Thursday, October 4, 2012

Walking Around Philadelphia

Around noon, I headed out back towards Independence Hall. Across the street from city hall, which itself is a very impressive old building, is a garden of statues. What I didn't expect was all of the old building completely surrounded by all the new, modern high rises. It is most apparant in the photo of Independence Hall. In all of the pictures I've ever seen, there was never a high rise building behind the bell tower. I guess that's why they have PhotoShop. It was a very hot and humid walk with the humidity occasionally turning into rain.

Not really knowing what to expect, I was pleasantly surprised to see that there wasn't even an admission charge to see the Liberty Bell. There was a short line in front of me but there was a nice little museum that I could explore until the crowd moved on. I'm not sure why tour groups feel that they all need to move around in a clump. After taking my photographs, I looked into one of the double decker bus tours around town but decided to pass on the $25 charge. I headed back towards the center of town stopping briefly to have a light lunch at a mall food court.

I stopped at the Franklin Institute which is a science museum but there were piles of school busses parked in front. There must have been a hundred people in line for admission plus it was $37. I also decided to pass. It may be a great museum but it was already 2:30pm and they would only be open for a couple more hours so it didn't seem worth it. There are numerous art museums right in the area around Logan Square so maybe tomorrow. I went to the Suburban Station which is where I will be catching the train to the airport tomorrow and there was another pretty nice shopping mall between all of the train and trolley areas.

Friday morning update - The Franklin Institute has multiple admission prices. Basic admission is $16.50, more reasonable amount. The higher admission gives you access to the Dead Sea Scrolls special exhibit and an IMAX movie.

The Franklin Institute is the oldest science museum in the U.S. and it was worth going to. The Exploratorium in San Francisco and OMSI in Portland have much more extensive exhibit space and more hands on exhibits. The planetarium show on black holes was pretty good though I don't have many others to compare it with. It would have been nice to see the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit as I have been fascinated with that since I was a kid...

The steam locomotive, a 350-ton Baldwin 60000, has been in the museum since 1933 after only a short time in service. It is huge! This shot is looking from the rear of the tender towards the front and, as you can see, the wheels of the tender are driven as well. Three boilers and coal fed by a screw into the firebox. The railroads decided that they didn't want such a heavy engine as it was increasing track maintenance costs so the engine was donated to the museum (yet to be built) and the building was built around the exhibit. The train does move as part of the exhibit (10.5 ft @0.06mph) and there was a wonderful staff member to guide visitor through the operation of a steam locomotive.

If you thought that typing on an iPad keyboard was awkward, try this typewriter. The inverse circular arrangement of the keys would really make it difficult.

One of the major attractions is a walk-through heart and I couldn't figure out a way to get a decent photo, but this bone bench seemed almost as interesting to my mind.

11 comments:

BeemerGirl said...

Hmm...I guess I will have to look up the Franklin Institute to see why they charge so much. Otherwise, the walk looked great! Like you, I haven't seem the high rises around the bell tower. The magic of photo manipulation. Either that or really big mirrors. ;)

Conchscooter said...

I thoroughly enjoyed the history of Philadelphia when I went years ago but I like history so ot was bound to leave a mark. It's a bit early isn't it to be fleeing the snowfields of Alaska for the civility of the Lower 48?

Trobairitz said...

So much history in that part of the country. It is nice you were able to take time and walk around.

I would have to agree, it is odd to se the high rises by the Liberty Bell tower

redlegsrides said...

crowds....something to avoid at all costs....

dom

Unknown said...

Richard:

I'm with Dom, I dislike crowds and will generally head the opposite direction. I have never been anywhere with lots of history.

bob
Riding the Wet Coast
My Flickr // My YouTube

RichardM said...

The ridiculous price is due to the special exhibit.

I really enjoy wandering around to see new areas and in this case, I was warned about the historical buildings being completely surrounded by high rise office buildings.

RichardM said...

Yes, it is a bit early to flee from the Alaska snowfields especially since we don't have any yet. But I don't have a lot of control of when and where these meetings are being held. This is the last Fall meeting for Internet2. From now on, there will only be the Spring meetings. They are revamping more than just the timing, I hear....

RichardM said...

Yes, lots of history on this side of the continent. I am glad that I hade the opportunity to wander around and visit other areas of the country. But don't enjoy wandering in cities as much...

RichardM said...

That;s why I don't get to Denver very often, too many people...

RichardM said...

Wait a minute, you live in the middle of a crowded city that just recently hosted the Olympics and you don't like crowds!?

You visited China recently and they have a whole lot more history than just about anywhere in North America.

Unknown said...

Richard:

I was talking about wandering around the city, not being on a Tour bus being shown what the Government wants you to see and not see. I never mentioned anything about my impressions of China but I felt that we were prisoners on our bus, and also we had to go to some Government stores to listen to their sales pitches and nearly forced to buy; Jade, Silk, Tea all the while listening to propaganda about how great their Country is and what they have accomplished. We were shown buildings, bridges that took great engineering feats to complete. Our tour was sponsored by the Government of China. I tried to escape from one presentation, and hid in the Garden area. A search party was dispatched to find me. I tried to talk my way out of attending but I couldn't. We were all captive and we were locked in the presentation room so we couldn't leave. Also our bus has special permits. I noticed the official stamps on the front, but could not read the Chinese Characters. There were official looking signatures on it and allowed our bus to go to segregated areas where locals are not allowed. They were not even allowed into our Western Hotels.

so I was referring to wandering around without supervision. I have many opinions of our China visit but I feared not to post them as they may have files on us. Everywhere we went we had to surrender our passports so they knew where we were and what we saw. They were watching . . .

bob
Riding the Wet Coast
My Flickr // My YouTube