We'd been wanting to see the Franklin Institute for years and finally satisfied our interest with a trip to Philadelphia. I'm not sure what we expected, but a large portion of the museum is geared totally toward kids. One of the exhibits I'd most looked forward to - the heart - was rather sad and was nothing more than an enclosed series of steps and hallways with the sound of a heartbeat. I venture to say that some of the exhibits were once current or even state-of-the-art, but are no longer of much interest.
There were a few areas that were quite interesting for all ages, like the one on electricitiy - and the science of the earth and atmosphere. Unfortunately, throughout our time, we encountered groups of kids who were allowed to cut ahead of those waiting and then monopolized many of the demonstrations. The institute is intended to be hands on and enjoyed by all, but it might be nice if they had staff positioned at various stations to prevent the few from remaining at stations for inordinate amounts of time. On the other hand, it was enjoyable to see the interest some young teenagers had in some of the non-glitzy displays.
The exhibit we enjoyed the most was the National Geographic 50 Greatest Photographs. The large photographs included a narrative, often by the photographer, that told the background of the photograph and often provided the details of what went into capturing the image. In contrast to the mayhem elsewhere in other exhibits, this area was an oasis of serenity. :)
Another enjoyably memorable moment was the collective effort by people of all ages in the Electricity area as they jumped up and down on the designated spaces to attempt to generate enough energy to get the exhibit to produce thunder and lightening.
Overall, we spent less than 1.5 hours in the Institute, where we'd expected to spend many hours. That is no doubt our fault for failing to adequately research and realize the intended audience is children, not 2 childless adults (who are unaccustomed to being around large numbers of kids and found it a bit overwhelming). I think this would be an excellent attraction for a family with children, especially on an inclement day or in the summer heat or the cold of winter. Many of the displays were geared toward children and most likely did what it was intended - engage and interest kids about science on their level in the way that makes it exciting. There were multiple additional events that could be enjoyed for an added fee, such as the Imax movies and the currently running Spy Exhibit.
We satisified our curiosity and enjoyed our visit, but just didn't find as much of interest as we'd expected.
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