on August 9, 2000
The Fernbank Museum of Natural History is a place devoted to Earth's environmental changes since the dawn of time. There is often a rotating exhibit on display for which you can pay an extra entry fee to see. There is an IMAX theater for which you can buy tickets, or you can choose to just purchase entrance into the main museum itself. If you stay in just the main museum, you will find a half day of fun waiting for you. There are many stuffed animals that are native to Georgia lining the walkways. The biggest attraction is a walk-through exhibit that shows the development of life in the Peach State starting before the reign of the dinosaurs. Of course, dinosaurs have an entire room devoted to them, and seeing these huge beasts of centuries gone-by is fun for children. Even more fun than LOOKING at exhibits, however, is PLAYING with them. The Spectrum of the Senses display offers many wonderful exhibits that allow you to explore the limits of your senses. There are optical illusion wheels spinning on one wall. There are funny contraptions EVERYWHERE with instructions for use, like so many erector sets scattered around a playground inviting someone to play with them. Almost every 'hands-on' exhibit illustrates a scientific principle dealing with either light or sound, and adults are as eager to use them as anyone. Kids will find these 'games' neat but will require an adult to read instructions (unless over 9 or 10) and help explain purpose. You will always see many of the children gathered around a soapy-water-filled basin to one side of the room using large, metal rings to create giant bubbles. That is one exhibit that is not hard for any aged kid to understand! Apart from the world of scientific discovery, children will find something built just for them in the Discovery Adventure Rooms. There is one room built entirely for pre-schoolers with circus mirrors and building blocks inside. The room built for 6 to 10 year olds is a 'for kids' replica of different sections of Georgia. My son liked 'fishing' in the 'Okefenokee Swamp.' He also liked making the shrimp net go up and down on the boat docked on the shores of 'Tybee Island.' I would suggest letting your kids explore and play in this room at their own pace as you give your feet a rest because it really is just a unique type of playground.
At the end of the day, the Fernbank is a good museum to visit. The entry fees can add up, but I would suggest going to the museum at least once to any family in the Atlanta area. There are many opportunities for education, and the experiences will be unique and fun.
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