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Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Camp Sharktooth - The Franklin Institute Edition

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Hi Blog!

It's time for another edition of "Camp Sharktooth." The last edition saw William in Maine with us. However, the trip back from Maine required a 12 hour car ride. We promised William we would not make him do another full day of driving. So for this visit to Cooperstown, New York, we decided to split up the drive by stopping at our daughter's house in Philadelphia. While Katie still needed to work, Kathy took William over to the Franklin Institute.

The Giant Heart at The Franklin Institute is a rite of passage for school children in the Greater Philadelphia area, as well as a “must do” for tourists visiting the city. The first heart was constructed in  1953 at a cost of $40,000, the “Engine of Life” exhibit, as it was originally called, was only supposed to be open to the public for six months. After the exhibit opened on January 29, 1954, visitors flocked to The Franklin Institute for a chance to walk through the four-ton, papier-mâche structure. Due to its immense popularity, The Franklin Institute made the exhibit a permanent attraction. 

Dr. Mildred Pfeiffer was a prominent physician and the Director of Cardiovascular Diseases at the Pennsylvania Department of Health. She often traveled around the state to deliver lectures about the heart and heart health. Dr. Pfeiffer explained how inspiration struck. “Suddenly one day it dawned on me: Why should I go all over? Why not establish a heart exhibit at The Franklin Institute? Kids go there all the time with their schools.” She enlisted the help of medical illustrator Richard Albany and engineer Albert Jehle to help her create a structure that was 100 times the width of a human heart. At 28-feet wide and 18-feet high, the Giant Heart is big enough to fit into a 220-foot tall person. Originally constructed of papier-mâche, chicken wire, and lumber, the Giant Heart has undergone many “surgeries” to keep it in healthy working order for so many decades.

Visitors can enjoy a full sensory experience, as they hear the “thump” of the heart while tracing the path that blood takes through the organ. William wasted no time rushing just like blood through the ventricles.

We spent some time exploring the giant map of Philadelphia. William retraced his route from Katie's house to the Franklin Institute. We also plotted a new route for the way home.

We spent a good bit of time in "Your Brain." This exhibit invites you to think about how you think. It's all about real life and what's happening inside your head everyday as your brain makes sense of the world around you. Here William is working with a brain scan.

The best part of the brain exhibit is the giant neural network that you can climb through. The pathways connect in many different ways allowing you to travel all over the brain.

We finished our Franklin Institute Visit with a trip to the planetarium where we learned all about the various satellites that are orbiting earth.

On our walk back to Katie's house, we found a farmer's market and picked up cheesecake and coffee to share with Dave. 

The highlight of the visit, however, was a chance to meet Katie's new puppy - Beth! 

 Tomorrow, we drive up to Cooperstown. Stay tuned for more Camp Sharktooth adventures.

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