Thousands of shells will be on display and for sale at the annual Philadelphia Shell Show and Festival. Free with museum admission.
The largest show of its kind in the Northeast, the show features competitive displays by collectors and amateur scientists as well as chances to participate in mollusk dissections, make crafts, shop an international shell market, and go behind the scenes to see some of the 10 million specimens in the Academy’s Malacology Collection, the third largest in the world.
Click here to purchase tickets.
Ocean Fest Activities:
Throughout the museum
Meet the Mascot
Meet “Eddie,” the Academy’s T. rex mascot, as he tours the museum.
International Shell Market
Buy shells, jewelry, books, and more!
Under the Sea
Learn about the ecology of the ocean and the characteristics of marine animals such as crabs, sea snails, clams, sea urchins, starfish, and fishes from expert Andrew Wilson. This show features live ocean animals.
Academy Animal Ambassadors
Meet some of the live animals that call the Academy home during this live animal show. Discover their stories and learn what you can do to help their wild cousins.
Ocean Odyssey Film
Ocean Odyssey takes viewers on an undersea journey to remote and magical places. Follow Feodor Pitcairn, a pioneer in underwater HD cinematography, as he explores the marine ecosystems of the Galápagos Islands, Raja Ampat in Indonesia, the Maldives, the Azores, Hawai'i, the Caribbean, the Bahamas, the Channel Islands, British Columbia, the Gulf of Mexico, French Polynesia, and Belize.
Behind-the-Scenes Tours: Ichthyology
11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m.
Sign up at Science Live to take part in guided tours of the Academy’s Ichthyology Collection. It currently houses 1.2 million cataloged specimens representing an estimated 11,000 species. The collection includes eels and catfish and is rated as one of the top five ichthyology centers in North America.
North American Hall
Live Animal Touch Table
Get up close with a variety of critters that were featured in Andrew Wilson’s Under the Sea program at this live animal touch table.
Stop by the craft table to make a fish hat or jellyfish necklace and learn about the fishy features that make these animals suited to the water.
Closer Look: Sharks
Measure a shark jaw, feel shark skin, and watch a shark dissection.
Take a trip “under the sea” and experience the sights and sounds of the deep. Encounter Academy specimens and dress up as your favorite underwater critter.
Clockwork Snail Races
Cheer your favorite wind-up snail to victory and meet some of the competitors live (and slower) counterparts.
Competitive Shell Displays
Collectors, amateur scientists, and artists compete for prizes with beautiful and informative displays on mollusks from around the world.
Philadelphia Shell Club
Members of all ages share a zeal for collecting, displaying, and learning about shells. Kids get free shells from the Academy’s Malacology Department!
Behind-the-Scenes Tours: Malacology
11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m.
Sign up at the Philadelphia Shell Club table to take part in guided tours of the Academy’s Malacology Collection. Home to 10 million specimens, this collection is the oldest in the United States and the third largest in the world.
Name That Shell
11 a.m.–2 p.m.
Do you have a mystery shell that you’ve pushed to the back of a shelf? Are you saving a bag of treasures that you collected at the shore? Show your shells to experts at the Philadelphia Shell Club Table and have them identified.
Who needs the shore? Search through the sand and find shells to take home.
Under the Sea Tattoo Parlor
You don’t have to be a sailor to get one of our marine-themed tattoos or get your face painted. Our tattoos are painless, temporary, and free!
10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Visit Outside In for an interactive ocean tale featuring a live animal.
Special Exhibits Gallery
Chocolate: The Exhibition
Open all day
Indulge yourself in the sumptuous world of chocolate! Presented in Spanish and English, Chocolate: The Exhibition traces the intriguing story of this “food of the gods” from its origin as a unique rain forest tree to the sensuous sweet millions of people crave today. Explore chocolate’s impact on tropical ecosystems, human cultures, and the global economy through a range of fun, hands-on activities for all ages. Stand under a life-size cacao tree, touch pods and seeds, and more.
Chocolate and its national tour were developed by The Field Museum, Chicago. This project was supported, in part, by the National Science Foundation. $5 nonmembers, $3 Individual and Family members, free for Family Plus members and above. Not a member? Join at the admissions desk today and deduct today’s admission from the cost of your membership.