The Franklin Institute – Fun for Kids in Philadelphia
Where can you and your kids learn about the brain with interactive brain teasers, climb a rock wall, ride a sky bike and see a planetarium show? For all this and more, check out The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia! Keep reading to see why we think it’s a great thing to do in Philadelphia with kids.
The Franklin Institute is located in Center City Philadelphia at the corner of 20th St. and Benjamin Franklin Parkway close to downtown and family-friendly hotels like The Inn at Penn, A Hilton Hotel. It is one of the oldest science museums in the country and is named after famous Philadelphia scientist Benjamin Franklin. It is difficult to see the entire museum in one day but here are some of our highlights.
One of the newest permanent exhibits is Your Brain, which explores how the brain works. You can see replicas of the brain and neurons at work, climb through a replica of the brain network, and walk down a city sidewalk full of brain teasers.
The Giant Heart
Walking through the iconic Giant Heart is something that everyone who visits The Franklin Institute needs to do! Older kids will learn about the heart and how to keep it healthy and younger kids will have fun walking through the heart tunnel.
One activity that our weather-loving kids loved was in the exhibit Changing Earth. They pretended to be meteorologists and reported the weather on-screen and then watched their performance afterwards. This exhibit also had information on volcanoes and earthquakes.
Sports Challenge is an entirely interactive area focusing on the science of sports. One aerodynamic activity is throwing different size baseballs and measuring the speed of the throw to see which ball travels the fastest. The kids also tried out golf swings, surfing and rock climbing. This exhibit is the perfect spot to let the kids play and learn.
KidScience is a specially designed area for preschoolers and kids up through age 8. In a playful and interactive environment, younger kids can learn about the elements including water, light, earth and air. Older kids may enter if they are with a younger sibling.
The Sky Bike is a high wire bicycle situated 28 feet above the lobby floor. It opened in 2000 as only the second one in the country. You can pedal the two wheel bike for 60 feet on a one-inch thick wire. There is a 250-pound weight below the bike that keeps it from toppling over, but I have to admit I was nervous watching my son do this! There is a $3 charge for the Sky Bike.
The 60-foot dome in the planetarium on the bottom floor of The Franklin Institute allows you to sit back, relax and see the entire night sky. Shows are constantly running during the day and include The Sky Tonight, To Space and Back, and Wildest Weather in the Solar System. Check the schedule when you enter the museum to choose the show you would like to see. There is no extra charge for these shows.
There is so much to do at The Franklin Institute, and you will need to make choices depending on the length of your visit and ages of your kids. If you go I hope you will agree that it is a great thing to do in Philadelphia with kids!
You may also enjoy:
- Top 10 Things to do in Philadelphia with Kids Off the Beaten Path
- Best Restaurants in Philadelphia for Kids
- Two-Day Itinerary for Family Fun in Philadelphia
- Philadelphia with Kids – Attractions for The Younger Ones
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Susan is an enthusiastic traveler and mom to a 11 year-old boy and eight year-old girl. Originally from North Carolina, Susan is a Southerner at heart, although…