Explore the world with our unique scientific lens. Ignite your passion for science and technology through voyages near and far with Franklin Institute scientists and curators and other renowned experts.

This trip will be rescheduled for 2021. Check back for new dates and an updated agenda. If you are interested in learning more about this trip, please contact us at 215.448.1200.

Science and Innovation in the Golden State: Los Angeles & Pasadena
with Derrick Pitts, Hon.D
Chief Astronomer, The Franklin Institute
May 13–17, 2020

You’ve experienced The Franklin Institute’s interactive exhibitions about science and technology in Philadelphia. Now there’s a new way to explore the world with The Franklin Institute. We’re excited to announce an immersive trip to Southern California to discover leading science sites, from Caltech to SpaceX. 

On a journey designed to delight and educate, stargaze at the world-famous Griffith Observatory, nestled in the Hollywood Hills overlooking Los Angeles. Enjoy a private reception at the historic Mount Wilson Observatory and see one-of-a-kind telescopes. Have exclusive access to the Hale Solar Laboratory, which is private property and closed to the general public. At the Huntington Library, view the original manuscript for Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography. Get to know astronomy experts and our very own Franklin Institute Awards Laureates. 

In addition, we’ll visit private spaceflight company SpaceX, take a special tour the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Caltech, go behind the scenes at the California Science Center to see the Endeavour shuttle up-close, and savor California's famous wines. Accommodations for four nights are at the historic Langham Huntington in lovely Pasadena.

Griffith Observatory - Los Angelas


ENJOY special access with an insider to SpaceX, which was founded in 2002 to revolutionize space technology 
VISIT the Huntington Library for an exclusive viewing of one of Benjamin Franklin’s manuscripts 
TAKE a private tour with a staff member at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), and experience a special visit to the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory 
STARGAZE during exclusive receptions at Mount Wilson and Griffith Observatories 
EXPLORE the historic Hale Solar Labs during a private visit

Derrick Pitts, Chief Astronomer at The Franklin Institute


Derrick Pitts, Hon.D
Chief Astronomer, The Franklin Institute 

Derrick Pitts, Chief Astronomer and Director of the Fels Planetarium at The Franklin Institute, has been an integral part of the Institute since 1978. His signature planetarium shows have been viewed by millions in planetariums around the world. Pitts serves as a scientific consultant to many organizations, has written astronomy columns for newspapers and national magazines, and regularly appears on major international television networks. For more than two decades, Pitts has hosted award-winning astronomy radio programs on Philadelphia’s NPR-affiliate station WHYY 91FM, and he’s been the resident ‘Astro Guy’ for 88.5 WXPN’s program ‘Kids’ Corner’ for 25 years. Pitts has also served as a NASA Solar System Ambassador since 2010. He recently completed a 5-year NASA grant-funded project, ‘City Skies; Linking Neighborhoods to NASA Through Urban Observing,’ through which more than 10,000 inner-city children were introduced to astronomy and space science.