Super Spring Saturday Festival: Our Guide To The Philadelphia Science Festival’s Free Carnival On The Parkway This Saturday, May 3

The Philadelphia Science Festival culminates in a blowout block party-style festival on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway this Saturday, May 3. (Photos by M. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia)

The awesomely nerdy extravaganza that is the Philadelphia Science Festival finishes out its 2014 festivities this year on Saturday, May 3 in grand fashion.

Organized by the clever people at The Franklin Institute and presented by The Dow Chemical Company, the Philadelphia Science Festival is now in its fourth year and is bigger, better and brainier.

This Saturday brings the annual festival’s blockbuster Science Carnival on the Parkway, a free six-hour science bonanza showcasing more than 140 exhibitors and continuous (and educational!) fun — from family-friendly experiments and interactive games to a bevy of food trucks and plenty of live entertainment.

With oodles of ongoing activities — more than 100! — two stages, indoor shows and 10 food trucks, this year’s festival asks a huge range of questions and answers via excellent family-friendly and adult-oriented engagement.

Read on for our guide to the food, free entertainment and educational fun. Check out the festival map below and the complete lineup of all the events and activities right here.

The Layout

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Science Carnival on the Parkway will fill a five-block area of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway between 22nd and 20th streets, as well as a block of Winter Street and 20th Street, directly out front of The Franklin Institute.

Organized into six zones, each area hosts a huge range of non-stop activities — from family-friendly experiments to interactive games and blowout performances.

With so much to see and do, there’s never a dull moment, but a few key areas include the Free Play Park Stage along the Parkway at 21st Street, the Space Zone in Aviator Park, the food trucks on 21st Street, and the Cerebral Center just inside The Franklin Institute.

Tens of thousands of attendees are expected at this fest, now in its fourth year, so be prepared for crowds.

The Food & Drink

Come hungry. An envoy of the city’s top food trucks will be situated on 21st Street between Winter Street and the Parkway.

A group of 10 fine trucks will dish festive fare throughout the day. Look for The Cow and the Curd, Farm Truck Philly, Just Jackie’s, Little Baby’s Ice Cream, Luke’s Lobster, Oink and Moo BBQ, Payne Catering, P.J. Whelihan’s, Prime Stache and Sweet Box Cupcakes.

The Philadelphia Science Festival's Science Carnival on the Parkway packs more than 175 exhibitors into six hours of brainy fun. (Photo by M. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia)

For more on the Science Carnival on the Parkway, see below.

The Activities & Entertainment

With so many collaborators and activities to take in, it’s tough to know where to begin.

Try starting at the Cerebral Center just inside The Franklin Institute for a sneak peek of what’s coming to the museum when the hotly anticipated Your Brain exhibition opens in the new Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion on June 14.

On the Free Play Stage at 21st Street, live action entertains all day with both activities and performances. Check out music from Alex & The Kaleidoscope Band and comedy from The Funny Guy, and don’t miss The Franklin Institute’s Science Showdown (shows at 10:50 a.m. and 1:05 p.m.), an action-packed live battle to determine which participating scientist reigns supreme.

From there, the sky is the limit with space exploration activities in the Space Zone from such partners as The Boeing Company and NASA’s Space Launch System Program, plus more than 100 other activities from organizations including AT&T, American Helicopter Museum & Education Center, The Clay Studio, Philadelphia Zoo, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, The Academy of Natural Sciences, Fairmount Water Works, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of the Sciences and so many more. Whoa!

For more on all of the day’s activities, check right here.

Getting There & Staying Over

The folks at the Philadelphia Science Festival make it as easy as possible to navigate to the event.

With all of the Super Spring Saturday events taking place around town, you can bet that the city will be very busy on Saturday. Should you drive, there are parking lots at 18th and Cherry streets, 19th and Arch streets and several others. For complete parking and driving directions, check here.

We recommend, though, that festivalgoers arrive on foot, by bike or by public transportation via SEPTA.

Or, you could just make a weekend out of the festival and stay overnight in Philadelphia. Check out for super deals on hotel stays and the Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package.

Check out the full Science Festival map, below.

See you on the Parkway!

Science Carnival on the Parkway
When: Saturday, May 3, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Where: Benjamin Franklin Parkway between 20th and 22nd streets
Cost: Free
More info:


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