Riley and I recently visited the Franklin Institute with Pack 32 as part of a “camp-in” event. We packed our sleeping bags and camping mattresses, and rolled up to the Franklin, ready for some science.
We arrived quite a bit early so that we could have dinner outside of the museum. We took an Uber to a ramen place I know, since Riley loves ramen. We both had a bowl of utterly unreal ramen – There’s nothing like real ramen, not the dried kind you get in the little orange bags. We both opted for the hard boiled egg. It was super tasty.
After dealing with some taxi weirdness getting back to the Franklin (the Uber we requested got pulled over by the cops on the way to pick us up!), we met up with some scouts near the big statue of Ben Franklin, and headed with our gear to our “camp site” in the Earth Science exhibit.
In the camp-in, each group is assigned an exhibit in the museum in which they make camp. You simply spread out your bag on the floor and you’re set up. No tents! The Earth Science exhibit we were in talked all about global warming, earthquakes, and erosion. We camped down in the erosion section, which had a padded rubber floor since there was a water trough. It was the only padded floor I saw anywhere in the museum, so we had a good pick!
After we were set up, we went to a presentation about sports science, where a scientist gave some demonstrations about why warming up is important and how it affects your body if you don’t warm up before doing sports. Several of the scouts in Riley’s den assisted the show.
After the show, we headed to the observatory, where we got to look through the big telescopes on the roof of the museum. This is a special treat since you can’t ordinarily use the telescopes during the museum’s open hours (since it’s daylight). Unfortunately, there was a lot of light pollution, and only a few stars were visible. It’s almost a shame to have these big telescopes in a location that has such poor visibility. Nonetheless, it was neat to be able to look through them.
We spent some time in the sports science exhibit. Many of the other scouts were interested in the sports exhibit, and that’s it. I think that our scouts do not get as much exposure to awesome science as Riley, because he quickly (in comparison) became bored of trying to run faster or jump higher than everyone else over and over, and wanted to see other exhibits. So from here, we parted with the rest of the pack to check out some of the other cool exhibits in the museum.
We spent a lot of time in Ben’s Lab, where there were physics experiments and optical illusions. That is always a fun place in the museum. We played with some experiments with light, which were really neat.
It was then time to re-join the pack for our planetarium show. I think at some point while we were in Ben’s Lab, the rest of the pack decided to order in pizza, but we were ok since we’d already had ramen. But as a result, the rest of the pack showed up just before the show started and got different seats, whereas Riley and I got to lay down dead-center, which was pretty cool. The show was narrated by Neil Degrasse Tyson, although I can’t even tell you now what it was about. Some pretty generic space content, is what I suspect.
After the planetarium, we all had to head to bed. We were worried that some of the lights on the displays wouldn’t be off, but they were all eventually turned off by some custodians. The floor was not too uncomfortable, but some of the other scout dads snore pretty loudly, and it was hard to stay asleep. One of the other scouts was sleeping opposite me from Riley and kept rolling over and slapping me all night. He also kept asking me where the bathroom was when I was trying to sleep. This made me irritable at night, and groggy in the morning.
When we got up, we headed to breakfast in the cafeteria. There was cereal and muffins and fruit and coffee. We ate a bit and then went to the new Brain exhibit that the Franklin has. The Brain exhibit was pretty neat, and the experiments there were all interesting. I think this was Riley and my favorite exhibit of the weekend.
After we were done with the exhibits, Riley and I stopped by the gift shop to look around. I bought a Franklin sweatshirt and Riley got a glass prism.
In the end, it was a fun trip, and something I’ve always wanted to do has now been crossed off my list.