We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.

“Crazy, busy, visual feast” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of The Franklin Institute

The Franklin Institute
Book In Advance
More Info
and up
Philadelphia CityPASS
Ranked #17 of 433 things to do in Philadelphia
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
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
Bristow, Virginia
Level Contributor
187 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
“Crazy, busy, visual feast”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 June 2014

My family and I went to the opening of the new exhibit, The Brain, on Saturday the 14th. The crowds were already lining up around the block when we got there at 9am. We were among the first 500 people admitted for free to the museum.

As I am sure is the case every weekend, the place became overwhelmed fairly quickly with a lot of families. It was a fun place for the children, but a bit crazy trying to keep track of everyone. The new brain exhibit was fantastic, although the museum could probably have learned (and applied) lessons from its current displays to design a more user-friendly space.

Many of the exhibits were crowded, with narrow corridors, which caused a big back-up. Perhaps the most interesting parts of the brain exhibit were nearly impossible to get through. There's a dark room where kids can climb through a "neural network." It's a fascinating part of the exhibit, but the room is badly lit and extremely crowded, which means it ends up feeling like a disco in a closet with parents shouting their children's names as the kids clamber around above their heads.

This museum is well worth a visit, but just be prepared for the crush of people.

Visited June 2014
2 Thank Phlyjets
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a Review

2,177 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Korean first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Turkish first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
30 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Be prepared to drag the kids out....”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 June 2014

There are few places that I have taken my children that I have to be prepared to stay until closing or drag my kids out, but The Franklin Institute is one. My children have enjoyed this museum for many years, and you would think that after a few visits they would be 'bored', but each time we visit there are new exciting exhibits. I'm fairly certain I could drop my kids off at the front door and leave then pick them up at closing and no one would be the wiser! I highly recommend to a visit to the Franklin for any family with young or tween aged children.

Visited April 2014
1 Thank Hguiseppe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
43 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Just OK”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 June 2014

We moved near Phili and have been to this museum twice. Once to see the museum, which was small and unexciting, and a second time to see a traveling exhibit, which was interesting but also small and not worth the total admission fee. If you are visiting Phili, this is one museum that I would skip.

Visited September 2013
Thank Karen K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Berwick, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
27 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Ben would not like this!”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 June 2014

Half of the displays were not working. There were numerous chaperones watching their charges run and SCREAM throughout the entire place. They were not screams of excitement. The chaperones were blocking the hallways just talking and not having any control over their groups. The cashier in the gift store could not give the correct changeeven with the computers! (It was just easier to be overcharged by $1.50 then to try to educate them about the correct amount. If they overcharged everyone, they made a great profit!)

Visited June 2014
Thank Elwood B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Plano, Texas
Level Contributor
113 reviews
48 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
“History abounds!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 June 2014

As a member of an ASTC museum, I have been to my share of science centers. This one must be the oldest. My children had fun, but they preferred other science centers that are more up to date. That being said, I enjoyed the timelessness of the facility. I loved looking at the ornate elevator doors and sconces. The statue of Ben Franklin is also a cool photo opt.

Be warned, we visited on a weekday during the first week of June and it was ridiculously crowded with school groups.

I liked the FI for it's central location and historic exhibits and architecture, but I think one visit was enough for my children. They had more fun at the Please Touch Museum.

Visited June 2014
Thank Tiersa M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers who viewed The Franklin Institute also viewed


Been to The Franklin Institute? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing