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The Franklin Institute

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The Franklin Institute Review

Founded more than 175 years ago to honor Benjamin Franklin, this science museum is as clever as its namesake, thanks to an abundance of dazzling hands-on exhibits. To make the best use of your time, study the floor plan before exploring. You can sit in the cockpit of a T-33 jet trainer, trace the route of a corpuscle through the world's largest artificial heart (15,000 times life size), and ride to nowhere on a 350-ton Baldwin steam locomotive. Most visitors flock to a pair of exhibitions: Electricity, which focuses on sustainable energy and includes Franklin's famous lightning rod; and Changing Earth. ���One don't-miss is the 30-ton white-marble statue of Franklin; you can see the likeness (and an accompanying hourly multimedia presentation) without paying admission.

The Franklin Air Show celebrates powered flight with the Wright Model B Flyer. The Sports Challenge conveys the physics, physiology, and material science behind your favorite sport by simulating surfing, climbing a rock wall, and comparing your sneakers to Shaquille O'Neal's size 22s. The Fels Planetarium —which has a state-of-the-art aluminum dome, lighting and sound systems, and a related astronomy exhibit, "Space Command"—has shows about the stars, space exploration, comets, and other phenomena. The Tuttleman IMAX Theater, with a 79-foot domed screen and a 56-speaker sound system, has screened recent films, such as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II, Mummies: Secrets of the Pharaohs,and Tornado Alley.

Kids Science Park. Run by the Franklin Institute, the Kids Science Park presents interactive displays in an outdoor setting—which means children get a chance to run around and play while they learn. Swings demonstrate the laws of gravity and energy, and golf illustrates physics in motion. 21st St. between Winter and Race Sts., 19103. Free with admission to Franklin Institute or Please Touch Museum. May–Sept., daily 10–3.

    Contact Information

  • Address: 20th St. and Benjamin Franklin Pkwy., Logan Circle, Philadelphia, PA, 19103 | Map It
  • Phone: 215/448–1200
  • Cost: $15.50–$23
  • Hours: Daily 9:30–5
  • Website:
  • Location: Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Updated: 05-19-2011

Fodorite Reviews

Average Rating:  
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    Excellent science museum

    A fine science museum, with lots of intriguing exhibits (on Benjamin Franklin, flight, machines, sports science, health). Has a large model of a heart you can walk through. A fun place, and a must for kids. Expensive admission, though.

    by bachslunch, 10/19/08
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    Franklin Institute Science Museum Review

    I've spent many, many hours exploring the exhibits in the Franklin Institute with my family. Some of our favorite exhibits include: Electricity, Changing Earth, Sir Isaac's Loft, the Sports Challenge, and the classic locomotive. The IMAX movies are always great, and recent major exhibitions were pretty phenomenal (Titanic, Tut, Bodyworlds). You should also try to see a science show while you're there. We've seen the Liquid Air and Fireworks Shows, and they were both great - very interactive and entertaining!

    by rogersjk, 4/13/10

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