Buy Tickets Ticket Join Today

Today’s Hours: 10am – 5pm

Press Release

Fernbank Museum Commemorates 25th Anniversary with New Exhibits and Films, Reflects on Achievements

 ATLANTA, September 14, 2017 – Fernbank Museum of Natural History will celebrate its 25th anniversary this fall with new exhibitions, films and events. The Museum’s anniversary officially takes place on October 5, 2017, and will be celebrated on September 30, 2017, to coincide with the opening of several new experiences, including the special exhibition, Gladiators: Heroes of the Colosseum, the premiere of two new giant screen films, Incredible Predators 3D and Tiny Giants 2D, and the family-friendly event, Gladiator Day.

“We are thrilled to celebrate Fernbank’s 25-year anniversary with the debut of several new experiences,” said Fernbank’s President and CEO Jennifer Grant Warner. “We are also celebrating all of the major accomplishments of Fernbank Museum’s first 25 years, including the legacy of connecting the Museum to Fernbank Forest through the incredible vision and opening of WildWoods. Looking to the future, we are committed to continuing to grow and advance the most fulfilling, inspirational and engaging experiences for guests.”

Important milestones reached during the Museum’s first 25 years include:


New Exhibitions

Gladiators: Heroes of the Colosseum will be on view from September 30, 2017 – January 8, 2018. This exclusive international exhibit will feature more than 100 artifacts and interactives. Visitors can view archaeological treasures (including actual pieces of the Colosseum), elaborately decorated bronze gladiator helmets, and original arms and armor preserved in the ashes of Pompeii. From the seats of the world’s most iconic stage, guests will discover the story behind one of Rome’s most celebrated traditions as they explore the world these athletes inhabited – from the regiment of training, discipline and peril, to the fame, wealth and freedom that greeted the very best gladiators. Gladiators: Heroes of the Colosseum is organized by Contemporanea Progetti and Expona in collaboration with the Colosseum, Rome.

Additionally, the special photography exhibition, Fernbank Forest: Designed by Nature, will be on view through November 12, 2017. Over the course of two years, National Geographic photojournalist Peter Essick photographed the majestic old-growth forest as it changed throughout the seasons. Hundreds of hours of quiet immersion bring to life the dynamic beauty of the forest in 51 framed photos displayed along the entry level of the Museum. Viewers will discover breathtaking views from above the canopy, close-up stills of beautiful forest specimens, the dramatic effects of the Museum’s intense restoration work, and the forest’s breathtaking seasonal displays.

Furthermore, Fernbank’s outdoor Nature Gallery – newly opened in 2016 as part of WildWoods – will feature a special installation, Wild Huts and Hollows, on view through February 11, 2018. Commissioned by Fernbank in collaboration with Atlanta mixed media artist, J.D. Koth, Wild Huts and Hollows explores nature through intriguing sculptures of archways and structures created from vines, twigs and branches. Visitors will be invited to explore many of the woven sculptures inside and out, which also present unique fall photos opportunities.


As part of its 25th anniversary celebration, Fernbank will debut two new films in the recently upgraded Giant Screen Theater. Showing daily from September 30, 2017 – February 8, 2018, Incredible Predators 3D is an enthralling adventure that explores the painstaking challenges predators – both big and small – must overcome to survive. More immersive than ever, this new giant screen film offers an astonishing opportunity to watch the polar bear, the cheetah, the blue whale and the gecko as they work to overcome the challenges of survival in the natural world, including some humorous animal bloopers. Spectacular scenic and aerial views of nature's greatest places show how the relationship between predator and prey is a fundamental building block of ecology.

Also on view from September 30, 2017 – February 8, 2018, Tiny Giants 2D delves into the lives of the world’s smallest animals during an adventure of gigantic proportions. This immersive giant screen film sets out on a journey of a day in the life of two little heroes: a scorpion mouse and a chipmunk. This all-ages adventure is filled with drama, danger, courage, insight and revelation.


On September 30, 2017, Fernbank will host the family-friendly event, Gladiator Day, in celebration of the new exhibit and the Museum’s 25th anniversary. Gladiator Day will feature a variety of hands-on programs and activities for all ages, including gladiator demonstrations, a laurel wreath craft, ancient architectural activities and more.

On October 7, the celebration will continue in grand style with A Timeless Affair 2017: Gladiators – “What we do now echoes in eternity, Fernbank’s annual black-tie fundraising gala. This year’s event highlights 25 years of Fernbank, with inspiration from Gladiators. More than 400 guests will revel in support of the museum’s mission with a sunset cocktail hour, seated dinner, silent and live auctions, dancing, and an exclusive viewing of the special exhibition. A Timeless Affair began nearly 30 years ago as a fundraiser to support the opening of Fernbank Museum.

As the Museum continues to inspire with science, nature, history and culture, Fernbank remains dedicated to strengthening the visitor experience. Connecting visitors to science and nature has been at the forefront of Fernbank’s mission since it was founded in 1939 to preserve Fernbank Forest as “a school in the woods for nature studies.” When the Museum opened in 1992, its capacity to serve the public dramatically increased. Since then, it has welcomed more than 9 million visitors, become one of the premier museums of natural history in the south, and been acclaimed as one of the highest attended cultural institutions in Atlanta. 

Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Teresa Finley, who recently retired as Chief Marketing and Business Services Officer at UPS, has seen the Museum’s successes over the years, and is excited by its outlook for sustained growth.

“During my time serving on Fernbank’s Board of Trustees, I have seen the Museum make significant strides to define itself as a top institution – in the past year alone. These include the opening of the one-of-a-kind WildWoods experience and the incredible upgrades to the Giant Screen Theater,” said Finley. “I am eager to be part of what lies ahead for Fernbank as it continues to engage the Atlanta community in science, culture and history in creative and stimulating ways.”