222 North 20th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
At the top of Logan Square sits the Franklin Institute. Although I am a little too young to full get everything that is going on in there it is one of my favorite hipster hangouts and I am officially a member.
There really is a lot to do here and I could go on forever so I am going to call out the not to be missed exhibits for the under 5 crowd.
For the small kid crowd you want to check out Kid Science on the 1st floor. Here you will find plenty of cool stuff to start your day from controlling a water wheel to jumping on a pirate ship or check out the view from the lighthouse.
A Little bit more involved but you can jump on a computer and design your own space suite which I highly recommend.
Amazing is the first word I can think of. I mean a portion of the wall in this room was removed to get this old and giant steam train engine in the museum. The cool thing is you can hop in and work all the dials and even take a little ride. When the whistle blows you can go seven feet forward and seven feet back.
Jump in a real fighter jet, attempt to fly a play with the Wright brother via computer, and feel the rush of the wind tunnel while trying to flap your foam winds. When you leave this section you will have the wind blown look down.
Word to the wise…It is cool to climb inside the giant heart but it is a longer, steeper, narrower trip than most kids expect. And look out for the older kids rushing by that treat it like a jungle gym. You will see a lot relieved looks at the exit of the heart.
Most people never make it to this room which is a shame. I actually think this is where you should start. You don’t have to love sports to like this room. Wheter you want to hit the batting cage, jump in an Indy race car for hang 10 on the moving surfboard there is plenty for everyone to do.
We are members of the Franklin because even through Henry is a little young to take advantage of everything there is plenty for him to do. The sections he does not understand are still fun for him to run around in. Our Franklin visits ususall produce a quite ride home because he is passed out. This place is perfect for a family that has kids of all different ages because for once you can literally satisfy everyone. For an additional cost there is flight simulators, a planaterium, an IMAX theater (which is still too much for me) and the Sky Bike. The Sky Bike (ages 11+) is where you ride a bike across a thin rope over the main Atrium.
TIP: In front of the Franklin Institute (20th Street) You will see giant steps. If you look to the right of those giant steps you will see an entrance for groups and strollers. Even if you are not in a group or don’t have a stroller use this entrance. This is a much less crowded alternative to checking in at the main Atrium. Trust me.
Random: There are two hawks that have a giant nest on the side of the building. They come back every year and lay eggs. They even have a web cam and a facebook page.
Kids 4-11: $12.00
Under 4 you are free!
Basic Family membership is $99 / year.
TIP: I grabbed my membership from a Living Social deal (link) and paid half of that.
9:30 am to 5:00 pm
Please check the website for the times of the IMAX, Planaterium and special exhibits.
Overcrowded: The Franklin is extreamly popular with school trips. This is all too evident with the constant stream of bright yellow buses that keep pulling up outside during the school year. That said I have only left once due to the crowd.
Elevators: are busy and a little slow because of all the activity.
Stroller Entrance: The stroller entrance is on the front right of the Franklin. The hard part is getting through the double doors with the stroller because they are not automatic. This may not seem like a big deal but I am always struggling with the doors everywhere I go.
I just heard a little kid behind me say ”this is the stupidest pizza I have ever seen because it is so small.” From the mouths of babes. Over all I think the Franklin Foodworks is a really nice cafeteria with some good options. However I am always a fan of taking lunch outside when it is nice out. Right outside the Franklin you have an amazing park and then Logan circle which has the best fountain in the city. You could grab a hot dog at the cart with the jacked up prices right outside the museum but I would skip that and cross the street to Honest Tom’s Taco Cart.
If you want to pay an arm and a leg to parking in the parking lot (entrance on 21st Street) please make sure that you stop by the information desk on the way out to get your parking validated so you can get a slight discount. Click Here for parking rates.
If you want to take advantage of all the street parking around the Franklin here is how you do it. There are open meters all around the Franklin. In the front and across the street on 20th street, in the back on 21st Street and along the one side