In fourth grade I was assigned a biography project in science class. Each student had to pick a person who created a lasting impact in scientific research. The assignment required us to create a first person account of our life and share a short speech with the class while dressed in costume. I dressed up as Benjamin Franklin and shared all the ways that Benjamin Franklin not only helped shape our country but contributed to our knowledge of electricity and weather among other things. With reading glasses perched on my nose I shared all I had learned about Benjamin Franklin in a short speech. I got an A, but more importantly the project got me interested in learning more about our founding fathers and the stories behind the science we learned. It’s something I still love to this day.
We’re fortunate in that we only live a short drive from the city where our country was founded-Philadelphia. There is something special about being able to walk around the same places that Benjamin Franklin and so many other important historical figures walked centuries ago.
Today you can visit Philadelphia and walk in the footsteps of founding father and inventor Benjamin Franklin with a special itinerary created by VisitPhilly.com. It’s such a unique experience to be able to be in the heart of a bustling city with so much history within a short walk.
Ben Franklin continues to inspire me today, and his legacy is one that kids continue to learn about today. The idea of flying a kite to catch lightning sounds pretty amazing to kids, but as they (and you) learn more about all the experiments and the many hats Ben Franklin wore (scientist, author, politician, diplomat, activist, and more) you’ll find what started as interesting becomes a lesson in life.
Whether you are local or visiting from out of town there is so much to see and do in Philadelphia, and more importantly there is so much you can learn on your visit. Below I’ll share just a few places you can visit and learn more about Benjamin Franklin, the founding of our country, and so much more.
Place to Visit in Philadelphia
I’d be remiss not to start with Independence Hall. As a signer of the Declaration of Independence and one of the framers of the Constitution, Franklin spent a lot of his time here.
In addition to tours of Independence Hall, you’ll find more information about many of the historical sites within walking distance of the hall including the Constitution Center on the National Parks website.
Location and more info: Chestnut Street between 5th & 6th Streets, (215) 965-2305, nps.gov/inde
Founded By Franklin:
There are a number of places in Philadelphia that still exist that were founded by Franklin. It’s a small peek into the legacy he left behind.
American Philosophical Society – Franklin founded the American Philosophical Society (APS) “to cultivate the finer arts, and improve the common stock of knowledge” in the young colonies. Since its founding in 1743, APS has boasted more than 200 Nobel Prize winners as members. Philosophical Hall, the society’s current home, was completed in 1789.
Location and more info: 104-105 S. 5th Street, (215) 440-3400, amphilsoc.org
The Library Company of Philadelphia – Books were rare and expensive in the colonies and that inspired Franklin to form this subscription library, a precursor to today’s public lending libraries and the oldest cultural institution in America.
Location and more info: 1314 Locust Street, (215) 546-3181, librarycompany.org
Fire Department (Fireman’s Hall Museum) – To combat the lethal fires that destroyed lives and property, Franklin organized a group of volunteers to fight fires, and the idea soon caught on throughout the city.
Location and more info: 147 N. 2nd Street, (215) 923-1438, firemanshall.org
University of Pennsylvania – Unlike other schools that focused on educating the clergy, Franklin’s Publick Academy of Philadelphia, later named the University of Pennsylvania, prepared students for business and public service.
Location and more info: 3451 Walnut Street, (215) 898-5000, upenn.edu
Pennsylvania Hospital – When Franklin helped found Pennsylvania Hospital in 1751, he created the first hospital in America.
Location and more info: 8th & Spruce Streets, (215) 829-3000, pennmedicine.org/pahosp
B. Free Franklin Post Office – As postmaster general for Philadelphia, and later for all the colonies, Franklin created regular postal delivery routes and laid the groundwork for a nationwide mail system.
Location: 315 Market Street
For the Kids
Franklin Institute – Of course all that history is fun and fascinating, but the kids may like something more hands-on. Take them to visit The Franklin Institute created with Franklin’s scientific experiments as inspiration. What started as a scientific research institution in 1824 is now an interactive science museum like no other!
Location and more info: 222 N. 20th Street, (215) 448-1200, fi.edu
While this is a short look at some of the fun and historical sites in Philadelphia I’d recommend you take time to peruse the VisitPhilly.com website before you visit or head to Philly for a daytrip. There is SO much to see and do and many hidden gems to discover.
Ben Franklin is Philadelphia’s favorite founding father. To evoke Ben’s wit, wisdom and joy year-round, visit his longtime home of Philadelphia. Learn more at visitphilly.com/Ben.
All photos provided by Visit Philadelphia™
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Visit Philadelphia. The opinions and text are all mine.