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“Amusement Park for Kids”

The Franklin Institute
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Philadelphia CityPASS
Ranked #16 of 437 things to do in Philadelphia
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Founded in honor of America’s first scientist, Benjamin Franklin, The Franklin Institute is one of America’s oldest and premier centers of science education. The museum is known for blockbuster exhibits, a bevy of interactive ongoing exhibitions, and one-of-a-kind theatrical experiences. Today, the Institute continues its dedication to public education and creating a passion for science by offering new and exciting access to science and technology in ways that would dazzle and delight its namesake.
Useful Information: Activities for young children
New York
Level Contributor
20 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Amusement Park for Kids”
Reviewed February 22, 2012

Visited Philadelphia using CityPass over President's Day weekend, which in retrospect was a big mistake considering the crowds, but in any case...

My GF and I are both avid Science Channel watchers and enjoy museums, and hence expected FI to be the highlight of our trip. The moment we walked in however, we were inundated with the sights and sounds (or rather, visual overload and din) of what seemed like must be at least a thousand kids rampaging through the facilities. It was like the scene when Arnold first walked into the classroom in "Kindergarten Cop", but multiplied a hundred fold. Not a hyperbole either.

Thank goodness we had CityPass and was able to bypass the communistic/Great Depression era soup kitchen-ish line. Alas, that turned out to be the best part of our visit.

If you are an adult hoping to enjoy the museum on days like this, forget it. There were massive lines everywhere, and yet there's no point waiting in any lines because rude kids will just squeeze/shove right in front of you anyway...what are you supposed to do, yell at/explain the societal principles of queuing to kids?

Unlike more adult-oriented science exhibits in other museums (e.g. Fernbank in Atlanta), the exhibits here are little more than a large assembly of over-sized, hands-on toys, with little to no emphasis any of the underlying scientific principles. Want to learn about Bernoulli Effect? Here strap on a couple of wings and stand in front of a giant fan. Want to learn about mechanical advantage? Here are some weights for you to pull. Want to know about pulleys and gears? Here are some crappy broken gears for you to assemble and hope they lead to something interesting. You get the point. The focus here seems not as much "how can we educate the public about the fundamentals of science", but rather "which fundamental scientific principles can we use as an excuse to make rather lame oversized toys out of in our gigantic amusement park for kids". Wow that really came out sounding waay harsher than I meant to...it's true though.

Oh and 10% of the stuff are broken anyways.

I'm sure it's great for kids. If you're an adult (sans children) though, avoid.

Visited February 2012
1 Thank prufrock1974
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Lawrence, New York
Level Contributor
12 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Fun and Eductional”
Reviewed February 22, 2012

In General we love Philadelphia, and the Franklin Institute is one of the best.
We have been there twice and my kids love it, and i love that they are learning something.
the hands on exhibits are great and they change them around so there are always new ones.
The science demonstrations really blow up before your eyes, my son got to volunteer and loved being on stage. we got great pictures and had an amazing time.

Visited August 2011
Thank shlomo k
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
collegeville, pa
Level Contributor
58 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
“Great place to take the kids!”
Reviewed February 21, 2012

There's a nice variety of exhibits so you can take a gang of kids from the very the very young to the older teens!

Thank lynnandjohn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
East Berlin, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Great to visit once, not sure worth another trip.”
Reviewed February 20, 2012

Our first visit was on Saturday, Feb. 19, 2012. The main museum was quite full. Plenty of hands on displays to keep both of our boys happy. But the Giant Mysterious Dinosaurs exhibit was a disappointment. For the extra charge we felt the exhibit was small and lacked the punch our 7year old was looking for.

Thank loriadev
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York
Level Contributor
11 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Heed warnings about long ticket lines!”
Reviewed February 20, 2012

My family and I completed our first visit and it was a great place for kids. Luckily, I had read about the long lines on busy weekends and/or holidays and we arrived right when it opened. We were able to enjoy the museum and all the wonderful exhibits. We left around lunchtime and were shocked at the enormous line to purchase tickets. The wait must have been at least an hour.

Visited February 2012
Thank sd9999
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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