Franklin Institute Opens New SportsZone Exhibit

Franklin Institute opens a new Sportszone exhibit.

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Franklin Institute opens a new Sportszone exhibit.

Rose Ni and Eugene Kim

Students in Cherry Hill can fondly remember the field trips to the Franklin Institute during their elementary school years. Some favorites of the museum were the giant, two-storied heart and the surfboard balancing trial. The old surfboard is the only remaining display from the old “Sports Challenge” exhibit which was recently replaced by the new, permanent “SportsZone” exhibit.

The “SportsZone” project started in 2013 and this brand new 3.1 million dollar project provides visitors with hands-on displays to show how fitness, sports, safety and technology are connected. Simulations and interactive experiences are designed to explain the central concepts of health, equipment, mechanics and motion behind common physical activities involved in sports such as throwing, jumping and running.

SportsZone is targeted toward elementary and middle schoolers, and has educational activities for every level that help improve athletic ability by increasing understanding of how an athlete’s body works while doing different sports.

Larry Dubinski, president and CEO of the Franklin Institute, said to Bucks Local News, “You can learn about sports, you can play sports, and you can show how sports science and equipment all come together.”

In the center of the SportsZone lies Athletes in Action, a 40-foot long race track that lets visitors race side-to-side with virtual athletes such as Eagles wide receiver Jordan Matthews, in-line speed skater Brian Talley and even the Philly Phanatic.

“The goal of SportsZone is to showcase how science connects to the human body through technical innovation and the laws of motion. In addition to the run, there are 21 interactive experiences that illustrate the impact science has in preparation and performance in all athletes,” said Dubinski.

The SportsZone exhibit is divided into three sections. The first set of displays, called “Ready?”, which focuses on preparing your body before engaging in physical activity. Visitors can see how nutrition and warming up plays a big role in sports performance. The second section, called “Set?”, highlights the importance of safety equipment and the impact of improved sports technology. Finally, the third section is called “Go!”, which analyzes visitors’ performance in running, jumping, pitching and balancing. Motion-tracking, slow-motion video technology helps visitors see how they can perfect their technique.

SportsZone is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m and is included in the General Admission for the museum which is $19.95 for adults and $15.95 for children ages 3 to 11. Stop by the Franklin Institute and head to the third floor if you want to learn how sports and science come together at this exciting experience.