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Fernbank Science Center

Gaze at stars through one of the biggest public telescopes in the U.S. then explore the beautiful surroundings of this free, family-friendly attraction.

The Fernbank Science Center is a small museum on the edge of the Fernbank Forest, east of midtown Atlanta. It has a 500-seat planetarium and an observatory which houses one of the largest telescopes for public viewing in the U.S. There are domestic and companion animals on display, and exhibitions that demonstrate scientific concepts, such as electricity. 

The main exhibit hall is split into two levels. Permanent exhibits are on the top floor and temporary exhibitions are on the bottom floor. The whole area is 9,000 square feet (836 square meters) and can be covered easily in a few hours. Leave extra time to visit the planetarium, or make another visit in the evening to see a demonstration at the observatory.

One of the most popular exhibits is the Apollo 6 space capsule, on display in the permanent gallery. Watch a short video of the last unmanned Apollo mission’s takeoff and journey. 

Kids will love the snakes, frogs, turtles and spiders on display, safely behind glass. One exhibit that’s always busy is the beehive that’s attached to the outside of the building and extends through to a glass case inside. It’s fascinating to watch the bees as they work to produce honey.

The planetarium is one of the biggest in the country, with a 70-foot (21-meter) dome and 500 seats. You’ll feel as though you’re traveling through space thanks to 100 special effects projectors. (Check online for a schedule of presentations.)

Look at real stars through a high-powered telescope in the observatory. Astronomers work the telescope and run question and answer sessions on Thursdays and Fridays (weather permitting).

The science center is open every day except Sunday and some national holidays. The exhibit hall and conservatory are free, but there’s a small entrance fee for planetarium shows. (Check the museum’s website for show times.)

Come by bus from central Atlanta. If you drive, there’s plenty of free parking.


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Lodging Near Fernbank Science Center

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The University Inn at Emory $114
Reviewed on May 11, 2019
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The University Inn at Emory

The University Inn at Emory

1767 North Decatur Road, Atlanta, GA
     
    3.7 of 5
    3.0 out of 5.0

    The facility is fine, very convenient for attending events Emory and the breakfast makes it nice too. It’s our second time staying here and we would stay again because of the convenience factor. Staff is great but the entire place could benefit from a good scrubbing.

    New! A Luxury Dwelling in an Atlanta Forest
    Reviewed on Feb 9, 2019
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    New! A Luxury Dwelling in an Atlanta Forest

    New! A Luxury Dwelling in an Atlanta Forest

    Atlanta, GA
       
      5.0 of 5
      0.0 out of 5.0

      The house is stunning. It is actually two units, a one bedroom, one bath below; and a three bedroom, 2 1/2 bath above. Both are very modern, comfortable, and well furnished. The views are stunning. Our only complaint - one of the rooms is listed as having two queen beds, and it has only one. Other ...

      Intown Carriage House
      Reviewed on Sep 27, 2017
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      Intown Carriage House

      Intown Carriage House

      Atlanta, GA
         
        5.0 of 5
        0.0 out of 5.0

        I stayed at this Carriage House for four months over the summer and really enjoyed my stay! This house was perfect for my needs, not too big not too small. Everything worked properly, and the washer and dryer were a great addition to have. The upstairs room was great for reading in the afternoon, ...

        Courtyard Atlanta Decatur Downtown/Emory $161
        Reviewed on Mar 10, 2019
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        Courtyard Atlanta Decatur Downtown/Emory

        Courtyard Atlanta Decatur Downtown/Emory

        130 Clairemont Avenue, Decatur, GA
           
          4.2 of 5
          3.0 out of 5.0

          The hotel is within walking distance of many excellent bars and restaurants as well as to a subway station should you desire to visit other parts of Atlanta including downtown, midtown, and the perimeter.

          20 min to Super Bowl 2019 & Walk to Decatur Square and Emory University
          20 min to Super Bowl 2019 & Walk to Decatur Square and Emory University

          20 min to Super Bowl 2019 & Walk to Decatur Square and Emory University

          Atlanta, GA
             
            0.0 out of 5.0

            Situated in Atlanta, this historic vacation home is 0.9 mi (1.5 km) from Emory University and 2.2 mi (3.5 km) from Fernbank Museum of Natural History. Decatur Courthouse and Decatur Square are also within 2 mi (3 km).

            Decatur Downtown Residential Triplex In Walking Neighborhood, 5 min Walk Marta!
            Reviewed on Dec 2, 2018
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            Decatur Downtown Residential Triplex In Walking Neighborhood, 5 min Walk Marta!

            Decatur Downtown Residential Triplex In Walking Neighborhood, 5 min Walk Marta!

            decatur, GA
               
              4.5 of 5
              0.0 out of 5.0

              Great location, it was an easy walk to downtown Decatur. We were visiting for a wedding in Decatur so this was absolutely perfect. We were able to walk to the wedding and explore the town the rest of the weekend. Easy check in / out with the lockbox. Place had everything we needed. Scott sent instructions ...

              Holiday Inn Express Atlanta - Emory University Area $138
              Reviewed on May 8, 2019
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              Holiday Inn Express Atlanta - Emory University Area

              Holiday Inn Express Atlanta - Emory University Area

              2183 N Decatur Road, Decatur, GA
                 
                4.2 of 5
                2.5 out of 5.0

                The front desk staff was great! They were friendly and professional. We enjoyed the breakfast.

                Superbowl Liii Ready House- in Historic Kirkwood
                Superbowl Liii Ready House- in Historic Kirkwood

                Superbowl Liii Ready House- in Historic Kirkwood

                Atlanta, GA
                   
                  0.0 out of 5.0

                  Located in East Side, this historic vacation home is within 3 mi (5 km) of Fernbank Museum of Natural History, Emory University, and Little Five Points. Variety Playhouse is 2.1 mi (3.3 km) away. East Lake Station is 10 minutes by foot and Edgewood-Candler Park Station is 29 minutes.