Ready for a Founding Father-themed fete? Ben Franklin is still quite the celebrity and his upcoming 308th birthday on January 17, 2014 is cause for many celebrations in his longtime home of Philadelphia.
Free admission to new Benjamin Franklin Museum, a Franklin-themed getaway giveaway, birthday parties and appearances by Ben himself are among the festivities to honor America’s favorite Founding Father.
Here’s a look at how Philadelphia will mark Ben’s big day.
Free Admission to the Benjamin Franklin Museum, Presented by Visitphilly.com
In celebration of Benjamin Franklin’s 308th birthday this year, Visitphilly.com presents free admission to the recently reopened Old City museum for three days this month.
From Friday, January 17 through Sunday, January 19, visitors can simply arrive at the museum anytime during operating hours, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., to take advantage of the deal.
That’s right! No need to register in advance — just show up at the museum to receive the complimentary admission.
At the museum, history buffs explore Franklin’s life and accomplishments through interactive activities, artifacts, video presentations and more.
Vote for the Quote
A fountain of inspirational quotes, Franklin left a legacy of sayings that are repeated dozens of times each day. But which are people’s favorites?
In the week leading up to his birthday, Visitphilly.com will find out the answer to this question in daily Facebook polls that encourage fans to vote for a quote.
Every day from January 13 to January 17, look for two quotes on facebook.com/visitphilly, and every Facebook follower who votes for their favorite will be entered to win a Franklin-themed getaway prize package, including hotel accommodations, admission to various Franklin-themed attractions, gift certificates for Franklin-inspired meals and more.
Parties, Processions, Tours & More
Beyond festivities at the Founding Father’s namesake museum, many Old City sites and organizations are all set to join in the birthday-weekend bash.
• Benjamin Franklin’s Birthday 2014 Celebration: Observing the World: Friday, January 17. Seminar, 9-10:30 a.m.; Procession, 11–11:45 a.m.; Procession starts at 427 Chestnut Street; ends at 5th and Arch streets. The American Philosophical Society (APS), one of the many organizations created by Ben, honors its founder during Benjamin Franklin’s Birthday 2014 Celebration: Observing the World. Representatives from various organizations bearing a Franklin birthright gather at APS and proceed to Franklin’s grave at Christ Church Burial Ground for a wreath-laying and tributes. Preceding the wreath-laying, residents and visitors are invited to a free seminar on observing the natural world from 9 to 10:30 a.m.
• Birthday Festivities at the National Constitution Center: Friday, January 17. 525 Arch Street. At the National Constitution Center, visitors can get their photo taken with a life-size statute of Ben in Signers’ Hall, sign his birthday card and then enjoy some birthday cake. In honor of Franklin’s 308th birthday, guests also enjoy $3.08 off general admission tickets.
More ways to celebrate Ben’s birthday (including free cake!), below.
• Benjamin Franklin Tippler’s Tour: Friday, January 17 and Saturday, January 18, 5:30-8 p.m. Historic Philadelphia Center, 6th and Chestnut streets. The over-21 set joins a Colonial guide for the Tippler’s Tour with Ben Franklin, a rollicking pub crawl with stops for drinks and snacks at four Old City establishments. Franklin himself joins the tour along the way and stays for a chat at City Tavern, the final stop.
• Franklin and Poe: Philadelphia’s Adopted Literary Sons: Friday, January 17 and Sunday, January 19, 4 p.m. 420 Chestnut Street. Throughout the 18th and 19th century, Philadelphia was a publishing powerhouse thanks in large part to Benjamin Franklin and Edgar Allan Poe. The Franklin and Poe: Philadelphia’s Adopted Literary Sons program in the Second Bank of the United States shares the duo’s literary accomplishments and their roles in shaping American culture.
• Happy Birthday Benjamin Franklin: January 17-19, 3 p.m. 420 Chestnut Street. More than three centuries after his birth, Franklin remains ageless in his many portraits. Ben buffs can join a National Park Service ranger for the Happy Birthday Benjamin Franklin program in the Portrait Gallery at the Second Bank of the United States. It highlights photos of Franklin and his contemporaries and touches on how their contributions continue to impact the world today.
• Ben Franklin’s Birthday Celebration: January 17-18, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., January 19, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Historic Philadelphia Center, 6th and Chestnut streets. At the Historic Philadelphia Center, revelers can meet Ben in person, listen to stories about the famed American and partake in other family-friendly activities during Ben Franklin’s Birthday Celebration. Free birthday cake at 1 p.m. on Friday, January 17!
Benjamin Franklin Birthday Weekend
When: January 17-19
Where: Multiple Old City locations, including the Benjamin Franklin Museum, Franklin Court, enter through Market or Chestnut Streets, between 3rd and 4th streets
Cost: Varies, mostly Free
More info: www.nps.gov/inde or www.visitphilly.com/ben