Kick-off weekend events and exhibits at the new Karabots Pavilion of the Franklin Institute

Posted: June 11, 2014

THE FRANKLIN Institute has expanded its commitment to science education and made space for world-class traveling exhibits in the process, thanks to the new three-story Karabots Pavilion, opening Saturday.

The addition will kick off with a "brain party" to celebrate its main attraction, "Your Brain," a permanent exhibit on the pavilion's second floor.

But while all the sensation runs through the brain, it's only part of the opening day itinerary.

The first 500 visitors can experience the Institute's new furnishings and a rare gallery of 80 scientific artifacts for free, while the rest must pay normal admission prices.

Opening along with the brain exhibit will be "Circus! Science Under the Big Top," a traveling exhibit that will stay on the pavilion's third floor until Sept. 1.

Walk the tightrope and fly like an acrobat (with harness), try to fit in a magician's box and see the secrets behind circus magic in the sideshow tent. Jugglers, magicians and even a hypnotist will be circulating through the Institute throughout the day.

Below the circus and brain exhibits is the first-floor Karabots Education Center, which aims to broaden the reach of the Institute's STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) initiatives in Philadelphia and beyond.

From 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday in the education center, curious visitors can get their hands on a real sheep brain and watch a brain dissection.

State-of-the-art classrooms and conference rooms are part of the Franklin Institute's desire to "take a bigger role getting people into science and technology," President and CEO Larry Dubinski, said.

Also opening Saturday will be "101 Inventions That Changed The World," a 35-minute looping presentation inside the Institute's Mandell Center theater.

In the Key Hallway, visitors can, with the turn of a key, bring to life "statues" of famous inventors and scientists. Actors portraying these iconic thinkers will explain the thoughts behind some of history's most life-altering inventions.

The institute hopes and expects that the excitement surrounding the new exhibits will outlast the first day fanfare, and that lessons learned will impact visitors long after they leave the building.

The goal, Dubinski said, is to "teach but also inspire."

Franklin Institute, 222 N. 20th St., open daily 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m., live science programs daily, general admission $16.50 adults, $15.50 military, $14 ages 3-11, 215-448-1200,

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