and sea creatures. Stroll beneath a 68-foot Mamenchisaurus, see the world's only display of differently aged T. rex specimens (baby, juvenile, and sub-adult), see the preserved remains of a dinosaur's last meal, and more.
900 Exposition Boulevard
San Diego Natural History Museum
Ongoing: "Fossil Mysteries.'' Dioramas, fossils, models, murals, and plenty of hands-on activities tell the changing story of the bioregion encompassing southern California and Baja California in this exhibition spanning 75 million years of history. Examine fossil clues-just as scientists do-to answer questions about plants and animals (including dinosaurs), changing environments, evolution, extinction, and more.
1788 El Prado
Denver Museum of Nature and Science
Ongoing: "Prehistoric Journey." Hike an indoor "trail through time," with detailed information and fossil specimens from seven periods in the 3.5 billion-year history of life on Earth. Unique "enviroramas" (reconstructed ancient habitats) along the trail-full of things to see, hear, and touch-make it seem as if you're walking in the past. …