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“Geared Toward Kids - Some Exhibits a Bit Dated/Tired”

The Franklin Institute
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$49.00*
and up
The Philadelphia Pass
Ranked #35 of 488 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. Discover something new at The Franklin Institute, where kids and parents can explore the fun side of science through twelve cutting-edge, hands-on exhibitions. Every day The Franklin Institute provides resources that help people to connect with science and technology in creative ways that resonate with learners of all ages and backgrounds.
Useful Information: Activities for young children
Reviewed August 17, 2013

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.

Thank lsb040
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,048 - 2,052 of 2,819 reviews

Reviewed August 16, 2013

Went with my wife, daughters and 12 yr old grandson. My one daughter and her son stopped and read all of the detailed information on the exhibits, and wanted and enjoyed doing ALL of the hands on exhibits. We went late on a weekday night and it was not too crowded. Even not doing any of the theaters, 3.5 - 4 hrs was still not enough time to see everything at the pace that they were going. We did run into a few young kids running around, and getting in front of folks, but it was not too bad. Overall, it was good trip, that was enjoyed by all. OF course we had to leave 20 minutes before they closed at 7 to go into the gift shop.

Thank MWazie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 12, 2013

I took my niece here and we stayed for about 5 hours. She loved going through all the rooms checking out the exhibits. We didn't even have time for the IMAX. There were plenty of places for me to sit and rest my feet while she ran around exploring. They have a sky bike that you are ride over the top of the museum, but you can't have flip flops on if you want to ride. I think the museum is meant more for kids than for a group of adults.

Thank hmk24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 12, 2013

For the kid at heart, the institute has wonderful hands-on activities and experiments. There are demonstrations There are a lot of things for people of all ages especially the giant heart, the sports exhibit, and the rotating exhibits.

The two drawbacks are the hordes of kids who hog many of the most interesting exhibits or interrupt you while you're having fun and the high cost of food.

The gift shop, while expensive, had great souvenirs.

Thank TeresaF1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 12, 2013

I have to admit my disappointment with the Franklin Institute. It does unfortunately look like a bunch of kids running around bored to tears. Walking through the heart could be much better taught with any laptop.

Thank MBA1956
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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