Our Guide To The Philadelphia Science Festival’s Huge Free And Family-Friendly Science Carnival On The Parkway This Saturday, May 2

Philadelphia Science Festival
The ever-popular Philadelphia Science Festival wraps up this weekend with an enormous Science Carnival on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Saturday May 2. (Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia)

The brilliant and brainy bonanza that is the Philadelphia Science Festival wraps up its 2015 festivities on Saturday, May 2 in grand fashion.

Organized by the folks at The Franklin Institute and presented by The Dow Chemical Company, the Philadelphia Science Festival is now in its fifth year and is bigger, better and smarter than ever.

This Saturday brings the annual festival’s blockbuster Science Carnival on the Parkway, a free six-hour science extravaganza showcasing more than 175 exhibitors and continuous (and educational!) fun — from family-friendly experiments and interactive games to a ton of food trucks and plenty of live entertainment.

With so many ongoing activities — more than 150! — a large stage, indoor shows and 12 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 and eight key locations, 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, Climate City in Aviator Park and Robot Row adjacent to The Franklin Institute on Winter Street.

An envoy of 12 city’s top food trucks will be situated on 21st Street between Winter Street and the Parkway, dishing festive fare throughout the day. Look for the likes of Chewy’s, Little Baby’s Ice Cream, Mac Mart Cart, Oink and Moon BBQ, Taco Mondo, Vernalicious and more.

The entire festival is completely free, with food and drink available on a pay-as-you-go basis. Tens of thousands of attendees are expected at this fest, now in its fifth year, so be prepared for crowds.

For the complete festival map, see below.

Philadelphia Science Festival
Featuring tons of events over nine days, the Philadelphia Science Festival is both one of the longest festivals of the year as well as one of the most popular, drawing 95,000 people in 2014. (Photo courtesy Philadelphia Science Festival)

More 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 at the Philadelphia Science Festival.

Try starting in Aviator Park with Climate City, a group of exhibitors from organizations like the Clean Air Council, Fairmount Water Works and Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.

Next, hit up Robot Row to check out the innovative robotics projects of groups from more than half a dozen schools and science organizations.

On the Free Play Stage at 21st Street, live action entertains all day with both activities and performances. Check out music from The Plants and tricks from juggler Greg Kennedy, and look for The Franklin Institute’s Science Showdown (shows at 11:30 a.m. and 1:20 p.m.), an action-packed live battle to determine which participating scientist reigns supreme.

Also, be sure not to miss the explosive 10 Trash Can Salute in front of The Franklin Institute at 3:45 p.m. on 20th Street.

From there, the sky is the limit with exploration activities from such partners as Dow, PECO, Comcast and The Boeing Company, plus more than 100 other activities from organizations including American Helicopter Museum & Education Center, The 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.

Science Festival
The Philadelphia Science Festival closes out with a carnival on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on May 2. (Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia)

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, bike share — try Indego! — or by public transportation via SEPTA.

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

Check out the Science Festival map, below, and the complete program of events here.

See you on the Parkway!

The 2015 Philadelphia Science Festival Carnival on the Parkway

When: Saturday, May 2, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Where: Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Cost: Free

For even more on this blockbuster event, check out tons of photos on Visitphilly.com in the


For many more Philadelphia spring festivals, check out


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