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Get Prepared! ‘The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Experience’ Comes to the Franklin Institute

Do you have what it takes? The Franklin Institute's most interactive exhibit yet is now open!

Based on the internationally best-selling survival handbook, that was created in Philadelphia (and just celebrated its 20th anniversary), “The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Experience” makes its world premiere at the Franklin Institute, bringing hands-on, immersive challenges that show visitors how to survive unexpected but possible “worst-case scenarios” in fun and thought-provoking ways.


This is seriously the most fun and interactive exhibit that the Franklin Institute has ever hosted, and you’ll definitely want to bring the whole family to get in on the action. The exhibit opens October 19 and runs through April 19, 2020.


“Josh [Piven] and I always dreamed of turning Worst-Case Scenario into an interactive experience, and we couldn’t be more excited about partnering with the Franklin Institute to make this come to life,” said co-author David Borgenicht. “Adults and kids will have a great time testing their limits, facing their fears, and learning to survive life’s sudden turns for the worst.”

The book’s three main pieces of advice are posted in large letters when you enter the challenges: 1) Be Prepared, 2) Don’t Panic, and 3) Have a Plan. In the exhibit, you can learn how to survive some of the book’s most memorable scenarios: jump from a moving train car, evade an animal attack, pick a lock, escape from quicksand, survive an avalanche (while in a giant ball pit), and more in the 13 challenges that fill the Survival Gymnasium!


Each challenge offers step-by-step instructions, expert advice, and the training to build the worst-case survival skills; all while keeping the witty tone from its source material. Plus, you can learn about anxiety and fear, read real-life survival stories, and hear problem-solving tips from narrator Burt Reynolds throughout the exhibit.



The Franklin Institute has designed this exhibit with an eye towards all ages—and as such, it can be enjoyed on many levels. So, while you are busy reading the graphics learning the steps to surviving different situations, your kids will probably be off climbing the walls to survive rising flood waters, hopping between simulated train car platforms, or sending balls up the vacuum tubes to create an avalanche in the ball pit.


And while you are learning survival skills in a light-hearted way, you are also learning science. The exhibit doesn’t just teach the “how” of survival, but also the “why.” In writing their book, Piven and Borgenicht consulted experts to explain concepts ranging from the body’s “fight-or-flight” instinct to physics to extreme weather conditions to psychology.


“The key to the book was that the information was real even though it was outlandish,” Piven explained, while wading waist-deep in balls.


The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Experience” opens October 19 and runs through April 19, 2020 at the Franklin Institute, located at 222 North 20th Street in Philadelphia. The exhibit is open from 9:30 am — 5 pm daily (with last entry at 3:30), and will also have evening hours, remaining open from 5 — 8 pm on Thursdays — Saturdays.


Tickets are $30 for adults and $26 for kids ages 3-11, but if you come during the evening hours, that drops down to $20 for adults and $15 for kids (Note: evening admission does not include general museum admission). Members pay just $9 ($8 for kids), and kids under age 3 are free. Use promo code WCMOMMY to receive $3 off daytime, adult admission to The Worst-Case Scenario: Survival Experience for up to 4 people. Visit fi.edu or call 215-448-1200 to order your tickets today!


Photographs by Laura Swartz.

Contributing Writer