Philadelphia Sights

The Franklin Institute

  • 271 N. 21st St. Map It
  • Benjamin Franklin Parkway
  • Fodor's Choice

Published 01/10/2017

Fodor's 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 Zone conveys the physics, physiology, and material science behind your favorite sport by simulating surfing, testing your center

of mass and reaction time, and more. 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, screens recent Hollywood films and special documentaries.

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Sight Information


271 N. 21st St., at Benjamin Franklin Pkwy., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19103, USA

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Sight Details:

  • $19.95–$34.95 adult; some exhibitions require additional fees

Published 01/10/2017


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