This post is sponsored by the Fernbank Museum; however, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
The Fernbank Museum was always one of my favorite places to visit in Atlanta as a kid. I’m so happy that as an adult I’m able to now bring my own kids and share the experience with them! Bennett loves when I take him to Fernbank and always refers to it as the “Dinosaur Museum.” Although they do have several dinosaurs on the property, there is so much more to experience there!
We went to Fernbank last weekend on Mother’s Day. I thought it would be a great way to spend some time as a family together and also figured it might not be as crowded when we went. Fernbank Museum (including all exhibits, WildWoods and Fernbank Forest) and the Giant Screen Theater are open daily 10am to 5pm. Evening hours for ages 21+ available the 2nd Friday of each month during Fernbank After Dark. The museum is closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
NatureQuest is definitely a kid favorite and Bennett just loves this one the best! This is one of their newer exhibits which offers an interactive and hands-on experience for children to become little explorers, scientists and adventurers. The exhibit features a multi-level clubhouse, a hollowed-out oak tree with netting for the kids to climb, a bridge, an underwater sea explorer area, a virtual waterfall and even a little rock building area where the kids can build a wall and explore fossils.
A Walk Through Time in Georgia
A Walk Through Georgia is one of Fernbank’s signature exhibits, which features 15 galleries with theaters and dioramas that take you through the history and story of Georgia’s different geographic regions. It showcases Piedmont, the region in Georgia with the oldest rocks and finishes at the Coast and Barrier Islands, Georgia’s youngest region. The galleries also teach you about the chronological development of each area and include a Dinosaur Gallery (also one of Bennett’s favorites!) towards the end.
Reflections of Culture
The Reflections of Culture Exhibit teaches about what culture is and how it is expressed through a variety of contemporary and historic objects like clothing, jewelry, body art and more. This exhibit also features the Dorothy Methvin McClatchey Collection, to showcase the fascinating similarities among cultures throughout the world and the different ways of expressing cultural information through the things people create and wear.
World of Shells
The World of Shells offers a HUGE collection of shells that were found along the Georgia coast and sites throughout the world. The World of Shells also explains how shells are formed, how many different animals use them and also the life processes of shelled animals.
Giants of the Mesozoic
Its hard to miss this exhibit as the huge cast replicas of dinosaur bones tower through the Great Hall of the museum.
The exhibit also includes additional fossil casts to further demonstrate the diversity of prehistoric life in Patagonia. The simulated rockwork beneath the dinosaurs contains casts of animals and plants that lived during the Cretaceous period. Visitors will also find pterosaur and dinosaur tracks, remnants from an Auracaria tree, a fossilized crocodile and a turtle shell.
The fossilized bones remain in Argentina, where they are considered a national treasure.
Conveyed in Clay: Stories from St. Catherines Island
Conveyed in Clay: Stories from St. Catherines Island explores 5,000 years of human history, from the oldest pots discovered in North America to the introduction of Spanish majolica in the mission era. An array of objects including pinch pots, coil pots and other types of pottery are on display to show you the evolution of pottery and how the Native Americans adapted their clay art and artifacts over time. The oldest pottery in North America was actually discovered 5,000 years ago in Georgia, so this was so cool to see!
The Dinosaur plaza is the centerpiece at the entrance of the museum which includes a family of bronze dinosaurs on top of a fountain to greet families as they arrive at the Museum. The dinosaurs are a hadrosaur species known as Lophorhothon atopus, which once lived in the region that is now Georgia.
Fernbank is the first museum to ever create a display of Lophorhothon atopus.
This exhibit is normally one of my personal favorites, but it was actually closed when we visited and will remain closed until the summer of 2019. An all new STEM-rich exhibit, Fantastic Forces, will open in its place in the next few months. The museum did say that some components of the old Sensing Nature exhibit will be relocated to other areas of the museum.
Located in the Naturalist Center, this special gallery features rotating displays highlighting items from Fernbank’s permanent collection. Topics and themes change regularly. Currently on view is De Soto’s Footsteps: New Archaeological Evidence from Georgia.
Wildwoods and Fernbank Forrest
This is a new part of the museum that didn’t exist when I was kid and its one of Bennett’s favorite areas of Fernbank! Fernbank’s outdoor areas are open year-round, rain or shine, but may be closed in the event of dangerous conditions.
There are several different areas outside to explore:
WildWoods and Fernbank Forrest is 75 acres of new outdoor nature adventures that combine to highlight the natural world through immersive trails, educational programming, hands-on exhibits and beautiful scenery. They have a great outdoor play area called Nature Stories too, that Bennet absolutely loves. Within Nature Stories there is also the Creek Run that has flowing creek waters for the kids to play in.
Giant Screen 3D Theater
The museum also has a Giant Screen/3D theater where they feature several different science and animal themed films and documentaries. The movies are shown on a 4-story screen and make the whole movie experience incredible. While we were there, we saw the Great Bear Rainforest in 3D and Bennett basically had his little 4 year old mind blown.
Movie-only tickets are $13 for adults, $12 for seniors, $11 for children 12 and under and $8 for members. You can also upgrade your ticket to a combination movie and museum ticket as well if you are wanting to enjoy a full experience of the museum and all it has to offer.
We had such a great time at the Fernbank Museum and when we got in the car, Bennett said, “That was fun, I can’t wait to do it again.” When a four year old expresses how much fun they had without you asking, you know they had a good time! We will definitely be back later this summer to check out the new Fantastic Forces Exhibit and I will also be coming back on a Friday night (sans kids) for Fernbank After Dark. Be sure to check out my Instastories over on my Instagram account for more pictures and videos of our experience at Fernbank and as always, thanks for stopping by.