Franklin Institute Science Museum
271 North 21st Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 448-1200 • Youth Groups 1 (800) 285-0684
Adult Groups 1 (888) 600-5888

This 300,000 square foot Museum is an outstanding resource for visitors who want to see historical and scientific artifacts, use great interactive devices to explore basic science principles, and learn about ever-changing technology that will affect our lives.

The Museum features six major components. The Mandell Center introduces technological wonders through a number of fascinating, hands-on exhibits. FutureComputers, for instance, shows how a microchip is made, features a "smart car" and "smart house", and visitors can play Tic Tac Toe with a computer that understands strategy or with a robotic arm to test the dexterity and limitations of robots. FutureSpace has a 37-foot model of a space station complete with weightlessness, an astronaut's food service bay, 3-second transmission delays, and even an exhibit on space-age toiletry!

FutureEarth includes a 12-foot globe that depicts the effects of acid rain and the greenhouse effect. A simulated stream can be tested for water quality, and a realistic rain forest with real and artificial plants vividly demonstrates this important ecosystem. FutureMaterials highlights new ceramics, polymers and other materials. Visitors levitate a magnet over a piece of superconducting material, and more. FutureVision, FutureEnergy, FutureHealth and Future & You are other equally great exhibits to thrill and educate people of all ages. The Future Careers Center features an interactive video that offers training requirements for the 21st century. And the Greenfield Cutting Edge Gallery displays new or near-future products.

Unisystem, another Mandell Center feature, is an elaborate network of 42 PCs and 6 minicomputers. Using a touch-screen, visitors can customize their Self-Guided Tours by accessing exhibit-specific information and even printing material to take home or back to the classroom for further study. It's quite amazing. The entire Mandell Center is set within a 38,000 square foot garden.

And we've only just begun. Whew!

After visiting the future, visitors will have many questions and opinions. People have a responsibility to dictate how science and technology will effect all of us. And they can debate the issues in the Musser Choices Forum. This 150 seat theater, with 36 video screens, delivers interactive theater presentations that bring many important questions to the floor. Each seat is equipped with a computer keypad allowing visitors to participate in the debates.

The 350-seat Tuttleman Omniverse Theater features the nation's largest movie screen and a 56-speaker, 6-track stereo system. The audience is virtually surrounded by sight and sound as a 30-minute story unfolds about the Grand Canyon, flying, or some other exciting topic. Omnimax technology puts visitors right there!

The Science Center features outstanding exhibits on a variety of great topics. All exhibits invite participation -- a tradition pioneered by the Franklin Institute. Bioscience features a Walk-Through Heart and the tools of the medical and biological sciences. Railroad Hall is a Victorian railway station complete with a 350-ton Baldwin locomotive. A 40-foot long G-gauge train can be operated, its course viewed through a video camera mounted on the engine. Communications demonstrates papermaking in a miniaturized papermaking machine. Visitors can learn the basics of video technology, TV's special effects, and more. The Changing Earth features a stream table that demonstrates erosion and geographical features, as well as an earth puzzle, and a working weather station complete with a meteorologist to show how weather is predicted.

Visitors can climb into the cockpit of an Air Force jet trainer, fly a model in a simulator, experiment with the natural laws that govern flight, and do much more in the Aviation exhibit. Other great interactive exhibits cover Electricity and Electronics, Mechanics, Math, and Astronomy.

Features at the Franklin Institute just go on and on. The Fels Planetarium uses the state-of-the-art projection system, Digistar, to show the heavens to 340 people per show. A special show is available for children, and Laser Shows can be enjoyed here, too.

The Benjamin Franklin National Memorial celebrates Philadelphia's most famous citizen through a variety of changing exhibits showing Franklin artifacts. At the center of Franklin Hall is a beautiful marble portrait of the man.

Family members can participate in a variety of classes, seminars, workshops and other activities throughout the year. Topics range from Kitchen Science to Starclouds and Supernovas. Something exciting is available for every age and interest.

For School Groups, The Museum offers a wide range of topic-specific interactive programs for all grade levels. Teachers can call the Museum with students' needs. Without doubt, programs to enhance any curricula will be found here. In addition, special School Programs and exhibits (for all) are offered throughout the year. These programs change every three to five months each or so. Past programs have adressed themes such as Motion, Technology, and Inventions. Programs are adaptable to any grade level and focus on specific Museum exhibits to deliver students interactive lessons that are both fun and enlightening.

School Programs are also available in the Tuttleman Omniverse Theater and Fels Planetarium. Students can also enjoy an overnight Camp-In, and groups that cannot make it to the Museum can use Traveling Science Shows and Classroom Kits in their own classrooms. A wide variety of Teacher Services are also available, including Workshops and other activities.

Minimum group size is 10 (for student or adult groups).

Hours: Open daily, 9:30am - 5:00pm. Hours for the Tuttleman Theater and Franklin Theater vary. Call or visit the official website, linked above, for further details. Closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Franklin Awards Day in April (call for which day).
General Admission:
Adults $16.50
Military with ID $15.50
Children (3-11) $14.00
Members FREE
Additional fees apply for special presentations, movies and exhibits. Visit the official website linked above or call for details. Fees subject to change. Call to confirm.
Groups (15 or more people):
Youth Groups:
Begins at $8.50/person
Adults groups:
Begins at $11.50/person
Additional fees apply for special presentations, movies and exhibits.
Group Reservations: At least 2 weeks in advance.
Lunch: 2 restaurants, brown bag room & picnic tables available.
Handicapped Access: Accessible. Wheelchairs available, please call.
Directions: Located at Benjamin Franklin Pkwy. & 20th St.

Copyright © 1996-2014 by Patrick Tadeushuk. All Rights Reserved.