10 Things You Might Not Know Are at the Franklin Institute

Philadelphia, USA - April 26, 2014. Facade of the Franklin Institute Science Museum in Philadelphia. Philadelphia is the largest city in the State of Pennsylvania. The city attracts tourists with historic landmarks like Independence Hall and Fairmount Water Works.

The Franklin Institute | Photo by iStock.com/aimintang

All this week, the city has been celebrating its long love affair with science via the Philadelphia Science Festival, organized by the Franklin Institute. The event, now in its sixth year, has gotten so big — in 2015, 95,000 of us attended — that its signature Science Carnival has moved from the Institute to the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing. It’s this Saturday, April 30th, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and it’s FREE!!! You’ll find more than 175 exhibitors presenting hands-on, family-friendly experiments and activities concerning everything scientific, from robotics to live animals to slime-making to helicopter tours. (They’re promising an “explosive grand finale moment” that we happen to know involves trash cans.) As a windup to the carnival, here’s a collection of oddities (not all are on public display) you might not have realized are housed at the Institute — testaments, all, to the enormous breadth of human curiosity and invention.

1. The Wright Brothers’ 1911 Model B Flyer. This model, the most-intact Wright Brothers airplane remaining in the world, was one of the first mass-produced aircraft. It was also the first to fly nonstop(!) from Philadelphia to Atlantic City. The Institute has an entire Wright Aeronautical Engineering Collection of artifacts that includes the detailed and exhaustive notebooks Orville and Wilbur used to record their wind-tunnel tests. Read more »

9 Things Derrick Pitts Says You Need to Know About Those Pluto Pics

Derrick Pitts | Franklin Institute. Pluto | NASA

Derrick Pitts | Franklin Institute. Pluto | NASA

Last week, when NASA’s New Horizons mission sent over the first high-resolution images of Pluto, the world got very interested in what they meant, and why it could matter to us on Earth. I’m not the most scientifically inclined person here at Philly Mag, so naturally I had some questions about these Pluto photos, for instance: “Why the heck should we care about a chunk of ice and rock billions of miles away?”

Derrick Pitts, Hon.D, the Chief Astronomer and Director of the Fels Planetarium over at the Franklin Institute, was kind enough to humor me. He tells us all we need to know about the ninth celestial body orbiting the Sun. (Stay tuned on that “orbiting” bit…) Read more »

7 Fun Ways to Get Your Kids Out of Your Hair This Summer

That hand won't go anywhere near your white walls if she's at summer camp. | Shutterstock.com

That hand won’t go anywhere near your white walls if she’s at summer camp. | Shutterstock.com

Yay Clay! Philadelphia
Throw on a smock and fire up the kiln! Yay Clay! is a ceramic art/pottery day camp program that offers a fun and creative outlet for kids and young teens ages 7 to 14. Professional instructors will teach campers the art of ceramics using real potter’s tools, techniques and the potter’s wheel. Yay Clay! offers 3-hour half-day (AM or PM) sessions or 6-hour full-day sessions. Pay by week starting June 22nd through August 15th. 3237 Amber Street. 

Philadelphia School of Circus Arts Camp
Fly through the air with the greatest of ease in a comfortable air-conditioned space. The Philadelphia School of Circus Arts operates three summer camps that accommodate all skill levels and youth ages 5 to 18. Campers will be moving, climbing and swinging upside-down while supervised by the regions most experienced aerials instructors. Here is a perfect opportunity to clown around without getting into trouble. Summer sessions start July 6 and run through August 28. 5900A Greene Street.

Read more »

11 Things to Do in Philly This Week



Sixers Finally Introduce New Mascot, Franklin the Dog

An Action News cameraman films Tim McDermott, chief marketing and innovation officer for the Sixers, and new mascot Franklin as they prepare for a TV interview (Photo: Dan McQuade)

An Action News cameraman films Tim McDermott, chief marketing and innovation officer for the Sixers, and new mascot Franklin as they prepare for a TV interview (Photo | Dan McQuade)

It looked like he was going to miss.

Franklin, the new Sixers mascot, had shown off his dance moves, and now he was preparing for his big moment. The Sixers’ Flight Squad, a team of dunkers/cheerleaders for the team, had already dunked on a hoop set up in the Franklin Institute. Now it was Franklin’s turn. He grabbed a ball, sprinted toward the basket and bounced off a trampoline.

And he almost missed. He seemed to hang in the air forever. Fortunately, Franklin was able to stretch and put the ball into the net with a last gasp effort, avoiding a complete embarrassment. He was more successful on a second dunk attempt, though he kind of collided with the rim.

Read more »

3 Ways to Get Kids Excited About Philly in February

If your kid likes Legos:

“The Art of the Brick”art of brick franklin institute exhibit opens February 7th at the Franklin Institute with a Lego T-rex, an Easter Island statue and other ambitious Lego constructs.

If your kid likes Dr. Seuss:

The Philadelphia Orchestra pairs his rhymes, stories and images with classical music in Oh, the Music You’ll Hear! on February 7th at the Kimmel Center.

If your kid likes creepy things:

The Academy of Natural Sciences debuts “Titanoboa: Monster Snake” on February 14th, featuring a full-scale model of a 48-foot-long snake discovered in Colombia.

Originally published in the Ticket section in the January 2015 issue of Philadelphia magazine.

Children’s Crisis Treatment Center’s 14th Annual Roundup

cctc-roundup-smerconish-stahl-940x540

You might have thought the rodeo was in town had you passed the Franklin Institute on Friday night. The Children’s Crisis Treatment Center held its 14th annual Roundup to raise much needed funds for CCTC’s efforts to assist Philadelphia children and their families who are coping with the impact of behavioral health issues, traumatic events and other challenges that affect childhood development.

This year’s event chairs for the western-themed event were Lavinia and Michael Smerconish, who honored Andrea and Warren Kantor. Guests were asked to leave their tuxedos and gowns at home, and instead encouraged to wear their their best cowboy and cowgirl apparel (which many of them did) for a night of cocktails, delicious cuisine from Frog Commissary, and dancing to the tunes of EBE Entertainment. There was also an extensive silent auction with sports tickets, vacations and theater outings.

Did I mention the mechanical bull? That was a very popular spot all evening.

Photos from the Children’s Crisis Treatment Center’s Roundup after the jump »

« Older Posts