This review of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter exhibit at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia tells you everything you really need to know about the exhibition before you go, as well as whether it's worth it.
Since the world premiere of this exhibit was first announced, it sold tickets at an all-time record speed in the history of the museum, with many dates sold out months before the exhibit even began!
As a book blogger, I visited the exhibit in its first week and am here to share my full review with you about it: all the details, tips to make the most of your experience, whether it's worth it, and photos from the exhibit.
Review of the Harry Potter Exhibition at the Frankin Institute in Philadelphia
The Franklin Institute museum in Philadelphia, located in Center City Philadelphia, at the intersection of 20th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
From February 18, 2022 - September 18, 2022
An immersive and interactive exhibit for fans of the Harry Potter movies, filled with costumes and props in impressive set designs. It also incorporates interactive, personalized technology with which visitors can engage, as well as movie clips.
Quick ticket details:
The Harry Potter exhibit is open 7 days a week from 9:30 am to 8 pm, with the last entry at 6:30 pm. (The Franklin Institute museum otherwise closes at 5 pm.)
Daytime prices generally range from $39-$43 per ticket, depending on age, military status, etc, and they include general admission to the full museum. Nighttime (5-8 pm) tickets are $30 each.
Member tickets are $20 each. There are no service fees, and general museum admission is included with daytime tickets for those who already have a Franklin Institute membership or who join the Franklin Institute.
You must buy your ticket for a specific date AND time, unless you buy VIP tickets.
VIP tickets ate $59 each and include an immediate-access pass, lanyard, and a discount on an audio tour and photo op. VIP tickets are valid for any timeslot on the date indicated at the time of purchase.
Groups pricing is available for groups of 15+, and the prices range from $24-$30 per ticket.
All guests ages 3+ are required to wear masks during their visit.
Small strollers are allowed.
First and foremost, wear your best Harry Potter gear! SO MANY fans came to the exhibit dressed in everything from Harry Potter shirts to Harry Potter scarves, Harry Potter wands, and full Harry Potter costumes, and it really added to both the fun and the communal experience!
If you can, try to go on a weekday. I heard the first weekend was immensely crowded. I went at 9:30 a.m. on a Wednesday, and I found the crowd to be manageable. I was worried at first because there was a line to get in, but I found the whole experience to be really well managed overall. The staff was well prepared and the Harry Potter exhibit itself is set up for dispersing guests within each setting.
Going early on a weekday also helps with parking. I was able to park at a meter right outside with no problem (and for only a few dollars). Otherwise, parking in this area can be a bit difficult. Parking in the Franklin Institute's garage is limited.
You can head south of the museum a few blocks and park at a parking garage in Center City, or you can head north towards the Free Library of Philadelphia and look for street parking. It's not impossible to find street parking near the Library, but it's also not extremely easy. The Franklin Institute is also a short walking distance from both Suburban Square and 30th Street train stations.
Plan to spend about 1.5 to 4 hours at the museum, depending on how much you want to experience in the museum outside of the Harry Potter exhibit. I spent about 1.5 hours in the exhibit itself. I estimate that most people will spend 1-2 hours inside the exhibit.
Is the Harry Potter Exhibit Worth It?
Below are my top six pros and cons of the Harry Potter exhibit, to help you determine if it's worth it for you.
- Laid out well to disperse crowds in each setting
- Staff was well prepared to manage crowds
- Fun community atmosphere of excited fans
- Feels immersive and interactive with elements of technology and magic
- Covers most of the important plots, settings, plots, and characters
- Designed to please both adults and children
- Expensive for a family or group visit
- Hard to get tickets due to popularity
- Non-refundable and non-transferable tickets
- May be crowded, depending on when you go
- Parking may be difficult, depending on when you go
- No rides or amusements like you would find at Universal Studios in Florida
The Harry Potter exhibit was worth it for me. I really enjoy seeing movie memorabilia in person, and I did feel like they were placed in a really interactive, impressive, very crowd-controlled environment. I thought that the price was fair, nearly everything I wanted to see was there, and the community of museum staff and guests maintained a fun and polite atmosphere.
Beyond the memorabilia, each guest receives a "golden snitch" wristband, by which you set up a profile with your favorite Hogwarts house, Patronus, and wand. You then scan this wristband throughout the exhibit to take photos and engage in other magical tasks, like casting spells! This element really takes the Harry Potter exhibition to the next level, especially for kids.
The exhibit may not be worth it if: you don't really enjoy movie memorabilia (or are a fan of the Harry Potter book series but not the movie series); you want a more amusement park type of experience; or you have a large family, as several tickets plus parking, food, and more can really add up to one expensive day.
Photos of the Harry Potter Exhibit
Below are photos I took of the Harry Potter exhibit during my visit. Of course, this means they are SPOILERS, and you should proceed only if you do NOT want to be fully surprised at the exhibition.
That being said, I did my best to leave A LOT out of these photos, so as not to spoil ALL the surprises for you. There's definitely a lot more at the Harry Potter exhibit beyond what's pictured below. These photos are meant to give you a general idea of what it's like.
That concludes my review of the Harry Potter exhibition. If you attend, I would love to hear your thoughts, tips, etc., in the comments below!
Related Harry Potter Posts
For more Harry Potter, I have tons of Harry Potter posts for you to explore. You can start with the following posts to get your gear ready to attend the Harry Potter exhibit: