Wagner Free Institute of Science, Philadelphia

4.6
Founded in 1855, the Wagner Free Institute of Science is dedicated to providing free public education in science. Its programs include free courses and lectures, field trips and lessons for children and museum tours for all ages. The evening science courses are in their 157th year, making them the oldest program devoted to free adult education in the United States. The Institute also has a strong commitment to children’s science education and offers a range of programs for school groups and through partnerships with neighboring schools and community groups.

The Institute’s Museum houses more than 100,000 natural history specimens, a collection begun by founder William Wagner in the early nineteenth century and expanded by the pre-eminent scientist Joseph Leidy in the 1880s. Completed in 1865, the Institute’s National Historic Landmark building is essentially unchanged since the late-nineteenth century and includes a Victorian Exhibition Hall filled with fossils, shells, minerals and mounted animal skeletons and skins displayed in original wood and glass cabinets. The Museum is open to visitors Tuesdays - Fridays, 9 AM to 4 PM, year-round. Evening and weekend programs are offered during the fall, winter and spring. Plan your Wagner Free Institute of Science visit and explore what else you can see and do in Philadelphia using our Philadelphia trip itinerary maker site .
Create an itinerary including Wagner Free Institute of Science
map
© OpenMapTiles © OpenStreetMap contributors
Wagner Free Institute of Science Reviews
Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
9 reviews
Google
4.8
TripAdvisor
  • The Wagner is a rad museum that even many Philly residents have never heard of--I always recommend it to visitors and it can be a great alternative (or complement) to the Mutter. Free/donation museum....  more »
  • Wow, what a great place!The collections are meticulously organized and maintained with species and organisms from all over the world. If you're interested in natural history, earth science, or...  more »
Google
  • Kids loved it. There was so much to see in the glass cases. Pictured is everyone acting like an orangutan. I could have spent hours looking at everything but the kids lasted about 45 mins. I prepped them by saying that a little boy collected all the creatures and rocks and kept doing it until he got old and used what he found to teach other people. They seemed to like that. Tips- no place to park stroller. Had to carry it into the hall and they kept it for me in the staff room. -very close access to Cecil b Moore stop on septa. -not very busy in the morning until a school group came in. -except for the horse there wasn’t anything else that was touchable in the museum.
  • One of the most remarkable attractions in North Philadelphia! This free museum, founded in 1855, feels like an elaborate time capsule, with an extensive collection of fossils, geologic specimens, and taxidermied animals dating back to the 19th Century. I could have spent hours exploring the glass cases. The building also has a historic lecture hall, and the institute sponsors classes and lectures year-round. I kept expecting Darwin to pop out from behind a doorway to point out his latest find. If you're in the Temple area and are looking for an interesting pit-stop, this is your best bet. I still can't believe something like this is offered free-of-charge.

Plan your trip to Philadelphia

  • Get a personalized plan

    A complete day-by-day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it

    Refine your plan. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Manage it

    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.

Popular things to do in Philadelphia

View all ›
4.5
Duration:1​h
4.7
Duration:2​h
4.7
Duration:1​h 30​min
5.0
Duration:2​h

Side trips from Philadelphia

4.8
Duration:3​h
4.0
Duration:8​h
3.3
Duration:2​h
5.0
Duration:2​h

Museums in Philadelphia

View all ›
4.6
Duration:3​h
4.5
Duration:2​h 30​min
4.7
Duration:2​h 30​min
4.7
Duration:2​h

Hidden gems in Philadelphia

4.9
Duration:3​h
4.6
Duration:1​h
4.4
Duration:1​h
5.0
Duration:2​h

Historic Sites in Philadelphia

View all ›
4.6
Duration:30​min
4.5
Duration:1​h
4.6
Duration:1​h
4.8
Duration:2​h

Nearby attractions in Philadelphia

4.7
Duration:1​h 30​min
4.3
Duration:30​min
4.7
Duration:4​h
5.0
Duration:3​h
3.8
Duration:2​h 30​min
4.8
Duration:2​h 30​min