Friday, October 5, 2012

The Ben Franklin Institute - Ultimate Field Trip

Flashback Friday!  Fridays are for remembering people and places I forgot...

 The Ben Franklin Institute was hands-down the best museum we visited all year (and we visited a lot!)  Parents and kids alike agreed it had the most interesting hands-on exhibits and experiments.

We began in the Earth room (not sure if this was the official name of this room, but its exhibits were all about the Earth so...).  We tried experiments with global warming, erosion, the atmosphere, and weather, which led us to Franklin's famous investigations with lightning and electricity.

Greg shocked at the many hands on experiments.
Ben, ever curious, stood in the rain with a kite and key on a string and shocked himself and his son repeatedly for science.  His discovery of the electrical relationship between lightning and the earth led to one of his inventions, the lightning rod.  At the Institute, they have recreations of his famous electricity work and even have a tool that allowed us to shock ourselves just like Ben.  Turned out, being shocked hurt just like I remembered.  Thanks, Ben.

Coincidentally, the room next to the electricity room was the human body room.  We went straight through the gigantic heart to see the damage we might have done with our repeated shocks.  (Luckily, no permanent damage was found.)  We did test every part of our bodies from stamina and muscle function to brain challenges and sensory skills.  We loved this room!  The Institute further enhanced our visit with scientists and teachers set up throughout the room assisting and explaining each area of the body.  Wyatt loved the brain studies and Anabel loved the emergency room doctor simulation.  Emma's favorite was the open heart surgery demonstration... there was a patient laid out on a operating table with his chest open to a video screen showing an actual heart surgery.  Pretty cool!

The aeronautics room contained demonstrations of flight with simulators available for an additional fee. The experiments with air showed us how lift and thrust affect flight.

This ultimate family field trip museum offered IMAX movies, planetarium shows and many classes to further your education and enjoyment of science- the exact things Ben Franklin loved.  Our only problem with our visit was there wasn't enough time to do it all.  As we left the museum for our walk to Independence Hall on a beautiful fall day in Philadelphia, Wyatt begged to return to the Institute.  That was an easy promise to make.  We can't wait to return to Philadelphia and the Franklin Institute.

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