Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute: The Giant Heart

Ben Franklin Sculpture

The Giant Heart: A Healthy Interactive Experience is an icon at the Franklin Institute.

Giant heart

Children can walk through it as if they were blood traveling around the heart.

Giant heart close up

Built in 1954 and renovated in 2004, the giant heart is 2 stories tall.

Giant walk-through heart

In the same exhibit, the heart spiral shows the different sizes of animal hearts. At the top is a model of the beaked whale and at the bottom of the spiral is a model of a canary’s tiny heart.

Animal heart models

You can press the buttons to listen to the animals’ heart rates. The beaked whale has a heartbeat of 20 beats per minute, and the canary has a heart rate of 800 beats per minute.

animal heart rates

At the blood fountain, you can learn about red blood cells, platelets, and white blood cells.

red blood cells

Another display shows how blood can be different colors. Iron gives fish and humans red blood. Copper gives octopuses blue blood. Nickel gives butterflies green blood, and vanadium gives sea cucumbers yellow blood.

nickel gives caterpillars green blood

The Franklin Institute is expanding with a new building scheduled to open in the summer of 2014. The new pavilion will include an exhibit on the human brain.

 Ben Franklin close up sculpture



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