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“A Bit Worn, Needs an Update!”

The Franklin Institute
Ranked #35 of 470 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
Reviewed June 18, 2013

Got a great Groupon deal that included the Spy exhibit. Basically got two admissions free. I enjoyed the spy exhibit, though it was a bit over my kids(8 & 10) heads.The rest of the museum is worn and outdated.I was here about 4 years ago and all the exhibits are a bit "beat up." My kids did enjoy the day as they love hands on activities. Just seems the place needs an infusion of donations to fix it up.

Thank tazmrm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,976 - 1,980 of 2,695 reviews

Reviewed June 17, 2013

Well layed out and a lot of space to hold all of the people who were there. Give yourself plenty of time if you have kids becuase they will not want to leave. Bring hand sanitzer and wipes.

1  Thank Ira F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 15, 2013

While visiting Philadelphia with my two teenage sons we couldn't decide how to spend our day because of all the great choices of stuff to do. After reading dozens of reviews on Trip Advisor, we decided on The Franklin Institute. It's not very often I completely disagree with the reviews here but I am shocked by how many good reviews there are. I was torn between giving this place a one star or two, because it is probably worth two stars IF you have young children under 12, are prepared to spend a fair amount of money, and have never been to a great kids Science Museum like the Exploatorium in San Francisco, but if any of those things don't apply to you I would give this place a miss. The idea of this place is good but it seemed to fall short at every exhibit. We visited on a Saturday in June and it wasn't really that crowded. We were 2 adults, 2 teens, and 1 senior. When we arrived we decided to buy entrance to just the Institute itself and the 3d movie on penguins ( for an extra $4 each) because it SEEMED like there was a lot to do just at the main Institute without adding a special exhibition for double the price. We began on the 3rd floor at the Sports Challenge. My boys were excited to try surfing. The exhibit turned out to be ridiculously boring, certainly for older kids but even the younger ones were not enjoying the very small, slow and awkward moving surfboard that lasted a few seconds. So disappointing. There was also a chance to kick a soccer ball and throw a broken baseball. The exhibits were old, tired and boring. My kids then wanted to try the Sky Bicycle which sounded like fun but when we got to it we found out that there was an extra charge to go on it! This was the case that we found on every section of the institute that whenever there was something slightly interesting to try there was always an extra fee. The Sky Bicycle, Flight Simulator, Adventure Flight, etc all cost an extra $5 each to participate in! We were wondering what was actually covered in the admission fee! We had an awful but typical (for this type of place) lunch at the Franklin Foodworks. The only vegetarian option was a tired piece of cheese pizza. Nothing to eat for vegans or those trying to eat a healthy meal. After our sad lunch we hurried to Level Two for our 3D movie to find the theater completely empty except for the 5 of us and once the movie began I realized why. It was the old Discovery Channel show on Penguins narrated by David Attenbourough. What a waste of time. When we got out of the movie we went up to the Planetarium to see the show only to find out that at 3:45 when we arrived, there were no more shows for the day! ( the Institute closed at 5:00). So disappointing! Then we went up to the Obsevation Deck on the 4th floor only to find out it was already closed for the day! Why??? And this is why I am giving this place a single star review. There was NO SCHEDULE of any kind given out when we arrived to let us know when the Planetarium Shows played (or ended for the day!), and the Obsevation Deck is not even listed on the Map! We just happened to see it on the elevator buttons. What terrible visitor service. And we weren't sure why they closed at 5:00 when it seemed everything worth seeing closed by 4:15. There was a potentially cute exhibit in the Train Factory on the First Floor. It was a little mystery with clues where you try to find out who was responsible for a train wreck. The idea was really cute but was so confusing and executed so poorly, most kids passed it by and adults were trying hard to figure it out and wondering why there wasn't't any kind of intro to it leading into the exhibit. Disappointing AGAIN! I felt so bad dragging my kids here for the day that I paid $10 for them to go for a spin in the Flight Simulator and they both enjoyed it. If I had endless funds I would have let them go on a few times. I really wanted to like this place, it just fell short at every turn.

13  Thank healthygypsy t
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 13, 2013

I just went to the franklin institute with my children ages 4 and 5 along with my 16 year old sister in-law, mother in-law and husband. We purchased a groupon ticket and it came with an admission to the Spy/Espionage exibit. The kids had a blast and so did the adults. You definitely need at least 3 hours to enjoy all the attractions . . .so much to see and do. We arrived in the late afternoon and they close at five, so most of the class trips were leaving and the museum was winding down. The Spy exibit was more for interested youth and adults. I highly recommend this for families and groups of all ages . . .plus it's right in the heart of the city. A park is across the street if you want to relax and have a picinic while enjoying the sites!

Thank Cdub29
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed June 9, 2013

This was a nice museum to visit, while the hands on displays are geared mostly towards kids, the planetarium shows were interesting even us us adults! It was worth the admission and we will visit here again.

Thank mrwamw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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