The Fernbank Museum of Natural History aims to foster an understanding of the natural world. Many of the exhibits are hands-on and designed for children. They can deliver a weather report, or walk through a waterfall hologram to discover what’s on the other side. Massive Replicas of the skeletons of two of the world’s largest dinosaurs fill the museum’s Great Hall. The museum also houses the largest movie screen in Atlanta.
There are nine permanent exhibits as well as traveling exhibitions spread across three floors encompassing 160,000 square feet (14,865 square meters). Getting to and from the museum, east of midtown Atlanta, is easy and fast. And you can easily spend half a day exploring the dozens of exhibits.
Start with a great photo-op right at the front entrance: the bronze dinosaur statues in Dinosaur Plaza. Realistic replicas of dinosaurs — or at least their skeletons — can be found in the Great Hall. Stare up at a 123-foot (37-meter) long Argentinosaurus, which appears to be hunted by a 47-foot (14-meter) long Giganotosaurus. The display is a recreation of the badlands in Argentina between 65 and 145 million years ago. Flying Pterodaustro and Anhanguera dinosaurs are suspended overhead to complete the scene.
The museum’s signature exhibit explores Georgia’s natural history through 16 galleries. Animals, plant life and fossils are preserved behind glass boxes. Lifelike dioramas recreate reefs, forests and caves.
The top floor of the museum has a multilevel playground for children. Virtual displays, live reptile exhibits, and a range of learning activities have earned it several national and international museum awards. There’s also a weather exhibit with a forecasting studio and tornado simulator.
The entire family will be impressed by the five-story IMAX Theater screen. The theatre shows science documentaries covering topics from butterflies to the Ice Age. Check the timetable on the museum’s website or at the ticket office in the museum.
The museum is open every day. Come on the weekend or late afternoon to avoid school groups. The parking lot is free but busy on weekends. MARTA buses stop nearby.