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Family Vacations: Franklin Institute of Science


Children enjoy walking through the museum's giant human heart display, which was built in 1953.
Children enjoy walking through the museum's giant human heart display, which was built in 1953.
Photo Courtesy The Franklin Institute, Philadelphia, PA

This Philadelphia museum's star attraction is a two-story human heart. Big enough to place inside the Statue of Liberty, the heart has been the centerpiece of this museum for the past 50 years. Visitors walk through it, following the same route that blood would take, passing through chambers and veins to the ever-present sound of the beating organ. An eight-foot-long Crawl Through Arteries feature allows children to pretend they are blood cells navigating through clear and clogged arteries. All kinds of educational information about the heart lines the walls of the walkway and nearby exhibition space.

The museum's most popular interactive exhibits geared for children include Sports Challenge, where kids can throw a variety of balls -- baseballs, volleyballs, water polo balls -- down a 60-foot cage to test their speed in relationship to their size, shape, and weight. Life-size photos and footprints of different athletes decorate the exhibit, and kids adore comparing themselves with sports greats such as Shaquille O'Neal.

Another favorite is Chain Reaction, where kids set up hundreds of dominoes to topple. A section of the museum designated for younger children introduces kids to beginner science principles.

Franklin Institute of Science Information

Address: 222 N. 20th St., Philadelphia, PA

Telephone: 215/448.1200 800/285.0684

Hours of Operation: 9:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., daily

Admission: $13.75 adults; $11 kids

To learn more about family vacation destinations, see:

  • Family Vacations: Learn about hundreds of family vacations in destinations all over North America.
  • Philadelphia City Guide: Find out where to stay, what to do, and where to eat when you visit the City of Brotherly Love.
  • Pennsylvania State Guide: Learn about Mobil Travel Guide-rated hotels and restaurants in Pennsylvania, as well as other recreational activities.
  • Scenic Drives: For those who think that getting there is half the fun, we have compiled more than 100 of the most scenic drives throughout the country.
  • New York City Guide: Find out where to stay, what to do, and where to eat when you visit the Capital of the World.
  • New York State Guide: Learn about Mobil Travel Guide-rated hotels and restaurants in New York, as well as other recreational activities.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Laura Sutherland is a widely acknowledged authority on family travel and has published several books on the topic, including Best Family Ski Vacations In North America and Tropical Family Vacations.