What a beautiful weekend in the Philly area … with the exception of a Flyers loss on Saturday. The wife and I took full advantage of the great weather, grilling up some burgers and dogs and sitting out on the deck on Friday night, and prepping for the second part of the weekend, by listening to the Rolling Stones Shine a Light cd … excellent, by the way, for Stones fans who want to hear deeper cuts in a live format.
Moving on to Saturday. We got up early, ate breakfast, and drove into the city to see the Star Wars exhibit at the Franklin (it used to be called the Franklin Institute, but since they are no longer conducting any science experiments, they had to get rid of the “institute.”). We probably should’ve taken the omens into account – we tried getting tickets on Friday, but were unable to do so on the Ticketmaster site (I really, really hate that company), as well as calling in (the ticket office closed at 5:00). I called on Saturday morning, and was able to reserve 2 tickets – apparently, this is a hot ticket to get, by the way.
We drove in, and immediately were knee deep in traffic on the Schuylkill Expressway – seriously, is there ever a time of day, week, month, or year that this highway is not congested? We luckily were able to park and get into the Franklin 10 minutes before our “tour” began. Speaking of the parking, if you’ve never parked at the Franklin, you REALLY are in for a treat. It’s especially wonderful if you are looking to get a spike in your blood pressure. First, the garage is uncomfortably tiny – so tiny, that at times they won’t even let SUV’s in – luckily, I don’t drive an SUV, so we were “lucky” enough to be granted entrance. The “hired help” that is supposed to guide one to open parking places obviously isn’t getting paid top dollar – customer service skills are on par with Comcast Cable. Additionally, they have no sense of where to even direct drivers to go, making an already hectic experience all the more hectic.
After finally parking, we went to will call to pick up our tickets … problem was, the lackeys working this booth were apparently also hired by the same people who hired the parking attendants. I gave them my confirmation number, along with my credit card and driver’s license. They asked me if my name was “Ben,” to which I did a double take – they had my id, and my credit card – both with my name on it … and just for the record, my name isn’t Ben. After about 5 minutes of the one guy just staring at his computer, he told me I need to get in the ticket line to purchase the tickets … um, isn’t that what will call helps to avoid? I was pissed, but I’d be getting even more pissed in just a couple of minutes.
The wife and I stood in line, and were finally called up to the ticket lady. We asked for tickets for the 11:30 show … she told us that she didn’t have anything available until 2:30. My wife nearly ripped her head off … we “mentioned” in a not-so-nice way that we had called and had preordered tickets but that the will call guy couldn’t find them. The lady took our confirmation number, and in seconds printed the ticket … she has a real future at the Franklin.
The tour itself was rather disappointing to me … it was more geared towards children, which is fine, showing how science and Star Wars sometimes are connected, and showing some science experiments. There were some Star Wars costumes, and some scant information about different characters and spacecraft, but all-in-all it was just as disappointing as the King Tut exhibit that was held there prior to Star Wars. The only “saving grace” was this one guy who flipped out on security because he lost his kids in the exhibit. He berated security for about 5 minutes, before the security guard said something along the lines of “maybe you should’ve kept a closer eye on your kids as opposed to the exhibit.” The man nearly flipped – typical uneducated South Philadelphian. He sure did his kids proud with his conduct.
This may be the last exhibit I ever go to at the Franklin.