The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia is one of the oldest science museums in the country.  Founded in honor of Benjamin Franklin, the Institute consists of three centers, The Science Center, The Franklin Center, and The Center for Innovation in Science Learning, with a mission to create an understanding of, and passion for, science and technology. 

I visited The Franklin Institute Science Museum earlier this year when I visited Philadelphia to see the King Tut Exhibit.  The Science Center is hosting the traveling exhibit Tutankhamen And The Golden Age of The Pharaohs, which will run through September 30th.

There are lots of things to see at the Science Museum, and while we were waiting to get into the Tut exhibit, we wandered around looking at the other exhibits.  The exhibits are simply presented, and designed for young minds to learn about and develop an appreciation for science.  There are lots of hands on things to do — lots to touch and poke at — with colors and sounds sure to hold the attention of young and old minds alike.

A few of the exhibits that I thought were standouts were:

The Giant Heart – The Center of the Science Museum just like it’s the center of our bodies, it was recently refurbished and returned to display.  It’s been a part of the Science Museum since the 1954 opening.

The Train Factory – What’s not to like about an exhibit that has a real moving train?

The Franklin Air Show – It’s probably not a big surprise that I enjoyed this exhibit.  It features a selection of artifacts from the Wright Brothers workshop, the largest collection in the world.  You’ll also see lots of other fun aviation stuff.

The Franklin Institute has showcased a number of historically significant events, including Philo Taylor Farnsworth’s first public demonstration of a new-fangled all-electronic television (1934) and Nikola Tesla’s demonstration of wireless telegraphy (1893).

On a more current note, you may have seen the building in the movie National Treasure.  The Institute was prominently featured in the film.

The Franklin Institute Science Museum is located at 222 North 20th Street (20th & the Benjamin Franklin Parkway) in Philadelphia (map it).  It is open daily, 9:30 am – 5 pm, although there are extended hours during the Tut exhibit.

Admission to the Science Museum is $13.75 for adults, and $11 for children (ages 4-11) and seniors (62+).  Admission includes museum exhibits, live demonstrations and one show in the Planetarium.  IMAX Theater shows are additional.  The Tut exhibit requires a special admission ticket, but does include museum entrance.

Photo credits:  flickr


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