Museum Musings

Family Fun at Fernbank Museum

Make the most of the dog days of summer with a variety of hands-on, minds-on activities at Fernbank. Here’s this weekend’s lineup of programs:

Saturday, August 29

Tadpole Tales
11:30am, Naturalist Center
Preschoolers will enjoy a story and a special activity, led by a Fernbank educator. This month’s story A Log’s Life by Wendy Pfeffer.

Excellent Experiments
1pm, Naturalist Center
Explore the amazing world of chemistry through fun experiments in a live presentation.

Live Animal Encounter
3pm, Naturalist Center
Get up close and personal with a member of Fernbank’s live animal collection.

Sunday, August 30

Tadpole Tales
1:30pm, Naturalist Center
Preschoolers will enjoy a story and a special activity, led by a Fernbank educator. This month’s story is A Log’s Life by Wendy Pfeffer.

Live Animal Encounter
3pm, Naturalist Center
Get up close and personal with a member of Fernbank’s live animal collection.

Looking for a more outdoorsy family adventure? Fernbank Forest Geology Tour, Sunday, August 30 from 10am – noon. Learn more about forest geology with a Museum scientist during this guided tour. Suitable for ages 8 and up. Advance reservations required.

All activities are included with Museum admission and are free for members. Subject is subject to change, so check the “Today at Fernbank” sign in the lobby when you arrive. 

We'll see you this weekend! 

—Deanna Smith, Director of Marketing 

Written by Fernbank Museum at 16:02

Hip, Hip, Hooray for Fernbank’s Giant Dinosaurs

August 25, 2015 marks the 14th anniversary of the grand opening of Giants of the Mesozoic. Inspired not only by presenting history, but also with making history, from January 2000 through August 2001, Fernbank Museum pieced together—drawing by drawing, then bone by bone—this permanent exhibition featuring the world’s largest dinosaurs. 

Take a look back at the planning, building and unveiling of this ground-breaking exhibition.

Fast Facts about Giants of the Mesozoic:

  • Construction on Argentinosaurus was briefly halted on March 1, 2001 for President George W. Bush to hold a tax-plan rally at Museum.
  • Fernbank Museum was the first museum in the world to erect a fully-mounted skeleton of Argentinosaurus.
  • During the dedication of Giants of the Mesozoic, a time capsule was placed in the rockwork base beneath Argentinosaurus. It contains items related to the exhibition, including early conceptual, a copy of the WSB-TV documentary Land of the Giants and a collection of media coverage documenting the worldwide attention Fernbank received as a result of the exhibition.
  • The first Dinosaur Birthday Bash, offered in celebration of the one-year anniversary of Giants of the Mesozoic, was held August 24-25, 2002. The event has been offered every year in August since then and has become one of the Museum’s most popular family activity days. 
  • Professor Rodolfo Coria, the paleontologist who excavated and researched Argentinosaurus (and Giganotosaurus) had not seen a fully-mounted skeleton until the construction at Fernbank was completed. When asked how it felt to see the completed project, he responded “Like seeing an old friend, whose face you haven’t seen in a long, long time.

Do you have a Giants of the Mesozoic memory or photo to share? Send it to or post on our Facebook page.

—Deanna Smith, Director of Marketing 

Written by Fernbank Museum at 10:00

Top Five Ways to Enjoy Your Membership

Pic Monkey Collage
On the fence about buying a Fernbank Museum membership? Here are five excellent ways to make the most out of your membership:

5. Have lunch in The Fernbank Café. Members save 10%

4. Treat yourself or buy a gift in the Museum Store. Members save 10%

3. Host a prehistoric birthday party. Members receive discounts on birthday party packages. Members receive discounts on birthday party packages.

2. See a film on the biggest screen in town. Members pay just $8 for IMAX® tickets.

1. Enjoy unlimited Museum admission, including family adventure days. Members always free. 

Bonus! Become a member today and take advantage of free admission to 5 special exhibitions during your 12-month membership, including: Searching for the Queen of Sheba (opens Sept. 26), Women of Vision (opens Sept. 26), Winter Wonderland (opens Nov. 21), Wild Music (opens Feb 2016), and Creatures of Light (opens March 2016).

Family memberships start at $120. We can help you choose the level that’s right for you. Contact us at 404.929.6340 or  

I hope to see you at the Museum soon!

—Allison Trice, Director of Member and Volunteer Services 

Written by Fernbank Museum at 12:56

Go Inside Out at this Saturday at Fernbank

Join us Saturday, June 6 for a chance to learn more about Disney * Pixar’s new film Inside Out, presented as part of the Brain: The Inside Story Opening Day Celebration.

Learn about a variety of emotions including joy, anger, sadness and fear through hands-on activities. Then tour the special exhibition Brain: The Inside Story for even more insight into the inner workings of the most complex and fascinating biological structure—the human brain.

Guests at the Opening Day Celebration will also have a chance to win Inside Out prizes and screening tickets! 

Activities will be available 10am – 2pm. All activities are subject to change and prizes are available while supplies last.

—Deanna Smith, Director of Marketing

Disney * Pixar’s Inside Out opens nationwide June 19. 

Written by Fernbank Museum at 15:55

From Writing Grants to Pulling Plants: Why I Volunteer

I have a bit of a dual identity around the Museum. Monday through Friday, I work alongside other Fernbank employees on the Development team as the Museum’s Grants and Sponsorship Coordinator. On the second Saturday of the month, however, I’m a Fernbank Forest Restoration Volunteer. I should preface what I’m about to say with the following: I prefer curling up with a good book over pretty much any physical activity, and I’m not exactly the “outdoorsy” type. Yard work, or any iteration thereof, is not my thing. I was, however, writing about Fernbank Forest and our restoration efforts quite a bit in proposals and was motivated to get some firsthand experience out in the Forest. And so, early on a Saturday morning—Did I mention I’m a night owl, too?—I headed into Fernbank on my day off to shadow the Forest Restoration Volunteers.

Forest Restoration Shirts

The non-native, invasive plant species that have permeated the forest must be hand pulled, without the use of heavy machinery or broadcast spraying herbicides. Restoration work calls for detail and precision, as we need to remove the invasives in ways that are the least disruptive to both the soil and the native vegetation. English Ivy (Hedera helix), Chinese wisteria (Wisteria sinensis), Wintercreeper (Euonymus fortunei), Chinese privet (Ligustrum sinense), Lilyturf (Liriope spicata), and Japanese stiltgrass (Microstegium vimineum) are among the most plentiful of the invasive plant species currently in the forest, but Fernbank has identified a total of 45 non-native plant species that will need to be removed.

Forest Restoration Digging

This is not your grandma’s gardening! I left sweaty, dirty, and ready for a well-deserved afternoon nap. But I’ll tell you something else: I’ve been back almost every month since. That day I discovered a wonderful, welcoming group of community members who care deeply about the future of Fernbank Forest. The group boasts multiple Master Gardeners, folks with ecology degrees, and others with years of restoration experience. They have been generous teachers as I’ve learned to identify native vs. non-native plants. Their enthusiasm for the forest is both inspiring and invigorating. Restoring the natural biodiversity of the forest will be a lifelong commitment, and I am beyond thankful to be serving with such a dedicated group of volunteers.

And the forest itself? Breathtaking. Peaceful. A place worth getting up for early in the morning on your day off.   

—Laura Heiman, Grants and Sponsorship Coordinator

You might be interested in: Fernbank Forest; Forest Restoration Volunteers; Other Volunteer Opportunities

Written by Fernbank Museum at 09:14
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!