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“Grandkids loved it - again”

The Franklin Institute
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$55.00*
and up
Philadelphia CityPASS
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$31.99*
and up
Philadelphia Hop-On Hop-Off City Tour
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$56.00*
and up
Hop-on Hop-off and Philly By Night Tour Combo
Ranked #17 of 445 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
West Chester, Pennsylvania, United States
Level 6 Contributor
315 reviews
135 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 102 helpful votes
“Grandkids loved it - again”
Reviewed August 20, 2013

The Institute is always a great visit for the kids - even though they are now 13 - 14 years old -- the interactive exhibits and education opportunities are always good. Some of the exhibits needed repairs and some where not working at all. I think the whole place needs a "polishing".
The train doesn't run? The planetarium movies are old. The space area was horrible, very little worked. Same demo's as last year.
Many activities are not included in the cost. The spy exhibit cost was high fro my perspective.
All that said it is still a good place for kids to learn and appreciate our history and discovery.

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
Thank Jeff T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Level 5 Contributor
83 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
“A great place for family time”
Reviewed August 18, 2013

We visited here with our daughter and had a great time. The space area is a lit of fun as is the engineering section. But, by far, the highlight is the Sky Bike. (It's $3 to ride). The only downside is the parking. The lot is a pain to get in and out of of and paying at the kiosk is harder than it should be. Leaving that aside, it is a great way to spend a day with the family.

Visited August 2013
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Thank Ferocity
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cherry Hill, New Jersey
Level 4 Contributor
38 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“Not bad. Not great.”
Reviewed August 18, 2013 via mobile

We went as a family of four as part of the City Pass. It was somewhat dated and not all that clean. Many of the hands on exhibits did not work properly. To be fair it was educational and it seemed to keep the kids entertained for a bit. I would not pay full price and unless they do some major updating it will probably be my last time there. I will spend some money on gas and drive to D.C. For much better and free museums.

Visited August 2013
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Thank familyfun5280
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cape May,NJ
Level 6 Contributor
274 reviews
129 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 225 helpful votes
“Great for the kids”
Reviewed August 18, 2013

It's been over a year since we've gone and although the kids enjoyed it, the exhibits need to be refreshed every once in a while. The train doesn't work anymore, which was a disappointment to my 3 & 5 yr olds. My 12 yr old and I did the Spy exhibit and it was very interesting and worth the time. Parking remains a major issue as any street parking is only 3 hrs. max allowed, which means you have to watch your time and run out to feed the meter or kiosk. You'd think that the city of Philadelphia would accommodate the museum visitors with a longer max time. Philly isn't visitor friendly and hasn't been for ages and that's a unfortunate fact.

Visited August 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Joppa
Level 6 Contributor
89 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 253 helpful votes
“Geared Toward Kids - Some Exhibits a Bit Dated/Tired”
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.

Visited August 2013
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Thank lsb040
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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