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The Franklin Institute | 7 Tips for Discounts

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This post provides details about how to get tickets for the Franklin Institute, including information about ways to save money on admission and even a few of the highlights you might want to see while you’re here.


OVERVIEW

The Franklin Institute was founded in 1824, making it one of the oldest centers of science education in the country. The interactive museum, which was named after Benjamin Franklin, is one of the most-visited attractions in Philadelphia.

The institute is popular with older, school-aged children due to the educational and hands-on science exhibits that are spread out over three floors.

Displays and exhibits range from learning about biology and human anatomy to environmental concerns and aviation.

The Franklin Institute is located at 20th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

The parking garage entrance is behind the building at the intersection of 21st Street and Winter Street. If you arrive by car, keep in mind that parking garage space is limited.

The closest SEPTA Stop is Suburban Station.

The museum is open every day from 9:30 am - 5:00 pm, with the exception of special evening events. If you're looking for free community nights, check out our discount section below.


TICKETS

This section lists the various ticket types available for the Franklin Institute. But there's no need to pay full price! Why not check out our discount section below before purchasing?


General Admission

Admission to The Franklin Institute includes access to three floors of hands-on science exhibits including core interactive exhibits, the observatory, and one show in the planetarium.  Additional costs apply for movies and attractions.

All general admission tickets are timed tickets, which means entry will only be granted at a specific time during the date you choose.


Harry Potter: The Exhibition - Daytime

  • Adult: $43
  • Child (3-11): $39
  • Senior (65+): $41
  • Military: $41

This ticket includes general admission and a timed ticket for the special Harry Potter exhibit currently located at the Franklin Institute.


Harry Potter: The Exhibition - Evening

  • Adult: $30
  • Child (3-11): $30
  • Senior (65+): $30
  • Military: $30

This ticket includes only admission to the Harry Potter exhibition, and visitors are granted entry between the hours of 5 pm and 8 pm.


VIP Access

  • $59 per person
  • No child/senior/military discount

The VIP Access ticket provides admission to the Franklin Institute at any time of the day, including entry to the Harry Potter exhibition, a free audio tour, and a 10% discount on photo ops.


7 DISCOUNTS AND DEALS

The following section covers the best ways to save money on admission to the Franklin Institute, including details about tourist passes and discount sites.


1. Tourist Passes

If you’re planning on visiting multiple museums and attractions, you can save a lot of time and money by purchasing a tourist attraction discount pass.

The Institute is included for free or at a discount of up to 40% on the Philadelphia CityPASS.

With this pass, you can visit any 3, 4 or 5 of a list of well-loved attractions in the city over a 9-day period. You don't even need to pick all of the attractions in advance and can choose as you go along on your trip.

Read our full post on the Philadelphia city passes for more information.


2. Community Nights

During community nights, everyone is invited to experience the permanent exhibits and hands-on activities after hours for free! There is no need to pre-register, but it is recommended you arrive close to the doors opening at 5:00 pm to avoid the worst of the crowds.

Community nights happen almost every month. Find the specific dates here.

NOTE: This program is on hiatus as of March 2022.


3. AAA Discount

In the past, AAA members had the opportunity to save money when purchasing your tickets in advance from the AAA website. This is typically a $6 discount on general admission.


4. Educator Pass

If you work in a public, private, or charter school for a preK-12 system in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, or Delaware with a valid school ID, all you need to do is fill out a form on the Franklin Institute's website and bring your ID when you arrive at the ticketing desk for one complimentary admission pass.


5. Military Discount

When purchasing either general admission or daytime access to the Harry Potter exhibition, military service members will be eligible for a $2 discount on tickets.


6. Discount Sites

Before you purchase tickets, take a few minutes to look at discount sites such as Groupon. They periodically offer discounted admission to Philadelphia-area museums, including the Franklin Institute.

Keep an eye out for attractions that are close by for additional discounts!


7. Senior Discount

Just like members of the military, senior citizens over the age of 65 are also eligible for a $2 discount off either general admission or daytime access to the Harry Potter exhibition.


MUSEUM HIGHLIGHTS

This section lists a few of the exhibitions and extra experiences available at the Franklin Institute.


Harry Potter Exhibition

This is the newest exhibit at Franklin Institute, and it focuses on all of the most important characters and iconic moments from throughout the Wizarding World, including authentic props and costumes from both the Harry Potter films and the Fantastic Beasts movies.

Fans of the franchise won't want to miss this incredible opportunity to see and learn more about one of the most popular and magical stories of modern times.


Mirror Maze

Learn about how math helps scientists discover patterns in the world and solve problems as you make your way through a fun labyrinth of floor-to-ceiling mirrors and colorful lights.


Your Brain

How is your brain connected to the rest of your body? How do the different parts of your brain communicate?

The brain exhibit teaches you how the brain works, and illustrates neural pathways with a two-story-tall climbing structure that represents your neural network.


Sports Zone

Ever wonder how the human body works when we play sports? Or how equipment, safety, and nutrition play a part in keeping athletes physically fit and healthy? This hands-on exhibit has multiple displays to help illustrate how athletes work with their biology to find success in sports.


The Train Factory

How do steam trains work? In the train factory exhibit, you'll get to see a real Baldwin 60000 train that arrived at the Franklin Institute back in 1933!

You'll learn how trains were first powered by coal and steam, and how the discoveries of diesel, electricity, and magnetic levitation helped improve today's train travel.


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About The Author

Jenn H

Jenn is a born Jersey girl that grew up “across the Ben” but has Philly in her heart and history in her blood. She went to Washington & Jefferson College in the Pittsburgh area. Yes her college mascots were two guys in white wigs! Jenn came back to Philly to get her M.A. in Museum Studies. Happily worked at the city history museum but came outside for some fresh air as a tour guide. Jenn has been part of the FTBF team since March 2011.
Updated: March 22nd, 2022
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