Holiday happenings at the Franklin Institute

Katherine Scott Image
Friday, December 13, 2019
Holiday happenings at the Franklin Institute
Holiday happenings at the Franklin Institute: Katherine Scott reports during Action News Mornings on December 13, 2019.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Look for special holiday happenings at the Franklin Institute this month!

Get your ticket to the Franklin Institute's Polar Express this Saturday, December 14.

Inspired by the holiday classic, seasons greetings and science collide on their authentic Baldwin 60,000 locomotive.

"If you want to learn about train science, mechanical science, sound science, snow science, you can join us here at Polar Express Day," exclaimed Al Leszczynski, a science interpreter for the Franklin Institute.

The Polar Express won't take you to the moon, but you'll feel like you're there if you head to Benjamin Franklin National Memorial until January 5.

Admission is free to see the photo-realistic sculpture, 23-feet in diameter, high resolution NASA imagery of the lunar surface, displaying each cliff and crater.

The museum will be open with extended hours from December 26 through the 30, with their "Noon Year's Eve" celebration on December 31.

"Creation Station," a special engineering space, is also back by popular demand from December 26 to 31.

Expect to see demonstrations as you wander the museum, but the winter-themed fun doesn't have to stop here.

Leszczynski showed 6abc two experiments people can try at home using common household products.

To make borax crystal snowflakes, you just need pipe cleaners, string, a pen, borax, and hot water.

"When you have your hot water, you want to add about three tablespoons of borax," Leszczynski explained.

Stir to dissolve. The liquid will have a milky look. Then arrange your pipe cleaners.

"I took my pipe cleaner, and I cut it into a few pieces and then wrapped them all together," continued Leszczynski.

Then you attach your pipe cleaner configuration to the string and pen, and lower it into the solution. Wait about 24 hours, and voila! You (hopefully) get a borax crystal snowflake as the borax crystals reform on the pipe cleaners.

To make reindeer's toothpaste, pour about a half cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide, which you can get at your local pharmacy, and add a big squirt of dish-soap. Add a few dyes for holiday coloring.

Combine hot water and dry yeast, and pour that mixture into the hydrogen peroxide concoction. Watch the bubbles overflow!

Leszczynski added that performing these experiments with your child helps spark and encourage curiosity.

"When you get to do it at home you get to be the scientist, and that's what I really like about these kinds of chemistry experiments."