The Franklin Institute
Newton's apple icon

If Sir Isaac Newton could design a playground we think it would look a lot like this exhibit. When you enter this “playground of experimentation,” you’ll be fascinated with falling objects, chain reactions, and optical illusions that bring Newton’s laws to life in whimsical and artful ways. Pulleys, prisms, and pendulums captivate the mind and illuminate classic scientific principles.

Discover how a series of pulleys can allow you to lift your own body weight. Build a domino maze and create a chain reaction by toppling them all over. Gaze at optical illusions guaranteed to make you think your eyes are playing tricks on you! And don’t miss the new centerpiece of this exhibit— a George Rhoads kinetic sculpture that uses 18 smaller devices to circulate dozens of acrylic and golf balls. Its new name will be chosen from staff and visitor submissions, so make sure to drop your suggestion in the submission box next to it!

Things to Do and See in Sir Isaac’s Loft

  • ball moving down slide
    Test Newton's Laws of Motion

    Play with pulleys, prisms, and pendulums that demonstrate Sir Isaac Newton’s laws of motion. Falling objects, chain reactions, and optical illusions bring his laws to life in interactive and interesting ways.

  • A boy lifting himself on an interactive in Sir Issac's Loft at The Franklin Institute.
    Lift Your Body Weight with Ease

    Sit in a stationary chair and find out how easy it is to lift yourself when you use a series of pulleys to do it.

  • The Sand Pendulum interactive at the Sir Isaac's Loft exhibit at The Franklin Institute.
    Experiment with the Sand Pendulum

    Fill a small pendulum with sand and watch as it falls, creating a beautiful design as it traces the pendulum’s swinging pattern.

  • image of astro blaster device to transfer energy
    Discover how Energy is Transferred from One Moving Object to Another

    Test effects of energy transfer by launching the Astro Blaster.

Interactive Map



Map of the third floor, showing the locations of major, permanent exhibits.
Map of the third floor, showing the locations of major, permanent exhibits.