Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center
The nation’s first municipal water treatment center
The Fairmount Water Works, one of Philadelphia’s architectural icons, now is an exciting combination of environmental education, architectural history and cultural heritage. Tucked beneath the decks of this National Historic Landmark, the Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center is a very hands-on, very interactive exhibit using computers, joysticks, buttons and videos to highlight the City’s water resources.
Push one button to create a rainstorm and follow the water’s path through watersheds. Push another and you’re operating the watershed flight controller. Or follow the cycle of water from the river to your kitchen sink. A short video traces the origins of the Water Works, the nation’s first municipal water system, and makes the engineering not only understandable but interesting, too.
Perched on the banks of the Schuylkill River, the Water Works was not only a source of the City’s water, its rambling Classic architecture and cutting-edge engineering made it an international 19th century tourist attraction. Water was pumped from the river into a reservoir (where the Art Museum now stands) and then distributed through the city via wooden water mains.
The pathway along the outdoor River Esplanade offers additional exhibits and stunning views of Boathouse Row.
“Pollutionopolis” has a high ‘yuck’ factor, always a hit with kids. They’ll also enjoy sending e-mail postcards to their friends.
In the neighborhood
Museums & Attractions
N. 18th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway Philadelphia, PA 19103
- Dilworth Park
- The Comcast Center
- All Wars Memorial to Colored Soldiers and Sailors
- Yinka Shonibare MBE: Magic Ladders
at the Barnes Foundation
- Three-Way Piece Number 1: Points
- Prometheus Strangling the Vulture
- Making A Classic Modern:
Frank Gehry’s Master Plan for
the Philadelphia Museum of Art
- Henry J. Cadbury Library
- KAWS @ PAFA
- View more attractions
Restaurants & Dining