Mirror Maze and Fountain Frolics

The youngest two Pictlings returned from their trip to Maine with their grandparents.  Then it was time for the oldest two to head off on their vacation with their grandparents.  They are visiting New Orleans and taking a cruise around the coasts of Mexico, Belize and Honduras.  Lucky ducks.  Mr Pict and I are, therefore, experiencing having only two children at home again.

We took a weekend trip into Philly to visit the Franklin Institute.  The older boys have become a bit lukewarm when it comes to return visits to the Franklin Institute so it made sense to grab the opportunity to just take the other two.  I have never seen the building so empty and quiet.  It was an absolute pleasure to wander around without the noise and the crowds, without having to wait for a turn on some piece of equipment.


There is a special exhibition on at the moment that is all about numbers and patterns in nature.  The boys loved all of the interactive elements.  They were able to identify the same spirals, tessellations, and ratios in different photographic images, play with computer generated images of branching and the geometry in mountain ranges.  There was a metal casting of an ant nest that was beautiful and fascinating and a section of a beehive.  It was my kind of mathematics.



The centrepiece of the exhibition was a mirror maze.  It was constructed from floor to ceiling mirror panels and LED light strips in the floor creating triangular shapes in the floor.  It was so much fun to wander around in it.  The maze had been cleverly crafted so that the different angles of the mirrors created optical illusions.  At one point, my youngest son was split in half on different sides of the corridor.  It was genuinely tricky to find our way around the maze too.  We hit many dead ends.  The dead ends, however, were also fun.  Pressure pads in the floor made screens appear in the mirror panels that informed us about patterns and repetitions in nature.  We went around the maze several times because it didn’t get boring at all.





We then watched an IMAX movie about extreme weather.  The documentary was great and the IMAX screen made the photography even more immersive.  We could actually feel dwarfed by the glacier that was breaking into the sea and could feel the threat of the impending tornado.  After that, we asked the boys to select a few areas of the Franklin Institute that they were keen to visit on this trip.  The advantage of being members is that we don’t feel the pressure to do the whole museum from top to toe each time and can instead cherry pick.  We, therefore, visited the space section where they got to try on virtual reality headsets and touch another fragment of the meteor that came from Meteor Crater.  We also visited the Heart section where they enjoyed climbing around in the chambers of the heart and listen to the heartbeats of different creatures.  They also had fun in the electricity section, creating circuits by connecting hands and getting electrical shocks from a key.


After the Franklin Institute we headed across the street to Logan Circle.  While I have walked and driven past it many times, this was our first visit to Logan Circle – also called Logan Square, confusingly enough.  It is basically a small park in the middle of a roundabout (traffic circle).  We read on a placard in the park that this was the site of the Great Sanitary Fair.  This was an 1864 event to raise funds for medicines for the Union troops.  Abraham Lincoln contributed by donating signed copies of the Emancipation Proclamation.  Apparently the public address he gave that day was the only one he delivered in Philadelphia.  At the centre of the circle is an impressive fountain, the Swann Memorial Fountain.  The Fountain was designed by Alexander Calder – the Philadelphia sculptor whose father designed City Hall and who was the father of Alexander Calder of the kinesthetic sculptures.  It features three massive figures each representing the rivers of the city – the Schuylkill, Wissahickon, and Delaware – and turtles, frogs, fish, and swans.  There are geysers spouting high up into the air.  It’s a pretty cool fountain.


Of course, the kids didn’t give a stuff about all that history.  They were just interested in the water.  There were lots of people playing in the fountain, both wading and swimming, and my boys were keen to join in.  We were not sure if frolicking in the water was permitted.  There was no sign prohibiting entering the water, as is often the case with off-limits fountains, so we decided to let them get in.  It turns out that there was a brief ban on entering the fountain but it is now allowed so we were OK.  The boys loved wading around in the water and wandered all over the place.  I decided to join them, though I avoided getting as wet as they did.  They loved the spouting turtle and frog figures and had an absolute blast playing, splashing, and giggling.  Now I am keen to visit more of Philly’s fountains and public art.








Robots and British Nosh

Having used the Franklin Institute as an indoor playground for a couple of years, last year we took a break from our membership so that we could return with renewed enthusiasm.  In retrospect, President’s Day was not the smartest choice for becoming members again and reintroducing the kids to the joys of science museums.  The place was absolutely jam-packed and every gallery and area was heaving with people. I do not do well in crowds at all – it’s like an instant recipe for stress and anxiety – but I also feel harassed by the behaviour of other people when places are so busy.  For example, there were way too many children pushing and shoving there way into taking turns with interactive exhibits.  My kids have a tendency to hang back and are too polite to challenge others who queue jump but they still get irked and frazzled by the rudeness of others and, of course, we then get the pleasure of dealing with our annoyed kids.  While the parents of the pushy-shovey kids seemed to be nowhere in the vicinity whenever their kids were misbehaving, conversely there were other parents who were attached like limpets to their kids which also made it nigh impossible to manoeuvre in some areas.  Imagine experiencing epic levels of irritation while trying to cheerfully engage children in science even though you are completely an Arts and Humanities person.  That was the experience I had in the Franklin Institute on Monday.







While we stopped by our favourite sections and did what activities we could, we also visited a special exhibition called Robot Revolution.  It was, strangely enough, all about how modern robotic engineering is being applied to different aspects of life.  For instance, there was a large surgical apparatus and the woman standing next to me explained that her father had actually been operated on recently by just such a machine.  There were also robotic prosthetic limbs and robots designed to assess dangers in conflict zones.  There were, however, also robots playing soccer and one that could unicycle.  A big hit with my youngest son was a robotic seal pup, designed to provide therapeutic comfort to people who can’t interact with real animals.  They also enjoyed an area where they got to clip together various cubes, each of which served a different function, in order to construct their own robots.






We did not stay at the Franklin Institute for an extended period simply because the crowds were unbearable.  It was good to be back after our year long break, however, and we were reminded about all it has to offer.  We look forward to more trips there this coming year but hopefully with much smaller numbers of people crammed into the space.

We decided to treat ourselves to a little luxury by dining out in the city.  Mr Pict selected The Dandelion, which he has eaten in several times with colleagues.  We were actually supposed to go there for my birthday celebration but there was a stuff up with the booking so it did not happen.  I think, therefore, that it was my Unbirthday dinner.  The Dandelion serves British cuisine.  For many decades, people scoffed at the idea of British cuisine, regarding it was an oxymoron, but British food can actually be really very good.  The restaurant is housed in what looked to have been a residential building and was decorated in a very eclectic way, a sort of ramshackle chic.  It reminded me of a mixture of junk shops and cafes from my childhood.  Of course, we loved the tastebud nostalgia of the whole experience too.  Our children immediately ordered glasses of Ribena – a blackcurrant squash from the UK – and I had a Pimm’s Cup.  There were several things I could have ordered but I plumped for the fish and chips as I was eager to see if they could make chips the way they do in Britain, crisp on the outside and fluffy in the middle, and I am happy to report that they were a very tasty success, as was the beer battered fish.  I usually only manage one course of food but I pushed my limits because there was Sticky Toffee Pudding on the menu.  I have not had a Sticky Toffee Pudding since we emigrated (I really ought to make it but never do) so I just could not resist the temptation.  Not only was the cake delicious and light and deliciously treacly, but it was also served with date ice cream.  Mr Pict and the Pictlings all loved every morsel of their two courses of food too.  Indeed, Mr Pict declared that the short rib was the best he had ever consumed.  The luxury of delectable food in a pleasant setting with great service went a long way to mitigate against the stress of an overcrowded museum and ensured that our President’s Day trip to Philly was a success.


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Museums as Winter Playgrounds

The weather has been pretty miserable here in recent weeks.  Snow, slush, chill winds, bitter temperatures, and dull, grey skies.  This weather has not been conducive to wandering, exploring, and playing outside.  What that means is that my kids build up into powder kegs of pent up energy which runs the risk of igniting and that means I blow a gasket and have to release my flying monkeys.  It’s not good.

The solution was to find somewhere the kids could go and burn off some energy without it costing a small fortune.  That was when we thought of the Franklin Institute.  We have a family membership there so it made complete sense.  And instead of seeing it as a place where the kids could be intellectually stimulated and learn about science, we could utilise it as an indoor playground and they could expend some of that pent up energy.


We let the kids plot the path around the museum so that they could visit each of their favourite places.  While Mr Pict and our oldest son went to the planetarium (to lie back in seats and therefore have no exercise at all), I took the younger three to the brain section.  They played for ages on the neuron climbing frame.  They invented some sort of space ship drama involving aliens and ray guns.  After a few more brain experiments, we headed to the Heart section where they pedalled to power an opera and ran around inside the giant heart.  They wanted to see the train, so we met up with the other two and the kids all ran around inside the train, treating it like another climbing frame.  More energy burn off.  Woo hoo!  Our plan to treat a museum like an indoor playground was working.



The sports science section had been closed for renovation last time we visited the Franklin Institute so we headed there to check it out plus sports ought to mean more energy burned.  The old sports section was a favourite with my kids but it was a bit tired so we were excited to see what they had done.  I must admit, I was a little disappointed.  The layout means that people are funneled in narrow corridors past the interactive exhibits and adults clog that corridor as they supervise their kids.  Not great.  Some old favourites, such as the surfboard were still there, and some of the new exhibits were great fun, but some of the exhibits were already broken.  There was a display of (I assume and hope) fake urine to demonstrate the importance of correct hydration that my oldest son found thoroughly entertaining.



The mission, however, was a complete success.  The boys found the Franklin Institute to be entertaining without us having any sort of focus to the visit (in fact, I think the 10 year old preferred the lack of direct learning) and they did burn off energy and get some exercise.  Museums can be winter playgrounds.  Maybe not the ones with Ming vases though.


Art of Lego at the Franklin Institute

Our original plan had been to let our Franklin Institute annual membership expire and then take up an annual membership to something else.  However, not only did we get a great deal on a renewal of our membership but we have found that we enjoy popping into the Franklin Institute so much that it was worth continuing our membership.  The place is basically an indoor playground for our brood which has been a particularly worthwhile investment this winter will all the cold, ice and snow.

This past weekend, we had out first non-family-member house guests.  They only just qualify as non-family since Nacho is Mr Pict’s oldest friend (in terms of longevity, not age) and is pretty much part of the family whether he likes it or not and that means his partner gets co-opted too.  Looking for something that would occupy the kids while also engaging the adults, the Franklin Institute was the obvious choice.  Plus they are hosting a travelling exhibition all about lego named The Art of the Brick.  It was a must-see for we lego fanatics.  We were not disappointed by the exhibition.

The first section of the exhibition was famous works of art reproduced using nothing but lego bricks.  Every single painting or sculpture was instantly recognisable despite the unusual medium which not only testifies to the flexibility of those little plastic blocks but also to the power of certain works of art to become iconic.  Our oldest son had wondered if there would be the entire Bayeux tapestry made out of lego, thinking back to our visit to Bayeux a few years ago, and lo and behold there was a small section of the tapestry.  There was also the Mona Lisa, a Rembrandt self-portrait in his distinctive murky, shadowy tones, the Girl with the Pearl Earring, her earring standing proud from the rest of the lego, and the Vetruvian Man, almost monochrome yet still immediately identifiable.  There were particular highlights among the many reproductions of two dimensional works.  The colours of the bricks in The Scream were spectacular and the screaming figure had been rendered as a sculpture emerging from the landscape.  My kids loved re-enacting the Scream.  The textural paint of Van Gogh’s Starry Night had been recreated through use of lots of little studs swirling across the sky.  The graphic quality of Hokusai’s Great Wave was perfect for the geometric lego blocks.  American Gothic had been turned into a sculpture.  My personal favourite, however, was the lego version of Klimt’s Kiss which had been turned into a full size three dimensional sculpture.  The lego bricks were used to create all the luscious pattern in the figure’s clothing and I was impressed by the way the curves had been sculpted out of a material so blocky.





The second section was devoted to famous sculptures.  There was the beautiful bust of Nefertiti, Michelangelo’s David, complete with pert brick butt, a Degas ballerina, the Willendorf Venus, a Chinese Imperial Archer and even a massive Moai.  I know how long it takes my kids and I to build a lego set so we were staggered by how long it must have taken the artist – Nathan Sawaya – to build these full size sculptures, especially without instructions.

The final section was a showcase for Sawaya’s original works of art.  They were amazing, not just in terms of the engineering involved but also the imagination and creativity.  Many were human figures that seemed to suggest some sort of emotional state.  There was a kneeling figure whose hands had broken down into individual bricks which represented the nightmare of the artist no longer having the use of his hands.  There was a figure swimming, half submerged.  There was one peeling off its blue brick skin to reveal a grimacing skull beneath the face.  Two plump figures walking hand in hand.  A gigantic red head.  A hunched green figure emerging from a wall.  There were massive colourful skulls, a huge dinosaur skeleton, a series of props built from lego which featured in an accompanying gallery of photographs.  Finally – as a nod to this particular locale on the exhibition’s tour – there was a liberty bell with the crack created out of brightly coloured bricks.










After the exhibition, we then had a jaunt around the rest of the museum visiting the boys’ favourite haunts, including sitting in the aeroplane cockpit, making circuits in the electricity section, several runs around the heart, a pedal on the sky bike, surfing and wall climbing in the sports section and a scramble around in the brain climbing frame.  Another great day out and very good value for money.  We definitely feel confident in our decision to renew our Franklin Institute membership.


Hearts and Other Organs on Valentine’s Day

Nothing says Valentine’s Day like actual hearts, right?  So off we went to the Franklin Institute for a family day out so that half of us could visit the special exhibition ‘Body Worlds: Animals Inside Out’.  Valentine’s Day happened to fall on an especially chilly day so using our annual membership pass for some indoor entertainment and education was perfect.


The exhibition was superb from start to finish.  The kids and I had enjoyed the animal autopsy documentary series ‘Inside Nature’s Giants’ so I knew we would find it engaging.  I went around with my 11 and 7 year olds while Mr Pict took the other two boys around other areas of the museum.  The exhibition showcases the work of the anatomist Dr Gunther von Hagens and his use of the plastination process to preserve and demonstrate the internal organs, musculature and blood systems of a variety of animals.  Being able to see all of the detail of each animal aids understanding of how evolution has worked to enable each animal to adapt to its environment and needs and – in a context that enabled and encouraged comparison and contrast – to see how similar skeletons and organs work differently in diverse species.  The boys and I pored over the detail in each specimen and read every plaque.  We also wandered back and forth to go and study something again.




My 7 year old is obsessed with horses so he was fascinated by all the horse specimens in particular.  There was a horse skull, a wafer thin slice of a horse’s head, a horse’s head split into three sections, a horses head comprising nothing but the capillaries and a young horse rearing up.  There was always the potential for my son to be disturbed by the sight of dead horses but the little scientist in him was stronger.  He was absorbed in seeing the adaptations in the legs, the size of the brain cavity, the thickness of the nose and in learning why it is that horses cannot vomit.


The handling of the specimens was fantastic in terms of bringing the educational lessons to life, for instance in showing how the muscles and skeleton combine to handle movement. One diorama depicted two reindeer in mid gallop.  I like to think that the dissected human we saw in the last gallery was not Santa.  There was also a bull posed as if ready for a charge which evocatively demonstrated the power in its muscles and the energy contained within them.  There were running ostriches, one showing the circulatory system and one showing the muscles.



There were familiar farm animals galore, from dissected sheep and goats to ducks and piglets shaped from the mass of red wiring that was their circulatory system.  There were rabbits and peeled cats – including the nervous system of one moggy – and frogs and lizards and a dog caught in mid-bark.  There were slices of fish, there were preserved octopus and squid – the latter providing us with the opportunity to see just how large its eyes were.  The more exotic land beasts, however, provided the highlights of the exhibition.  There was a camel – or rather a conflation of three camels in order to illustrate the movement of the head – which the kids found fascinating since camels are such peculiar looking beasts even from the outside.  The specimen was used to illustrate its complex digestive system involving four stomachs.  Best of all, however, was the giraffe exhibit.  One giraffe was presented in thin slices.  We could stand between its legs and look up through its semi-transparent layers.  Completely weird and compelling.  The other giraffe was dissected, its skin peeled off to show the skeleton, muscles and organs, but the specimen was shown as if mid-run.  Next to it was a preserved heart in order to show how the blood pressure of a giraffe is made possible.




It was not just the whole animals that were fascinating, however.  I loved the sculptural quality of the tangled lines that formed the circulatory system, all the blood vessels turned into crimson plastic.  The hearts of various animals were shown side by side so that the different structures and scales could be compared.  A display my cheeky 7 year old especially enjoyed was all about the reproductive organs, the male parts of a reindeer, the testicles of a bull and a fetal reindeer.  I admit that made me feel a little sad as did the baby camel on display.  Apparently all the specimens were sourced ethically from vets and zoos and no animals were killed for the purpose of the exhibit.  My boys and I certainly emerged from the exhibition with greater understanding of the wonders of biology.

We went to rejoin the other half of the Pict family who were – oddly enough – running around in the Franklin Institute’s giant heart.  In addition to the heart area and the other favourite, the brain, we went to explore two sections of the Institute we had not visited in any of our prior visits, namely the sections dedicated to electricity and to engineering.  The boys especially enjoyed creating electrical circuits with their bodies, initially just completing the circuit with their own individual bodies but gradually linking hands and forming a circular chain in order that the electricity pass through them all and make the light come on.  My highlight of the engineering section was seeing Maillardet’s Automaton.  Constructed in the 18th Century, it is a complex contraption, a figure programmed so that it draws numerous pictures and writes poems.  You can see a short video of it in action on YouTube because certainly I am incapable of describing it adequately.


We have plans to return to the Franklin Institute again in a few weeks’ time so we are certainly getting our money’s worth out of our annual membership.





Climbing around a Brain at the Franklin Institute

The first time we went to the Franklin Institute, back in March, we decided to take out an annual family membership.  We had only covered a few sections of the interactive museum on that trip so a return visit was definitely in order, even if we had not had the annual ticket.  It, therefore, made sense to take my parents there during their visit from Scotland.

The Franklin Institute recently opened a whole new area which is dedicated to the science of the brain.  It was, therefore, there that we started our visit.  The kids loved all of the interactive exhibits.  It’s a brilliant way to keep them engaged with things and to have them absorbing learning through osmosis.  It was diverting and absorbing for adults too and certainly I could have spent a lot longer in that area of the museum than I did but my pace was dictated by that of my children.  They learned about neurons and pathways, got to see brains at different ages and saw scans of brains.  There was even a docent with plasticised animal and human brains teaching the kids how to compare brains.  My 7 year old loved seeing the horse brain (which he was permitted to touch) since he is a massive fan of horses.  He was glad to learn that a horse is much “brainer” than a cow.  He also showed them how to compare a healthy brain with that of someone with Alzheimer’s which was quite arresting.  They also enjoyed sections about how the brain processes the senses with things like optical illusions and a room that induces motion sickness.  Their favourite section, however, was a dark room filled with a funky climbing frame to illustrate how neurons travel around the brain.  They loved it.  They could have stayed in that room for hours.

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We then decided to go and see an Imax show.  My children have never been to see an Imax movie before so we thought this would be a fun way of them experiencing such a large scale projection.  We opted to see a documentary about Great White Sharks since the kids and I are fascinated by sharks.  We have the Ocearch Global Shark Tracker app on my phone and like to check in and follow where the sharks are.  My 7 year old has particular favourites in April, Lydia and Katherine.  The Imax show was brilliant.  The focus was on conservation efforts and trying to educate people about sharks  – and Great Whites in particular – in order to eliminate the fear that has led to their persecution and endangerment.  It was quite breathtaking to see the sharks being projected on that scale.  I admit, however, that I had to close my eyes during some of the seascape bits as it was a bit boak-inducing.

Immediately after that, my oldest had a shot on the Skybike.  This is a bike suspended on a wire in the ceiling of the Franklin Institute.  It makes my knees turn to jelly just thinking about it but he doesn’t have vertigo and was eager to have a go.  There was too long a queue during our last visit there so this time he grabbed the opportunity to have a turn.  This was much to the consternation of his little brothers who were all massively miffed that they did not meet the height requirements.

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We then asked the boys to nominate sections of the Institute they had visited before but would like to return to and show their grandparents.  I was surprised when they elected to revisit the section dedicated to sports science.  My kids are all pretty active but none of them are sporty either in terms of playing or spectating.  Clearly the interactive nature of the exhibits won out over the subject matter.  Unfortunately the race car exhibit was out of order and some boys were hogging the area that measured the speed of a pitched baseball.  Nevertheless my kids had a blast with the wheelchair racing, climbing wall, penalty shoot out and surf board.

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A hop, skip and jump then brought us into Isaac’s Attic where they had fun with all sorts of interactive experiments involving gravity, motion and light.  My 8 year old especially enjoyed the sections involving light – coloured lights changing the appearance of a printed art image and spinning a block to create different shapes.  They also loved an experiment that involves shuttling a ball back and forth using the force created by pulling down on a rope and releasing it.

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A favourite section is the one focused on the human heart.  My younger three kids raced around the giant heart umpteen times and then crawled and jumped around inside blood vessels.  The 11 and 7 year olds were also fascinated by the rotating display of heart of various sizes, from a minuscule canary heart to a massive whale heart.  We then finished with the gallery next to it which is all about geophysics.  The boys had fun assisting their Grandad with building structures that would survive an earthquake.  They also enjoyed crawling through yet more tunnels and playing a space invaders style game about greenhouse gases and global warming.

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We had a brilliant time and will definitely go back again.  And again.  And again.  I think my kids would go back today just to play in the brain section.  My parents also thoroughly enjoyed the Franklin Institute and were impressed by all the interactive exhibits.  We highly recommend.

The Franklin Institute

On Saturday we went to the library and borrowed their family pass for the Academy of Natural Sciences.  Unfortunately when we opened up the pack we discovered the librarian had given us a pass to an arboretum.  Arboretums are cool and we will go there at some point and no doubt enjoy ourselves but right now the landscape is so freeze burned that it looks like the type of tundra musk oxen migrate across.  Definitely an outing for better weather and recovered plant life.  So Mr Pict suggested that we head to the Franklin Institute instead so that is what we did yesterday.

In the end we actually took out an annual family membership at the Franklin Institute because it made more economic sense for us as a family of six to do so when we are likely to be back at least one more time and probably more within the next year.  We had been told it was the best attraction in Philadelphia and, while I cannot judge that since I have not been to other places yet, certainly it is a superb science and technology museum.  It is very well organised into sections of knowledge and it is really interactive and hands on for the kids.  I am not really a science museum person – I am definitely an arts and humanities person – but even I found it to be engaging.

We actually started off our visit with the special exhibition which is on the subject of Pompeii.  I guess that ties into science because of the volcano but it was a bit of a stretch.  Nonetheless, it was a good opportunity for us to show the kids some of the artefacts from such an important archaeological site.  Mr Pict is an obsessive Romaphile; he loves ancient Rome.  He was, therefore, especially happy to be given another opportunity to share his obsession with his sons.  Mr Pict and I have actually been to Pompeii, in October 2006, so for us the exhibition was lacking on impact but only because we have been spoiled by the luxury of actually having been there and seen everything in context and even by the archaeological riches on display at the museum in Naples.  However, the items on display were well chosen and the exhibition was organised in a thoughtful and informative way.  The kids loved seeing all the Roman glass, the gladiator helmet and grieves and guessing which particular god was being portrayed in each art work.  The one section that did not work for me was the conclusion where they had casts of the original casts of the bodies.  That room followed one in which there was a dramatic rendering of the day of Vesuvius’ eruption and to then follow that with casts of the victims seemed a bit trite, sensationalism followed by individual tragedy.  It is also very difficult for those casts to have the same impact out of context.  When we saw them at Pompeii, I had a sorrowful lump in my throat seeing all the people in the Garden of the Fugitives huddled up together.  As individuals on plinths it just seemed a bit lacking in emotional sensitivity.  But, as I say, Mr Pict and I are spoiled and the exhibition was still well worth visiting.

The kids had fun learning about different types of energy by conducting over-sized experiments in the Isaac’s attic section.  Particular hits were the experiments using light and one that used the impact of air to push a ball back and forth through a tube.  I am a physics dunce so I have no means of describing that with any sort of scientific accuracy.  They got to look through a telescope at sun spots which was fun since it was not something they had ever done before.  They loved all of the interactive exhibits in the sports science section, especially the virtual wheelchair racing and the surf board.  We watched a show in the planetarium – and I almost nodded off in the dark.  We visited the geology area but the kids were not engaging with that so we decided we would jettison that and return to it with fresh minds on a different day so we concluded our trip with a visit to the Heart section.  In that gallery, the kids saw representations of human blood vessels and cells and a great revolving model graphing the different sizes of animal hearts, from canary to whale.  They also got to learn about medical science through lots of interactive exhibits.  Their absolute highlight, however, was getting to scramble around inside a gigantic heart, as if they were the blood cells being pumped around it.

We were in the museum for five hours but there were whole galleries of the museum we did not even visit or touch on and areas we only skimmed the surface of and areas the kids would like to do again so the annual pass was definitely a worthwhile investment.  If you happen to find yourself in the Phildalphia area with kids, I highly recommend the Franklin Institute.

Here are some of my photos from the visit.