Noon Year’s Eve at The Franklin Institute

Ring in the New Year early this year as The Franklin Institute counts down to an explosive pre-launch to 2020. Celebrate with fiery live science shows, magic milk firework experiments, make-and-take noisemakers, plus live shows on the Science of Fireworks, and other surprises — all well before midnight on New Year’s Eve. Plus, when the clock strikes NOON, what better way to close out 2019 and welcome in the New Year than with a massive ball pit explosion!

Noon Year’s Eve at The Franklin Institute includes:

NOON! Explosive countdown to the (early) New Year with a ball pit explosion!

The Science of Fireworks Live show

Make-and-take noisemakers

Solar observing in the Bloom Observatory (weather permitting)

3D printing demonstrations in the Tech Studio

Magic milk fireworks

Polar Express Day at The Franklin Institute

Relive the magic and wonder of the timeless classic holiday tale The Polar Express on Saturday, December 14 with activities inspired by the award-winning book and beloved film. Let your imagination soar as you climb aboard the authentic Baldwin 60,000 locomotive for a guided storytelling experience. Understand steam vs. diesel and how trains move, the harmonics of sleigh bells, and why no two snowflakes are alike—plus more holiday-related science happenings and screenings of The Polar Express.

ALL ABOARD! Polar Express Day activities include:

– Guided experience aboard the iconic 60,000 Baldwin Locomotive in The Train Factory

– Train science activities

– Activities that explore the science of snowflakes and sound

Screenings of The Polar Express in Franklin Theater

– Plus, children are invited to wear pajamas for a truly festive experience and a $2 holiday discount off their general museum admission ticket.

Science After Hours: Home Alone at The Franklin Institute

When the kids are away, the adults can play!
Science After Hours pays tribute to the classic holiday film Home Alone with an evening full of mischievous fun, worst-case scenarios, and plenty of “don’t try this at home” science—pulled straight from some of the movie’s most iconic scenes.
Holiday pajamas and other festive attire encouraged.
Highlights include:

Need a quick escape? Tinker with simple catapults and ziplines as you explore the physics behind the classic booby traps seen in film.
Roving wet bandits to demo scenarios from the film.
Stepped on a bed of nails? Slipped on ice? Explore weight distribution and dangers of frictionless surfaces.
What goes through the mind during precarious situations? See how your brain processes different sensations and stimuli through brain mapping demonstrations.
Need to pick a lock? Locksmith Philly is here for that.
Experience crisis through virtual reality and learn how FEMA professionals save lives during natural disasters.
Creepy-crawling tarantulas from Drexel University’s Academy of Natural Sciences.
Nighttime observing on the rooftop observatory (weather permitting)
Holiday caroling from OwlCappella, Temple University’s a capella group.
Giant Tinker Toys®, large Imagination Playground blocks, KEVA planks, and Rigamajigs® to build with and play in Creation Station.

Plus! Bonus admission to the world premiere exhibit The Worst-Case Scenario: Survival Experience. With a 76,000-ball pit as its centerpiece, a horizontal climbing wall, and a train car jump—the exhibit immerses you in various survival challenges to build the skills necessary to face some extreme—but quite possible—worst-case scenarios.

Can you survive if your smart home outsmarts you? Can you escape from a bear? How about from a bad date? Meet special guests, co-authors of internationally bestselling book series The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook David Borgenicht and Josh Piven, who worked with hundreds of experts on these topics and more to develop the book of which the exhibit is based. Plus! Test your hand at a special edition of QUIZZO, hosted by the famed duo.

Sensory Friendly Sunday at The Franklin Institute

During Sensory Friendly Sundays, our exhibits will be modified to provide an opportunity for people on the autism spectrum and with a range of differing abilities to experience all The Franklin Institute has to offer. Our trained staff and volunteers will be on hand to answer any questions you have and, if necessary, direct you to a quiet space that provides a chance to cool down and take a break.

Complimentary admission is available for pre-registered guests, as well as for guests arriving between 8:00 – 9:30 am. Complimentary admission is available for up to 6 people per group. Pre-registration closes at 5:00 pm on the Friday before the event. Regular museum admission applies after 9:30 am unless pre-registered.

Night Skies in the Joel N. Bloom Observatory

Join us for an evening of out-of-this-world astronomy activities hosted by Franklin Institute Chief Astronomer Derrick Pitts.

Build your own experience from any combination of planetarium shows, a live science talk on astronomy or space science, hands-on astronomy activities, and continuous telescopic observing all evening (weather permitting). The program is staffed with knowledgeable observers, and free star maps are provided.

Franklin Theater
7:15 pm – Space Talk with Chris D’Andrea, visiting Assistant Professor of Physics at Bryn Mawr College

The Franklin Institute Speaker Series: Preserve, Protect and Pollute

Cheap, versatile, and effective plastics have become a leading material in the production and packaging of goods around the world. From food wrapping and storage containers, to spacecraft and 3D printing filament, synthetic and natural polymers have limitless applications allowing us to preserve, protect, prosper… and pollute. Plastic pollution is rapidly gaining global attention for its prevalence and negative environmental impacts, but turnkey alternatives have been slow to arrive.

Trained as a material scientist and engineer, Dr. Odile Madden is an expert in the composition, stability, and breakdown of polymeric materials, and has spent years exploring the effects of plastic breakdown on the planet’s oceans. Madden has used diverse approaches to studying the use of plastics, from sustainability concerns and plastic decomposition in the environment, to plastics preservation as it relates to historic artifacts, art, and cultural heritage.

Join Dr. Madden as she sits down with the Franklin Institute’s environmental scientist, Dr. Rachel Valletta, for a compelling dialogue on the past, present, and future of plastics and the science behind their breakdown, preservation, and potential for pollution. Dr. Madden currently serves as a senior researcher at the Getty Conservation Institute in Los Angeles where she researches polymeric breakdown and the perseveration of plastics in cultural heritage artifacts. She previously served as a materials scientist at the Smithsonian’s Museum Conservation Institute. You can read more about Dr. Madden and some of her recent research into plastic preservation here and microplastic pollution here.

CollegeFest: FREE Philly Museums on September 7!

CollegeFest is quickly approaching, and we’re beyond excited!  On Saturday, September 7 experience your BEST five hours in Philly.  This year, we’ll have the biggest festival yet in Dilworth Park, featuring exhibitors with prizes and giveaways, pop-up performances, outdoor games, and so much more

CollegeFest is all about introducing you to your extended campus, the city of Philadelphia, so in addition to the huge party at Dilworth Park, we’re also partnering with museums and attractions all over Philly that you’ll get to discover for FREE.  That’s right!  If you’re a current college student, register today for Express Check-In  so you can skip the line at Dilworth Park (next to City Hall) on September 7, grab your wristband and check out these attractions for F-R-E-E! Continue reading “CollegeFest: FREE Philly Museums on September 7!”

Wired Philly at Franklin Institute


Our first career event of the semester – Wired Philly! Connect and get wired with leading STEM employers from across the region at our free career event (plus get some free dinner, too!).

Meet companies currently hiring for internships and entry level roles in science, technology, app development, coding, and much more! This will be a casual network-building reception (with free food!) that focuses on genuine relationships – come learn more about all the opportunities available to you in Philadelphia STEM, make some new contacts and meet recruiters.

Stick around to explore the Franklin Institute’s Vikings exhibit – an extra ticket (discounted to $10!) is required for the exhibit, you may pay at the door, but the networking reception is entirely free!

Philadelphia’s tech and science industries are booming, and they’re all looking for talent that looks just like you.