In Atlanta, Georgia, learning and fun come together at Fernbank Museum of Natural History, which this year celebrates its 30th anniversary. “We hope that a visit to Fernbank will ignite a passion for science, nature, and human culture,” says JaQuan Jackson, group marketing manager at Fernbank Museum of Natural History.

“Our indoor/outdoor space can assure that visitors will have a great experience, no matter the weather,” Jackson says. The self-guided tour, the foundation of a visit, includes access to the museum, Fernbank Forest, and the outdoor experience WildWoods. Groups can explore exhibits that cover a variety of science and cultural topics. For example, through interactive stations in the science, technology, engineering, and math exhibit, “Fantastic Forces,” visitors can shake it up and blast off as they learn about the science of rockets, tornadoes, earthquakes, centripetal force, and more. “‘Fantastic Forces’ is an example of one of the exhibits we have that students will enjoy,” Jackson says. “Groups can step outside to experience an oasis in the middle of the city—Fernbank Forest. Visitors can explore the 2 miles of a winding path through a 65-acre, old-growth forest and walk among 300-year-old trees. All groups will enjoy learning about differences in the ‘Reflections of Culture’ exhibit.”

WildWoods field trip
Take a walk on the wild side on a WildWoods field trip.
Credit: Fernbank Museum of Natural History

Take a break from the self-guided tour and enjoy science-based documentaries on a four-story screen and take viewers to different places and times without leaving the theater. Admission includes access to a movie in the Giant Screen Theater, though access is on a first-come, first-serve basis. Don’t forget to add a private experience or field trip program to enhance a trip.

School groups should include a field trip program in their itinerary. Fernbank educators teach the programs that use active discussion, fun visuals, live specimens, and unique artifacts to engage students. School programs are a great way to engage students and reinforce science topics. “Students enjoy live demonstrations of how clouds form in Weather Wonders or viewing a live animal from our animal collection in Living Wild. Students seem to have fun while learning,” Jackson says.

Adult groups will enjoy a private experience such as a guided Fernbank Forest tour. Visitors see firsthand the ecology and characteristics of this old-growth forest while developing an appreciation for the natural world. A guided Fernbank Forest Walk is just one of the private experiences available for groups. Jackson says a tour operator should allow three to four hours for a visit. A self-guided tour takes about two hours, and a movie in the Giant Screen Theater lasts 30 to 45 minutes. Fernbank can accommodate any group– small or large.

Dinosaurs of the Mesozoic era at Fernbank Museum of Natural History
See giants of the Mesozoic era at Fernbank Museum of Natural History.
Credit: Fernbank Museum of Natural History

The Fernbank Café offers limited seating for adult groups of up to 25, and features pizza, sandwiches, drinks, snacks and kids’ meals. School lunches are available to pre-order.

Motorcoach parking is available and free. Tour guides receive free admission. For more information, go to Fernbank Museum of Natural History or call 404-929-6306.

Lead image:
Explore combustion, aerodynamics, plate tectonics, and more at the “Fantastic Forces” exhibit at Fernbank Museum of Natural History.
Credit: Fernbank Museum of Natural History