Friday, January 4, 2013

Fly Away: Philadelphia, PA: The Franklin Institute

Whenever we go to New Jersey for an extended period of time, we try to take a day trip to a close'ish attraction for kids. We've been to the Please Touch Museum several times and last year we checked out the Camden Aquarium, which was awesome. Kane has been on a science kick and mom and dad thought we'd be old enough now to appreciate The Franklin Institute in Philly. Plus I chomp Philly soft pretzels like it's my job, so I agreed right away.

Like most other museums, because it was the holiday break, it was CROWDED. But we took a different tact this time. We ate first and then when everyone else was taking a lunch break, we scooted to the membership area and joined up (if we use it twice, including at any of the other 250 participating ASTC museums, we'll have won that game). Our agenda targeted three kid-friendly exhibits: (1) the giant heart; (2) kid science; and (3) the train factory.

Daddy has fond memories of walking through the giant heart when he was a kid so, obviously, Kane immediately decided he was "too scared" to walk through it. He made it, but we didn't last long in there. On our way to the kid science exhibit, we discovered that the museum had stocked their education center full of super awesome building materials. Kane went for the giant Tinker Toys, but having been to the Building Museum recently, I headed right for the Imagination Playground. The room was busy, but the staff did a good job of moving people in and out and we got rid of some extra energy before heading out to check out the real exhibits.

Up next was the kid science exhibit, which takes kids "on a journey across the Island of the Elements" and teaches children about the four elements (light, water, earth and air). Front and center is a giant ship, so you know Kane was psyched. I liked the lighthouse and water wheel. Before we could soak ourselves in the water portion, mom promised that we'd get to engineer a working 350-ton locomotive at the train exhibit and we set off.

The train was busted, of course. But we still had a good time pretending to drive the Polar Express and screaming periodically "the PIN! the PIN!" (we've watched the movie about a million times). There was a neat crash investigation portion of the exhibit that Kane and I refused to visit. And when it was clear that the afternoon crankies had started to settle in, dad decided he was going to see the sports exhibit whether we wanted to or not. We didn't, so that lasted for about 2 minutes. At least he got another soft pretzel on the way back to the car.

BUT given that we're members, we'll be back (hopefully when it's less crowded).

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