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Spark Fun and Curiosity With Your Family at The Franklin Institute

March 5, 2024 By CityPASS

When it comes to making science fun, no museum compares to The Franklin Institute (also referred to as the "Benjamin Franklin museum") in Philadelphia. For almost 200 years, this museum has taught visitors about scientific phenomena and mechanics that, in other contexts, might seem dense or (gasp!) boring. However, rest assured that The Franklin Institute's innovative exhibits, films, and hands-on experiences are anything but boring. Visitors of all ages will be amazed by how fun and interesting science can be. As Benjamin Franklin (not a founder, but the inspiration behind the museum) once said: "If a man empties his purse into his head, no man can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest." Time to take Ben's wise words to heart!

Exhibits at The Franklin Institute

Visitors will relish exploring the 400,000+-square-foot compound filled with fascinating exhibits. With so many options at your fingertips, make sure to plan to spend at least a few hours there. Here are the permanent exhibits:

  • Joel N. Bloom Observatory: Fancy some rooftop stargazing? The observatory at The Franklin Institute offers one of the best spots and equipment in Philadelphia to gaze at the celestial bodies during the day. If you're lucky, the high-tech instruments may even allow you to catch a glimpse of a solar flare or even the moon.
  • Your Brain: While computers are getting more advanced each day, they still can't compete with the astonishing complexity and superior sophistication of the human brain. Learn how your brain pieces together disparate strands of information to allow you to experience "reality," test your brain's predictive knowledge, and climb through a two-story tall neural network.
  • SportsZone: Now's your chance to release some pent up energy by virtually racing against a seasoned athlete or challenging a friend to a race on a stationary bike with intense virtual terrain. Inside SportsZone, you'll perfect your baseball pitch, see how an object's shape impacts a water entry, and learn how a helmet truly protects your noggin.
  • Amazing Machine: Have you ever wondered what's inside a vacuum or other everyday machines? Gaze at "exploded" views of the interiors that illustrate how simple components comprise very complex machinery and try your hand at creating an entirely new machine using available pulleys and gears.
  • Sir Isaac's Loft: Designed with the famed mathematician in mind, this exhibit demonstrates Newton's principles using prisms, pulleys, and pendulums.
  • The Franklin Air Show: "Fly" to the moon or experience the adrenaline rush of an airborne barrel roll inside the Simulator Experience and learn all about flight-world giants like the Wright brothers and Amelia Earhart in this aviation-focused exhibit.
  • Wondrous Space: Journey through the cosmos as you explore this immersive, multisensory, two-story exhibit designed to inspire an excitement for space science.

    Discover what lies beyond Earth on the second floor. Learn about the incredible size and scale of celestial bodies as you travel through the universe. Touch a real meteorite that fell to Earth over 50,000 years ago. How does gravity shape the universe? What affects an asteroid's impact crater?

    On the third floor, imagine yourself in a space career as you experience the engineering it takes to get to space. Design and launch a rocket or see real space technology that could also benefit life on Earth. What do we need to live on Mars? Are there other worlds in our galaxy that could support life?

Visitors also have the option to partake in live science demonstrations. Watch liquid nitrogen interact in mesmerizing ways with various substances, see a cloud appear in mid-air, and duck for cover as an expert demonstrates how to create an explosion from simple elements. Check the Daily Programs Sheet at The Franklin Institute when you arrive for times and locations.

The Franklin Institute Tickets & Hours

Savvy shoppers looking to snag some substantial savings should consider Philadelphia CityPASS® tickets. Along with a deep discount on tickets for The Franklin Institute, CityPASS® ticket holders will also save up to on admission to other exciting Philadelphia hot spots like the Philadelphia Zoo, Eastern State Penitentiary, and more!

Operating hours for The Franklin Institute are available on the official website; make sure to check the schedule ahead of your travel plans so you can pick the best day and time to visit the museum.

The Franklin Institute After Hours

If you're looking for something fun to do after the museum closes, check out Science After Hours, a 21+ event series that includes experiments, demonstrations, drinks, and games. Each event showcases a new topic or theme, so check the after-hours event schedule for the most up-to-date information. (Note that tickets for Science After Hours is not included in general admission to The Franklin Institute.)

The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia is not just the area's premier science museum; it's a channel through which people of all ages and walks of life can experience the mechanisms working frantically "behind the scenes" of ordinary occurrences. You'll learn the "why" and "how" behind our minds, bodies, and the technology we use each day. It's an exhilarating experience that will not soon be forgotten.

Nearby Lodging

To get the most out of your stay in Philadelphia, we recommend finding lodging near Philadelphia's top attractions like Franklin Institute. Use this map to find the right lodging for you:

Unleash Your Inner Scientist for Less With CityPASS® Tickets

There's no need to pay full price to explore the inner workings of the world. With Philadelphia CityPASS® tickets, save up to on top Philly attractions including the Adventure Aquarium, Philadelphia Zoo, Big Bus Company and Philadelphia Trolley Works, and more! Experience more for less, grab your Philadelphia CityPASS® tickets and get ready to explore!

Header Image Courtesy of The Franklin Institute

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