Frequently Asked Questions about Science Birthday Parties



How do I register for a party?

Group Sales
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, the parents may get into the room at 2:30PM.

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
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.

Do hosts receive tips?

Yes. We recommend parents 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 exhibit scavenger hunt.

Smarty Party
Scavenger Hunt/Exhibit: Your Brain
Activity: Create an optical illusion and trick your brain.

Bouncing Ball Maze
Scavenger Hunt/Exhibit: Sir Isaac's Loft
Activity: Crazy Ball Maze - Design a maze to make a ball roll, slope, and slide.

Crazy Colors
Scavenger Hunt/Exhibit: Sir Isaac's Loft
Activity: Color Mixing Spinners - Play a trick on your brain with this cool optical toy.

Scavenger Hunt/Exhibit: The Giant Heart
Activity: Snot - Create some boogers to take home.

Space Adventure
Topic: Astronomy
Scavenger Hunt/Exhibit: Space Command
Activity: Alka-Rockets - Build a rocket you can actually launch out of common materials.

Young Aviators
Topic: Flight Scavenger Hunt/Exhibit: The Franklin Airshow
Activity: Stunt Planes - Make a flying device to demonstrate the 4 forces of flight.

What does the scavenger hunt consist of? Can we get a copy ahead of time?

Scavenger Hunts are questions that children can answer while in the "themed" exhibit. If requests are made far enough in advance, copies can be mailed to parents.

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?

We recommend that you skip the mess 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

Custom Food Packages
Looking for something different? We would be happy to work with you on 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.

All packages include paper and plastic goods and ice. Pizza package pricing is based on one slice per person, 16" pizza, and 8 slices per pie. We will gladly double-cut any pie to 16 slices. Sandwich selections are "chef's choice" and typically include a variety of ham, turkey, roast beef, tuna, and chicken salad, on a selection of whole grain and artisanal breads, and vegetarian wraps. Potato chips are provided in 1.5 oz individual packaging, one per person. Beverage selections include 10 oz apple/orange juice bottles, 1/2 pints whole/2%/chocolate milk, and 10 oz Tummy Yummies, at one per person. 20 oz bottled sodas and Dasani water are provided at one per every two persons. We have a broad selection of Coca-Cola products. Package pricing is based on a minimum of 12 people. We can offer mixed packages free of additional charge as long as the minimum in each type is met. Not enough food? No problem. Simply order more packages than attendees, and additional package items will be included and charged at the above per person cost.

Bring your own food: Though we do not have a way to cook, chill, or freeze your food, we can help you get it from your car to your party room and set it up.

Order from our local pizzeria: Pete's Famous Pizza at 215.567.4116.

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.

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.

What is included with a party?

Your party includes:
- General admission to the Museum (not including specially ticketed exhibits)
- 1/2 hr set up time
- Exclusive party room for 1 hour
- Tablecloths
- Paper and plastic goods
- Ice
- Personal party host for 3 hours
- Theater show
- Themed exhibit scavenger hunt
- Make and take science activity
- Gift and birthday sticker for guest of honor
- (1) 4 hour parking voucher
- Downloadable invitations

Can I bring balloons and decorations?

Due to the museum's security sensors, balloons are not permitted. It is not necessary to bring decorations, but if you have a special theme you would like to use, we can help you decorate during the 1/2 hour before your party.

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.

Small Party Cake - $40; Serves up to 20 people
Large Party Cake - $75; Serves up to 40 people

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, Egg Beaters, sprinkles, 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 passes for your party. CLICK HERE for parking rates and details.