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5 Museums to Visit in Philadelphia and Who to Take

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Bryn Mawr chapter.

As the sun shines for longer hours, the spring air draws individuals out of their sleepy winter demeanors. This new energy, coupled with the recent warmth, encourages a desire for more activity. Take the train to Center City, have a picnic on any patch of grass you can find, then check out one of these museums. Or go museum hopping. Good weather, stimulating conversation and enjoyable company should make for an excellent afternoon

1. The Mutter Museum

Photo courtesy of Heels and Wheels

Admission: Student – $13

Associated with the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, this museum contains various permanent and temporary exhibitions of medical oddities.

Who to go with: Your weird friend who has an obsession with strange diseases, your pre-med acquaintance, people who like horror movies and murder mystery novels, your friend who liked Nancy Drew or Sherlock Holmes as a child.

Who to NOT go with: anyone who faints at the sight of blood, anyone who would faint in general, people who are going through midlife crisis.

2. The Franklin Institute

Photo courtesy of Wooder Ice

Admission: $23

Named after Benjamin Franklin, the Franklin Institute is a science oriented museum.

Who to go with: your science major friends, anyone who would want to crawl around in a replica of a giant heart, your younger sibling when your family comes to visit you.

3. Adventure Aquarium

Photo courtesy of Visitorfun

Admission: $29.99

Although it’s not a museum or in Philadelphia in the strictest of terms, the Aquarium is always a fascinating glimpse at the depths of the oceans. Located in New Jersey, you can go to Philly and take a ferry to Camden, which despite its bad reputation is nowhere nearly as dangerous as people make it out to be.

Who to go with: your friend who is obsessed with shark week, anyone who has the patience to sit through all those terrible movies about sharks: Sharknado, Sharktopus, 2-Headed Shark Attack, Dinoshark etc (someone must be watching them because they keep making more), your biology major friends, anyone who has a deep nostalgia for their childhood and craves Dippin’ Dots, literally anyone. I can’t imagine who wouldn’t want to walk through a shark tunnel!

Who not to go with: your PETA friend probably.

4. Eastern State Penitentiary

Photo courtesy of Adventure

Admission: Student – $10

One of the most significant prisons in the US, and former dwelling of Al Capone before he was shipped off to Alcatraz, Eastern State Penitentiary offers prison tours, a slice of history that is not often associated with Philly and haunted house experiences come October.

Who to go with: your history buff friend, your slightly goth friend, your friend who is most likely to commit a ponzi scheme, anyone who would visit Alcatraz if they went to California.

Who not to go with: Anyone who is scared of ghosts.

5. Philadelphia Museum of Art

Photo courtesy of Visit Philly

Admission: Student – $14, Wednesday and Friday evenings are pay-what-you-wish

Any list of Philly museums is incomplete without including the iconic (steps of the) Philadelphia Museum of Art. It’s quite literally what it sounds like: Philadelphia’s museum… of art. Yet, although Philly is often overlooked next to New York or DC (we still don’t have a Ladurée), the art in this museum is wonderful and boasts many big names such as Van Gogh and Monet.

Who to go with: Any humanities major really but particularly (art) history majors, your film buff friend who’s obsessed with Rocky.

Who not to go with: your friend who doesn’t really enjoy looking at art but wants to appear cultured so they’ll post an Instagram of them looking at a Cezanne painting later, anyone who says “I could’ve done that” at art museums.

Enaas Sultan

Bryn Mawr '21

International studies major at Bryn Mawr College. I mostly write about TV shows, skincare, and getting through winter.
Audrey Lin

Bryn Mawr

Computer Science and Linguistics double major at Bryn Mawr College. Lover of bubble tea and anything matcha.