American Society for Cell Biology 2010 Convention Travel Guide

This American Society for Cell Biology 2010 Convention Travel Guide is customized for the estimated 9,000 attendees, who will be visiting Philadelphia for five days - Saturday, December 11, 2010, through Wednesday, December 15, 2010.

If you’re going to be attending, we’d like to welcome you to Philadelphia. It’s an honor to host your 50th Convention. And we’d like to present you with a travel guide, customized to your intellectual and professional interests. We are very proud that Philadelphia, since its inception in 1682, has always been a major center for medical and scientific research and education. Over the ensuing three-plus centuries, Philadelphia has developed many historic sites and tourist attractions, with a scientific theme - especially with biology and the life sciences.

Plus, since you’ll be here for five days, you should have plenty of time, outside of your professional obligations at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, to explore some of these uniquely Philadelphian science attractions. Many are just a short walk, SEPTA trip, or taxicab ride from not just the Convention Center itself, located at 12th and Arch Streets, but from the major Pennsylvania Convention Center Hotels as well.

Of course, you don’t have to talk shop, during the whole time you’re here. Philadelphia is too much fun for that.

You'll Be Here During 2010 Army - Navy Game Weekend

Coincidentally, you'll be in town during the same weekend as the 2010 Army - Navy Game, the 111st game in the ancient rivalry, which is traditionally - and frequently - played in Philadelphia. This year's game is at 2:30 PM, on Saturday, December 11, 2010, at Lincoln Financial Field in South Philadelphia.

There are many related events around town, even for those who can't attend the game (Army-Navy tickets are very difficult to come by). Just click the link above for 2010 Army - Navy Game Events, many of which take place around the city at different attraction, and which every visitor can enjoy.

On this site, you can read through the Philadelphia Christmas 2010 Events, many of which are ongoing, throughout December 2010 – and ones that you just can’t find in other cities. We also have a complete section on December 2010 Events in Philadelphia.

We've organized these by section - and let's start with the many Christmas attractions, within a stone's throw of the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

Christmas 2010 Ongoing Events in Philadelphia

Macy's Philadelphia, 13th and Market Streets - The Former John Wanamakers Department Store - The Macy's Holiday Light Show and Dickens Village - A Christmas Carol

Macy's Philadelphia location is at 13th and Market Streets, literally across the street from the Philadelphia Marriott Hotel, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. It is a National Historic Landmark in the Beaux Arts style, constructed by pioneering department store owner John Wanamaker, back in 1904.

The building is an attraction in its own right, due to its Grand Court. But what packs in the crowds are two free of charge Christmas attractions - the Macy's Holiday Light Show and the Macy's Dickens Village - A Christmas Carol. Best of all, Macy's is open after business hours, as are the two attractions - you can read the hours by clicking on the respective links, below.

The Macy's Holiday Light Show, the Former John Wanamakers Light Show, Has Entertained Since 1956

The John Wanamakers Christmas Light Show debuted in 1956, and now known as the Macy's Holiday Light Show has been a beloved Philadelphia Christmas tradition for over half a century. It survived the conversion of John Wanamakers first to Lord & Taylor and now to Macy's.

The Macy's Dickens Village - A Christmas Carol - You Can Walk Through Victorian London Amidst Scenes From the Novel

The Macy's Dickens Village - A Christmas Carol debuted in 1985 at the former Strawbridge & Clothier Department Store, now closed, at 8th and Market. Starting in Christmas 2006, it shifted to Macy's, and it is now on the third floor, so you can see both the Light Show and the Dickens Village.

It is an extraordinarily artistic achievement, as you can literally walk the streets of Victorian London, and see animatronic figures of the characters, in various scenes from the beloved novel A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

Christmas Village in Philadelphia - A Traditional German Christmas Market at City Hall

Only slightly further from Macy's Philadelphia, is the Christmas Village in Philadelphia, at Philadelphia City Hall. This was begun by a German-American organization in 2008, to create a traditional Christmas village, similar to those in Germany. It has vendors and entertainment, at Broad and Market Streets (Broad is the equivalent of "14th Street").

The Comcast Holiday Spectacular in HD, Also Begun in 2008, Can Be Seen in the Lobby of the Comcast Center at 17th and Arch Streets

About two blocks west of Christmas Village is the Comcast Holiday Spectacular in HD, which also debuted in 2008. This cutting-edge Christmas show takes place on a gigantic wall in the lobby of the building, and has become a new can't-miss Christmas tradition in Philadelphia. Also, like the Macy's attractions and Christmas Village, you can see the Comcast Holiday Spectacular after business hours.

Benjamin Franklin - America's First Scientist

Benjamin Franklin - the greatest Philadelphian of all time (although, ironically, he spent his childhood in Boston) – was also the greatest American scientist of the 18th century, and one of the greatest scientists, ever.

His scientific achievements, many of which took place well in advance of the events of the Revolutionary War, had made him universally admired throughout the Atlantic world, during the Enlightenment. These feats propelled him to yet another first – he was the first American celebrity, to be known worldwide. Many of the historic sites and attractions discussed below are related to Franklin, scattered throughout Center City.

American Society for Cell Biology 2010 Convention Travel Guide – Philadelphia Science Attractions - East of the Pennsylvania Convention Center

Franklin Court, located on Market Street between 3rd and 4th Streets, is a fascinating, subterranean museum, dedicated to the great American, on the site of his one-time home in Philadelphia. It is free of charge, run by Independence National Historical Park.

Nearby, you can visit Franklin's Grave, located at the Christ Church Burial Ground at 6th and Arch Streets (ironically, it's not adjacent to Christ Church, which is at 2nd and Market Streets).

You can take the official tour if you like, but you can visit Franklin's grave 24 hours a day, as you can see it through the wrought iron fence, along with a plaque commemorating his countless achievements. Tradition dictates that you pitch pennies for good luck, onto the graves of Franklin and his wife Deborah; the pennies help Christ Church to maintain the graveyard.

The Physick House – 321 South 4th Street, 4th Between Spruce and Pine Streets in Society Hill – Home to Dr. Philip Syng Physick, the “Father of American Surgery” – And the Inventor of Soda Pop

Over in Society Hill, you can visit the magnificent Physick House, the most prominent example of Federal architecture in one of Philadelphia’s oldest and most prestigious neighborhoods. It is particularly noteworthy as a 32-room, stand-alone residence in a neighborhood of rowhouses.

However, what is likely to be of greater interest to you as scientists, is its one-time occupant, Dr. Philip Syng Physick, the aptly named “Father of American Surgery” – who also invented soda pop! He was a close friend and contemporary of Benjamin Franklin.

Among Dr. Physick’s innovations were the stomach pump, cat gut sutures, the suggestion that yellow fever was due to unsanitary public conditions, and cataract surgeries. His invention of soda pop came in 1807, when he decided to try carbonated water as a treatment for patients suffering from gastric disorders. He also opted to flavor it with sugar to make it more palatable for patients – and soda pop was born!

The Physick House was originally commissioned in the 1780s, by a wealthy wine merchant, Henry Hill, who had the misfortune to die of yellow fever in 1798. 17 years later, in 1815, at age 47, Dr. Physick moved into the house after Hill’s death, along with his seven children, after divorcing his wife, Elizabeth Emlen. He lived there for 22 years, until his death in 1837; the house is interpreted as it would have been during Dr. Physick’s residence in the early 19th century.

Pennsylvania Hospital, at 800 Spruce Street, Is The Oldest Hospital in America, Co-Founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1751

Located a few blocks west of the Physick House - 800 Spruce Street, i.e., 8th and Spruce Streets - is Pennsylvania Hospital, the oldest hospital in America. Co-founded by Franklin and Dr. Thomas Bond, it remains in service to patients to this day, with 25,000 patients admitted and 4,200 births a year. It is now part of the University of Pennsylvania Hospital system (although don't confuse it with Penn's main campus hospital, which is much further away, in University City, west of 30th Street Station.)

You can tour the Pennsylvania Hospital museum, library, and collections, as well as admire its architecture, a mix of Georgian and Federal styles, and its garden, originally used to grow herbs for remedies.

Guided tours are available on Thursdays and Fridays, at 10:00 AM and 1:00 PM. You can also take a self-guided tour, Monday through Friday, during normal business hours. Pennsylvania Hospital recommends a $4.00 donation for the guided tours; $2.00 for the self-guided tour brochures. To register for a guided tour, call 215.829.3370.

American Society for Cell Biology 2010 Convention Travel Guide – Philadelphia Science Attractions, West of the Pennsylvania Convention Center

The Logan Circle Science Museums - The Franklin Institute – 19th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, and the Academy of Natural Sciences

Among the many Franklin tributes, the most significant is Philadelphia’s premier science museum, the Franklin Institute.

A gigantic statue of a seated Franklin graces the front lobby and greets you when you arrive. It bears a strong resemblance to the portrayal of , at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. The Franklin Institute is a cutting-edge science center, with the Fels Planetarium, an IMAX theater, and myriad ways to make science fun and entertaining, as well as educational.

Its signature attraction, and the must-see when you’re there, is its replica of a human heart, the Giant Heart - one which is large enough to walk through!

Created in the mid-20th century, it was originally intended to be a mere temporary exhibit. But the Giant Heart's unexpected popularity has made it the Franklin Institute’s best-known attraction. Generations of Philadelphians and visitors alike, have learned the basics of the human heart, through this one-of-a-kind exhibit; you play the role of the blood passing through the various chambers.

A Must-See, Blockbuster, Temporary Exhibit at the Franklin Institute - Cleopatra: The Search for the Lost Queen of Egypt

You're in luck, that you'll be able to visit the latest blockbuster, temporary exhibit at the Franklin Institute: Cleopatra: The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt, which is nearing the end of its long run. It opened to the public on June 5, 2010, and its final day open to the public is January 2, 2011, the day after New Year's Day. It has received rave reviews, and with five days here, you have to figure out a way to squeeze Cleopatra into your schedule.

The Academy of Natural Sciences

More than two centuries old, the Academy of Natural Sciences is also a mainstay of Philadelphia science tourist attractions. It is best known for the dinosaur statues outside its entrance.

Both of these science museums are conveniently located on Logan Circle, several blocks from the Pennsylvania Convention Center. You can cover it on foot, but if it's too cold or windy, or you're pressed for time, you can take a short taxicab ride.

The Mütter Museum of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia

Philadelphia has what can only be concisely described as a unusual museum of biology, medicine, and medical history - the Mütter Museum of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia.

We should note that a visit to the Mütter Museum is not for the squeamish, as it is a remarkable collection of medical and biological oddities and anomalies, originally accumulated by a 19th-century medical professor named Mütter, who bequeathed the collection to its current owners. But you're scientists, so you'd probably really enjoy it. (Trust us, the Mütter Museum is something that you're only going to experience in Philadelphia!)

The Mütter Museum is over at 22nd Street, so it's a pretty far walk; we'd recommend the cab from the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

(Note: You may read about the Phlash Trolley, designed for out-of-towners - it's a great service, but unfortunately for your convention, it only runs from May 1 to October 31. We wish it were running year-round.)

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