Birthday Parties

Girls sitting around a table eating cake and smiling for the camera.

The Franklin Institute is the perfect party venue for all your birthday party needs! A Franklin Institute party planner will work with you in gathering both yours and your child’s birthday party ideas to create an unforgettable time for your child and all of your guests. A Franklin Institute birthday party includes activities, a theater or live science show, museum access for all guests, and food and birthday cake options from our trusted catering partner, Frog Commissary.

Explore the wonders of The Franklin Institute during a guided exhibit tour led by your personal party assistant, make homemade snot or launch fizzy rockets, and see a movie in one of our three theaters—the 5-story tall Tuttleman IMAX®, the Franklin 3D Theater, or the Fels Planetarium! Or, see a LIVE science show!

Birthday parties are available Saturdays and Sundays with room times at 12:00 pm or 3:00 pm. A personalized party schedule will be created at the time of registration. Children ages 3–11 are perfect for our parties, but we are happy to celebrate with younger and older children as well.

Of all the kid’s birthday party places in Philadelphia, The Franklin Institute is sure to deliver the most unique experience for all those involved! Give us a call to make your child's ideal birthday party a reality!

  • Book a Party

    Contact: The Franklin Institute

    222 North 20th Street
    Philadelphia, PA 19103
    phone: 215.448.1200 (Option 5)
    fax: 215.448.1235


  • What Our Birthday Parties Include

    The Guest of Honor Receives:

    • A special Happy Birthday introduction before their film
    • A special gift
    • An unforgettable birthday experience!

    Party Guests Enjoy:

    • All-day Museum exploration
    • Film in the 5-story tall Tuttleman IMAX®, Franklin 3D Theater, or the Fels Planetarium; or a Live Show: The Science of Fireworks
    • Assisted Exhibit Exploration
    • Guided Science Activity

    We Make Organizing the Party Easy for You:
    Personal party assistant for 3 hours

    • One FREE parking voucher for the day of the party
    • Private party room for 1 hour PLUS 30-minute setup time prior to party room time
    • Printer-friendly version of our invitation card is available for download. CLICK HERE for front. CLICK HERE for back.
  • Choose Your Theme

    Birthday parties include assisted exhibit exploration , a guided science activity for each party goer, and your choice of a theater show! Party themes based on traveling exhibitions are also available.

    Gear up for your birthday and have a ball in our new SportsZone exhibit! Explore how sports connects to the laws of motion and test your reaction time to see if you have what it takes to be a star.

    Smarty Party
    See art and science collide as you make a color-mixing spinner that will trick your brain. Then, take a trip through the Your Brain exhibit as you continue to explore the wonders of this amazing organ.

    Did you know that your body makes a new batch of snot every 20 minutes? Learn more amazing facts about your body in The Giant Heart exhibit and make some snot to take home!

    Space Adventure
    Journey to outer space in the Space Command exhibit and prepare for blast-off as you create your very own Alka Seltzer rocket!

    Recommended for ages 5 and under:

    Bouncing Ball Maze
    Roll, spin, and bounce your way to fun. Build a crazy ball maze and unleash the excitement. You'll have a ball!

    Move it, Move it
    Our brain is amazing and helps us do things all day long without us noticing. Let your brain help you toss, balance, and dance your way through your party.

  • Pricing

    Guest Count


    15 Guests


    16 - 25 Guests


    26-35 Guests


    36-50 Guests


    The Franklin Institute Members Save 10%

    Additional Guests are $20 per person

    The Birthday Child is FREE

    Guests refer to children AND adult guests.

    Older children may enjoy our SkyBike and/or Flight Simulators. Additional fees onsite. Height restrictions apply.


  • Food & Birthday Cake Packages

    Skip the fuss and order a complete birthday cake and food package from our in-house caterer, Frog Commissary.

    Option 1 - $7 per person

    Our fresh house-made cheese pizza, potato chips, and assorted beverages.

    Option 2 - $10.50 per person

    Chicken tenders with honey mustard and barbecue dips, potato chips and assorted beverages.

    Option 3 - $12.50 per person

    An assortment of sandwiches, potato chips and beverages.

    Birthday Cake

    Small Party Cake - $40; Serves up to 20 people

    Large Party Cake - $75; Serves up to 40 people

    Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream - $3.00 per person

    Made with fresh ingredients and dramatically chilled right before your eyes with super cold liquid nitrogen, it's a sweet treat and science demonstration wrapped into one! Toppings provided. Please note: Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream must be ordered no later than the Wednesday before the party date.

    Looking for something different?
    We would be happy to work with you to create a custom package for your child's special day. Customized menus, dietary restrictions, mixed packages, custom cakes, a la carte items, special requests—we can accommodate all. Please contact our Birthday Party Catering Coordinator at 215.448.1328. See our FAQs below for all of the details.

  • Frequently Asked Questions

    How do I register for a party?

    • Contact: The Franklin Institute
      222 North 20th Street
      Philadelphia, PA 19103
      phone: 215.448.1200 (Option 5)
      fax: 215.448.1235

    Who is counted in the Birthday Party attendance?

    • All adults and children, Members and non-Members, attending the party should be included in the count. The birthday child is free.

    May I have a party for fewer than 15 guests?

    • Yes. A party can be any size, but the minimum fee is still the price of a 15 person party.

    What if I have parents who aren't participating in the party at all, (members perhaps that already have general admission) can they get in for free without being added on to the party roster?

    • All attendees, regardless of age or Membership status, must be included in your total number of attendees.

    Can children younger than 3 or older than 11, book a party?

    • Our party activities are geared for children ages 3-11, but we are happy to celebrate with younger and older children. Older children may be bored and younger children may not be able to participate.

    How early can parents get into the Birthday Party room?

    • Parents may set up in the party room 1/2 hour prior to the ROOM TIME. Room times are either 12:00PM or 3:00PM. In the case of a 12:00PM party, the parents may get into the room at 11:30AM. in the case of a 3:00pm party, the parents may get into the room at 2:30 for a 3:00pm start time in the Party Room.

    What does "set up" mean?

    • Hosts are responsible for cleaning the room, setting tablecloths, and assisting parents with any refreshments, gifts and decorations. We expect parent involvement in "set up" to be minimal. We discourage elaborate decorating or food options.

    What if we need longer than the designated 1/2 hour to set up for the birthday party?

    • For scheduling purposes, we do not allow extra time in the birthday party room for set up.

    Can I pick the color of my birthday party tablecloth?

    • Tablecloths are gender-neutral and selected randomly. You can bring special tablecloths to be added to the room during set up time.

    What does "room time" mean?

    • Room time is the hour that a party family has in the birthday party room. In this hour, parents can expect to enjoy their refreshments, participate in the science activity and be provided with Liquid Nitrogen ice cream (if applicable). Once the room time is over, families are not permitted to return to the room.

    Is there time to open presents in the room?

    • No. Birthday children are encouraged to take presents home to be opened. Typically there is not enough time in the room to open presents.

    What does a party schedule look like?

    • Parties are 3 1/2 hours.
      A typical party would look as follows:
      1/2 Hour: Meet host at the Benjamin Franklin Memorial, Hosts assist in getting party supplies and guests to the room
      1 Hour: Party Room Time: science activity (conducted by staff) and refreshments (provided by parent)
      1 Hour: Exhibit exploration including scavenger hunt (Optional)
      1 Hour: Theater show
      Until close: Self-guided Museum exploration

    Can parents get extra time in the room?

    • If parents want extra time in the room, they will be charged for two parties. This will allow us to block the room out for the day.

    What is the party family's role and what is the host's role?

    • The host will:
      - Set up and clean up the room
      - Help guests to and from their car
      - Help serve guests
      - Be a guide through the Museum during the party
      - Present the science activity

      Parents should:
      - Be responsible for the children in the party
      - Bring utensils and paper products
      - Relax and have fun!

    During a birthday party, when the kids are going through the museum are they being supervised by anyone?

    • Your museum host will tour the exhibit with you, but parents and adults with the party are responsible for the supervision of children. Parents should make sure there are enough adults on hand to chaperone children.

    Will the host stay with the party the whole time they are in the Museum?

    • The host is there to assist during the scheduled party time (usually 3 hours). They will get guests from "car to car." If guests decide to take advantage of the Museum after your party, the host will not stay with them.

    What if someone is late getting to the birthday party?

    • Latecomers should go to the Security Counters on either the 1st or 2nd Floor and let them know they are here for a birthday party.

    Can hosts receive tips?

    • Yes. It is customary for parents to tip their host(s) if they are pleased with service.

    What are the science themes and what are the activities?

    • Science themed parties with a related workshop and suggested exhibit exploration.

    Smarty Party
    Suggested Exhibit Exploration: Your Brain
    Activity: Color Mixing Spinners - Play a trick on your brain with this cool optical toy

    Bouncing Ball Maze - Recommended for younger birthday children
    Suggested Exhibit Exploration: Sir Isaac's Loft Activity: Crazy Ball Maze - Design a maze to make a ball roll, slope, and slide.

    Suggested Exhibit Exploration: The Giant Heart Activity: Snot - Create some boogers to take home.

    Space Adventure
    Suggested Exhibit Exploration: Space Command
    Activity: Alka-Rockets - Build a rocket you can actually launch out of common materials.

    Move it, Move it - Recommended for younger birthday children
    Suggested Exhibit Exploration: Your Brain Activity: Sensory Activities – Bean Bag Toss, Balance Beam Walking, Dance Party!

      Are certain themes better for certain aged children?

      • Our hosts are educators trained to present each theme to all age groups.

      What are the food options?

      • Birthday party families can order from Frog Commissary, bring their own food or order from local restaurants.

      When and where should pizza arrive, if I order it myself?

      • Pizza should be delivered to the 20th Street Business entrance. Pizza should be ordered to arrive at "room time," i.e. 12:00PM or 3:00PM.

      Are outside caterers permitted?

      • Yes, however it is worth reminding parents that there is only one hour in the party room so elaborate set-ups are not recommended.

      Can the birthday parents pay for everyone's parking vouchers ahead of time? If so, how?

      • Yes. If requests are submitted well enough in advance, guest parking can be paid through the garage. Requests should go through the Birthday Party manager.

      Can a radio or small TV be brought into a Birthday parties?

      • Radios with CD players are available upon request.

      How soon will I receive a confirmation, once I reserve my date?

      • Expect confirmation within 7 days of receipt of your payment.

      What is the recommended ratio of children to adults?

      • We recommend a ratio of 7 kids to 1 adult. You will have 1 host per 25 guests.

      How long does a party last?

      • Typically a party lasts 3 (three) hours. Each party is scheduled with 3 components—a theater show, your room time, and exhibit exploration. Each of these components is scheduled for 1 hour. You and your guests may, however, decide to stay in the building until the Museum closes.

      Where should I tell the guests to meet?

      • Everyone attending a party should meet at the big statue of Ben Franklin located in Franklin Hall on the 2nd floor of the museum. This is a central point of the building and is easily accessible from the parking garage elevators and the museum's main entrance.

        It is common that special events are occurring on the Ben Franklin Parkway so encourage your guests to give themselves enough time to arrive by the party's start time.

      Are balloons provided?

      • Balloons are not provided for the birthday party for a number of reasons.  First, the museum has a “no balloon” policy due to our fire sensors. A loose balloon has the potential of setting off our security sensors.  Second, understanding that there is a global helium shortage, and that balloons are only used for the one hour of the party, The Franklin Institute is doing its part to model responsible citizenship and reduce our waste.

      Is birthday cake provided?

      • The Franklin Institute will provide your party with a cake for an additional fee. See packages above. You may also bring a cake of your own, but be aware that we will not be able to keep it refrigerated.

      Is a refrigerator or freezer available?

      • No. We do not have access to a refrigerator or freezer.

      I am interested in Liquid Nitrogen ice cream but my child has allergies. What's in it?

      • Our liquid nitrogen (N2) ice cream is made with half & half, heavy cream, vanilla, white sugar, and super-cold liquid nitrogen! Please also note that Liquid Nitrogen ice cream must be ordered no later than the Wednesday before the party date due to the perishable nature of ice cream ingredients.

      How does parking work?

      • Party families receive one reserved spot in our garage. If the garage is not full, you may park anywhere. If the garage is full, please let the garage attendant know you are here to park in the Birthday Party Reserved spots. We will provide (1) FREE parking pass for your party.

      Are paper goods provided?

      • No. Parents should bring plates, napkins, cups, etc. with them to the party. 
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