From Sloths to Sleuths: The Academy of Natural Sciences Free Pass Program!

By Joe S. RSS Mon, June 24, 2024

The Academy of Natural Sciences and the Free Library of Philadelphia are old friends. For over 100 years, they have lived across from each other on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, educating and entertaining Philadelphians.

In celebration of the relationship between the Free Library and the Academy of Natural Sciences, the Academy has given the Free Library at Parkway Central free one-week passes to the Academy! The program starts July 1, 2024, and runs through June 30, 2025. Each pass is good for up to two adults and five children and guarantees free entry to all exhibitions and displays at the Academy during regular business hours — no time tickets required! Passes are checked out from and must be returned in person to Central Children’s Department at Parkway Central. View more details about the pass program.

If you’re in the mood for something fun and out of the ordinary, why not hang out with a sloth at the Academy? Or learn about sloths through the children's booksencyclopedic entries, or reading fiction at the Free Library?


Maple the sloth inside of her enclosure

Maple the sloth inside of her enclosure in the special exhibit "Under the Canopy: Animals of the Rainforest at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University" [Credit: Ramon Torres/ANS]


The Free Library and the Academy "bond" in other ways often forgotten. It begins with the name Bond, James Bond. The real James Bond — after whom British author Ian Fleming named his famous spy — was a prominent bird scientist who authored the seminal guide, Birds of the West Indies (1936). He lived in Philadelphia and worked as a scientist at the Academy of Natural Sciences. His wife, Mary Wyckham Bond, wrote a book about how her husband's name was stolen, titled How 007 Got His Name (1966). Following her husband's death, she gifted her collection of papers on the "real" James Bond to the Free Library. Anyone can schedule an appointment at the Rare Book Department to view these items. To learn more about who the real James Bond was and his connection to Ian Fleming, or how other ornithologists became excellent spies for the American government, view "Uncovering The Real James Bond at The Free Library of Philadelphia" presented by Jim Wright, author of the book, The Real James Bond: A True Story of Identity Theft, Avian Intrigue, and Ian Fleming (2020), or listen to the fascinating Spotify podcast, Stolen Faces: The Many Faces of James Bond, 007 produced by the Free Library.

Also, don’t forget Bug Fest 2024. This annual celebration will be held inside the Academy of Natural Sciences on Saturday, August 10 and Sunday, August 11. Free Library patrons receive a $4 discount when presenting their Free Library cards upon purchase!

For more information about this program, contact Joe Shemtov at

Have a question for Free Library staff? Please submit it to our Ask a Librarian page and receive a response within two business days.

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It's great to see the museum passes finally coming back. Any chance of other museum passes becoming available soon?
Jacquelynn Dichter - Philadelphia
Wednesday, July 10, 2024