Museum Musings

Memorial Day 2015

Fernbank Museum will be open during normal daytime business hours over the Memorial Day weekend. DSC_0058

Come face-to-face with the world’s largest dinosaurs, catch a flick on the biggest screen in town and more. Fernbank educators will also lead guests through a variety of hands-on activities during special drop-in programs offered throughout the weekend. Activities vary. Check the “Today at Fernbank” sign when you arrive for details.

Fernbank Museum’s normal daytime hours are: 
Sunday: Noon to 5pm
Monday – Saturday: 10am to 5pm

Purchase advance tickets online or by calling 404.929.6400. As always, parking is FREE 

Please note: Fernbank’s Martinis & IMAX® will not be offered on Friday, May 22. The event will return Friday, May 29.  

—Deanna Smith, Director of Marketing


Written by Fernbank Museum at 16:35

Amazing Amphibians

Poison dart frogs have been called “jewels of the rainforest” but you do not have to travel that far to catch a glimpse of a brilliantly colored amphibian. Just as the bright tones of poison dart frogs can inspire observers to think of gems, Red salamanders have been described as the “rubies of the Southeast.” Red salamanders (Psuedotrition ruber) are a common species across the upper two-thirds of Georgia. They range from the Missisippi River through the southeast and as far north as New York and are easily identified due to their fire toned skin dotted with black flecks. Red flashes among brown leaves and muddy areas close to streams and seeps confirm discovery of these secretive dwellers.Salamander

If observing in muck is not your idea of a fun afternoon, you can admire the Tiger salamanders in Fernbank NatureQuest. Like their red relatives and many frog relatives, Tiger salamanders ooze poisonous secretions to deter predators from eating them. Don’t underestimate the power of salamander poison! The most potent salamander in the world is the Rough-skinned newt (Taricha granulosa), native to California. A single newt has enough poison to kill a human if consumed. The better known relatives of salamanders, poison dart frogs are named for their toxins. The Golden poison frog is considered the most toxic, with enough poison to kill 10 people if consumed.

Amphibians are important indicators of ecosystem health. While bright colors may warn predators not to nibble, other factors threaten the extinction of amphibian populations across the globe. With careful observation and responsible environmental stewardship, we can continue enjoying the red salamander as Georgia’s very own gem, as well as their many relatives.

Interested in honing your observation skills? Take part in special programs offered in Fernbank Forest.

—Kate Donlon, Animal Programs

Pictured: a Red salamander (Pseudotrition ruber) found in Fernbank Forest. 

Written by Fernbank Museum at 16:10

Celebrating All-Star Teachers

In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, Fernbank Museum would like to take this opportunity to recognize the outstanding teachers we had the privilege of working with this year.Thank youfor all the hard work you do and for making Fernbank Museum a part of your curriculum! Becky -web

As a teacher, you play a key role in the achievements and success of each student who steps through your door. Teachers are required to be knowledgeable, enthusiastic, patient and caring. (Although sometimes one quality more than the others!) Finding these attributes wrapped into one individual is a rare gem.

It’s a pleasure to see students immersed in a special exhibit at the museum. It’s great to hear them gasp at something during an IMAX® film. Though the nicest part is watching a great teacher engage the students—connecting the content to what they’re studying in class, asking questions, and furthering the students’ curiosities and interests. You are such an integral part of these children’s lives, and we want to thank you for the incredible work you do.

We hope to see you again in the 2015-2016 school year.

—Becky Facer, Education Program Manager—Environmental Programs

You might also like: Fernbank Field Trips, Educator Corner


Written by Fernbank Museum at 09:24

2015 Volunteer Awards Ceremony

Fernbank’s Annual Volunteer Awards Ceremony is a celebration of the invaluable support we receive from our volunteers. Here are a few photos from this year’s event on April 19, 2015.

Fernbank staff work the event as greeters and buffet attendees.

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Despite the rainy weather, the bright colors decorating the Great Hall really livened things up!

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This year, the brunch was bigger and better than ever, hosting more than two hundred volunteers and their families.

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The brunch is a great opportunity for volunteers whom might not normally work together, to have a chance to socialize.

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Many volunteers were recognized for reaching a certain number of hours or years of service, but the brunch is also meant to show our appreciation for every volunteer, regardless of their individual commitment.

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A highlight of the event—recognizing 20,000 hours of service (that’s equivalent to 10 years of full-time work!) donated by John Thompson.

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Steve Place’s incredible work founding the forest restoration program was also recognized.

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The ceremony provides an opportunity to say farewell to FUN volunteers that are graduating out of the program this year. Though, we never miss an opportunity for all of our FUN volunteers to show off their best RAWR pose!

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We had a wonderful time and are so grateful for our volunteers. See additional photos from the event here.

A special thanks to The Fernbank Café for a delicious brunch and to staff for donating their time to help make our volunteers feel special.

—Kate Naylor, Member and Volunteer Services Coordinator and Deanna Smith, Director of Marketing; photos by Marisa Crissey, Communications Design Director and Kaden Borseth, Education Program Manager–Earth Science

Written by Fernbank Museum at 09:49

May Volunteer Spotlight

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We are thrilled to recognize Pat Meltzer as our May Volunteer of the Month.

Pat Meltzer is always involved in something: between enrolling in history, science, and religion courses at Mercer’s Senior University and taking trips across the globe, she never misses an opportunity to learn something new. Since she joined Polaris ten years ago, she has tried to inspire this same love of learning in our visitors, and always asks “Are you ready for your adventure?”

Over the last decade, Pat has made many memories at the Museum, but her favorite one involved a shy seven-year-old guest. A little reticent at first, his face lit up as soon as she began to tell him about the dinosaurs, and he began to share his own knowledge with her. Meeting new people and getting them excited about their visit is Pat’s favorite part of volunteering!

Learn more about volunteer opportunities at Fernbank Museum. You can also call us at 404.929.6360 or e-mail

—Kate Naylor. Member and Volunteer Services Coordinator

Written by Fernbank Museum at 10:06
Welcome to the official blog of Fernbank Museum of Natural History. This blog is an opportunity for the people that keep Fernbank running and constantly expanding, to share stories from their point of view. We hope you’ll enjoy these first-hand, behind-the-scenes glimpses of what goes into keeping a world-class natural history museum running. As always, we’d love to hear your feedback on these stories, to hear your personal experiences and hear any suggestions for topics. Happy reading!