Here on my thoughts on the Franklin Institute located in Center City Philadelphia.
Recently I got the chance to visit the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, PA. The Franklin Institute, a popular tourist destination in Philadelphia, is a science-based museum focused on interactive activities that kids and adults can enjoy the same. The Franklin Institute offers 12 permanent exhibits that provide excellent learning opportunities for kids. The Franklin Institute also holds exhibits that aren't permanent to the museum, with the next experience being the Disney 100 The Exhibition which premiere's February 18th, 2023; unfortunately, I could not try out this experience and can only talk about the general admissions tickets.
General Museum tickets are 23 dollars for adults and 19 dollars for children ages 3-11. If you are traveling to the Franklin Institute, parking is available; however, it is 20 dollars to park, so it adds to the cost of the trip. Entering the building from the garage, you enter, where you can either purchase a ticket from the ticket desk or print out your tickets from a ticket kiosk.
On the first floor of the building are three exhibits the Planetarium, Train Factory, and Space Command. The Planetarium holds shows throughout the day, and I was able to get to see one of them, which is an amazing display of stars and constellations in our sky that honestly is nice to look at. However, the show does go on for 25 minutes, and I could see children becoming bored, especially towards the end of the show, where this is no dialogue. However, this attraction is worth waiting for, and if you can see it, I would highly recommend it.
The Space Command exhibit holds a lot of exciting things to look at, like the scope lobby, a genuine meteorite, and the scope lobby. This exhibit has a nice mix of interactive exhibits and exciting facts to learn about. This is one of the smaller exhibits, though, and is quick and easy to walk through. The last exhibit on the first floor is the Train Factory, which shows off a large train upon entering and even allows you to make your own digital train and have it sent to your phone after you're done. This is a great section for kids who love trains and others who are interested in all the intricacies that come with trains.
Up next is the second floor which holds the most exhibits in the museum being, Amazing Machine, Your Brain, Changing Earth, Electricity, Franklin Air Show, and Giant Heart. If you are on a time crunch and want to see the most of the museum in the shortest amount of time possible, I would recommend taking the stairs to the second floor upon entering the museum and exploring there as it has so many attractions that provide a variety of interesting experiences.
First up is Electricity which is there to teach you about how electricity works and allows you to try out some interactive activities like touching static that makes your hair stand up, or seeing Ben Franklin's lightning rod or using your body to complete and electrical circuit. This is a very interactive and visually appealing attraction however like a lot of the second floor areas it's on the smaller end and doesn't have enough differentiating activities for it to be one of the better ones at the institute. Next is Your Brain which in my opinion is one of the top areas at the Franklin Institute. Your Brain includes a maze called the Neural Climb which is 18 foot tall and is beautiful to look at from the outside. The maze is perfect for kids and even fun for adults as I had fun climbing through the maze even though it is obviously sized for a child. There is an interesting area with a mock town that tests your ability to see the area around you for what it is with optical illusions all around, and even a brain scanner showing the parts of your brain. There are so many activities in Your Brain and you will for sure find something here that makes you go wow.
Next is Changing Earth which allows you to deliver your own weather forecast, calculate your carbon footprint and try to build a structure that would survive an earthquake. Changing Earth is a fun area with a few interesting activities however it is smaller and is forgettable in the grand scheme of the museum. One of the most fascinating areas is Amazing Machine where you can try to operate a crane and grab objects on the ground, launch a water rocket to try and hit the top, as well as see a lot of interesting machines and their histories. Amazing machine had me interested the entire time I was there and is worth checking out!
Furthermore we have the Franklin Air Show which was one of the most compelling areas I went to. The Franklin Air Show has an original Model B by the Wright Brothers in the back which is the most intact wright brothers plane left on the planet. You can sit inside of a jet trainer which hangs in the middle of the room. Theres a lot of cool competitions that have you use wind and energy to race against someone else in the front of the room and you can use plane parts all over the room to try to get them to fly. For kids and adults the same this is an amazing area and was so much fun to enter in and one of the must see areas in the museum. The last area on the second floor is Giant Heart which its main attraction is well, a giant heart which is a maze that you can explore the parts on the heart from the inside and it pretty fun to walk-through. You can also see a dissection of a random item and look at a lot of heart facts in the front of the room. I would check this out if you have the time as looking at and going through the giant heart is worth the time.
The third floor is the final floor of the building and unfortunately I was only able to visit the Sports Zone. On this floor is Sir Isaac's Loft and the Tech Studio as well. Sir Isaac's Loft allows you to play around with motion and gravity, and the Tech Studio engages people to try out the design principles of theorizing, questioning, and testing. The Sports Zone was by far my favorite spot in the museum as a sports kid growing up. All of the interactive material was so much fun. You get to try your best to jump and hit the highest basketball you can. You can also race against the Philly Phanatic on a track and learn how to distribute drinking water and energy drinks while on the run. If you like sports or activities at all, I would really recommend traveling up to the third floor to see this area. The Pendulum stairs are also on the third floor, and it swings all the way to the bottom of the building at all times
I was unable to try any of the food at the Franklin Institute, but there are two areas for food the eatery, which includes larger meals, and a snack area on the first floor. The Franklin Institute was a great way to start traveling this winter and provided a lot of fun for kids and adults alike. If you plan on traveling here, ensure you have at least 3-4 hours to explore the entire building, as there is a lot to do. This is worth it if you have a group of people or a family to explore with or if you are really into science and technology; you will find yourself enjoying it here.