The Franklin Institute
Visiting the Franklin Institute
Location: 222 North 20th Street (and the Parkway)
Hours: 9:30AM - 5:00PM
Cost: $15.50 adult, $14.50 senior, military, $12 child, free under 4, additional fee for IMAX or Franklin Theatre and other Special exhibits
Scientist and inventor Benjamin Franklin would be proud of the impressive museum named for him and dedicated to one of the major focuses of his life work--expanding knowledge of the universe through science. The Franklin Institute is Philadelphia’s most visited museum and arguably it’s most fun. The Museum is fully interactive and has something to offer for visitors of all ages and interests.
Franklin was an author, scientist, musician, inventor, politician and like many Philadelphians, he was a lover of beer. The list of his creations and accomplishments is staggering. To honor his inventiveness, the Franklin Institute and Fels Planetarium opened to the public in 1934, making it one of the first hands-on science museums in the United States. The IMAX Theater and the Mandell Center were added in 1990.
A larger-than-life, 20-foot high marble statue of Ben Franklin welcomes guests into the grand doom ceilinged lobby. The memorial was designed after the Pantheon in Rome. The floors, walls, and columns are all made of imported marble.
Inside the Museum
The sprawling museum showcases many of Franklin’s own inventions along with countless technological and scientific advances through history with interactive exhibits that are often as interesting and educational for adults as they are for children. Visitors can explore the engine room of a real 19th-century locomotive, walk through a massive replica of the human heart, and take part in the vast expanse of the cosmos in the “Space Command” exhibit. The Institute hosts the world’s best traveling science exhibits in addition to ever-expanding permanent displays.
The planetarium show is included with the price of admission. The large aluminum theatre shows astronomical projections that make you feel like you’re floating through space. One of the best surround-style IMAX theaters in the country as well as a 3-D theater, the Franklin Theater, rounds out the museum’s diverse offerings, and admission can be added to a museum ticket or can be visited individually and purchased for a separate fee. The Franklin Institute is a must-see on the tourist circuit, but it is also a place that locals return to again and again, be it for a class trip, with their children, or even as a unique date.
Nearby on the Parkway
The Benjamin Franklin Parkway is also known as the Museum District. The broad, diagonal street connects City Hall with the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Lined with flowers, sculptures, and flags from around the world, its design was inspired by Paris's Champs-Elysées. It is about a mile long and offers many classic photo ops along the way. Taking a walking tour of the Parkway is a great way to spend a day. After visiting the Franklin Institute, you can have your pick of other stops along the way.