Museum Musings

September Becomes SHARK-tember

After taking a big bite out of the Atlanta movie market this summer, Great White Shark is being extended through October 16. In conjunction, Fernbank Museum Shark-tember, a month-long tribute to sharks featuring hands-on activities, giveaways, admission and membership discounts, and more. It'll be a month of aahs, jaws and applause!

Shark-tember Highlights
Great White Shark
Shows daily in Fernbank's IMAX® Theatre
This giant screen adventure gets you closer than ever to the "king of the ocean" and tells the true story of the predator we love to fear.

Shark Corner
Saturdays, September 6 – September 20, from 11am – 3pm*
Join us in the Naturalist Center for a variety of shark-themed, hands-on learning fun.

Shark Tooth Sundays
Every Sunday, September 7 – September 28
The first 200 children at the Museum will receive a free shark tooth.

Tadpole Tales
Saturday, September 20 at 11:30am and Sunday, September 21 at 1:30pm
Preschoolers will enjoy a story with a Fernbank educator along with a special activity or song. September's story is Never Take a Shark to the Dentist (and Other Things Not to Do) by Judi Barrett.  

Discovery Carts
Dates and times vary
FUN youth volunteers will educate guests on a variety of ocean- and fossil-themed topics through hands-on demonstrations and real specimens.

Sharks After Dark
Take advantage of evening show times of Great White Shark during Martinis & IMAX®. Be sure to try the cocktail of the month: Shark Bite, made with vodka, coconut rum, pineapple juice, and cranberry.

Social Sharks
Swim along on social media for cool shark facts, funny (or should I say punny) shark jokes, giveaways and more. Follow our blog and check us out on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Feeding Frenzy Deals
Take advantage of special savings all month long. Present this coupon to save $4 off Value Passes (includes Museum and IMAX® admission), $10 off Family Dual and Family Advantage Memberships or $20 off IMAX® Advantage Memberships. Must print and present coupon at Fernbank's Box Office to receive discount. Some restrictions apply.

*Shark Corner will not be offered on Saturday, September 27 due to the Goose Bumps! Opening Day Celebration.

Written by Fernbank Museum at 15:10

A DINO-Mite Celebration

They may be over 90 million years old, but age hasn’t diminished the need to host a birthday party for the dinosaur stars of Fernbank Museum’s permanent exhibition Giants of the Mesozoic. The world’s largest dinosaurs will celebrate their seventh anniversary at Fernbank with the popular Dinosaur Birthday Bash on Saturday, August 23, 2008 from 10am to 2pm.

Giggy Therm

This prehistoric party will feature a mock dino dig, appearances by Giggy A. Dinosaur, big bubble fun, free treats* from Whole Foods Market Briarcliff, a kids' DJ and more.

Can’t wait until it’s party time? Here’s a fun craft you can make at home, a Giggy Thaumatrope!

We’ll see you Saturday!

—Deanna Smith, Director of Marketing

*Treats are available while supplies last and are limited to 1 per person.


Written by Fernbank Museum at 09:57

August is DINO-Mite

An Entire Month Dedicated to our Prehistoric Pals

dino-skull-dino-month.jpgAlthough they perished more than 65 million years ago, "dinostalgia" continues to sweep America, engaging young and old alike. As a key part of the Museum's mission, themes related to paleontology can be found in much of Fernbank's programming, including the annual Dinosaur Birthday Bash, a family day honoring the anniversary of the permanent dinosaur exhibition, Giants of the Mesozoic.

But this year, instead of limiting the fun to just one day, Fernbank Museum is declaring August Dinosaur Month! You're invited to join us as we celebrate everyone's favorite prehistoric party animals with a series of DINO-mite opportunities.

Fernbank's Dinosaur Month will feature educator-led programs, hands-on fossil activities, a new dinosaur scavenger hunt, special giveaways (both on-site and via social media), and special dinosaur-features on this blog.

Giggy-Hat-Croped.jpgDinosaur Month Highlights

Weekend Wonders
Saturdays from 11am – 3pm, Sundays from noon-4pm
Discover more about dinosaurs through special activities including crafts, games and more.

Tadpole Tales
Saturday, August 16 at 11:30am and Sunday, August 17 at 1:30pm
Bring your preschoolers for an interactive reading of Bones, Bones, Dinosaur Bones by Byron Barton.

Dinosaur Birthday Bash
Saturday, August 23 from 10am – 2pm
Enjoy a variety of hands-on dinosaur- and birthday-themed activities including a Museum-wide "Happy Birthday" sing-along. 

Giants of the Mesozoic Anniversary
Monday, August 25 from 10am – 5pm
Join us on social media for a virtual celebration of the 13th anniversary of the grand opening of this groundbreaking exhibition, featuring the world's largest dinosaurs. Enjoy trivia, archival photos, giveaways and more on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Fossil Discovery Cart
Dates and times vary
Learn more about fossils, dinosaur and otherwise, through hands-on demonstrations and real specimens.

Dinosaurs around the Museum
Giants of the Mesozoic isn't the only place at Fernbank to encounter dinosaurs. You'll also find them in A Walk Through Time in Georgia, on the Dinosaur Plaza, on the outdoor Terrace, and in Fernbank NatureQuest. Plus, free dinosaur-related activities are available for download.

Fernbank Museum App
Be sure to download the official Fernbank Museum App (available FREE for Android and iOS) and experience a special Paleontology Interactive, which guides visitors through the museum on an exploration of dinosaurs and other fossils.

You won't want to miss any of the DINO-mite adventures heading your way. Join today and you can enjoy Dinosaur Month for free!

Written by Fernbank Museum at 09:58

Volunteer of the Month: August


This month, we are honoring a volunteer whose contributions expand beyond the walks of the Museum, Teri Wall.

In September, Teri Wall reach her second anniversary as both a Polaris volunteer and as a Forest Restoration Volunteer. With a background in environmental compliance and remediation, Teri is a natural fit for the Museum's Second Saturday Forest Restoration Program. As one of the original volunteers for this special program, she has dedicated herself to assisting the Museum with the arduous process of removing invasive plant species from Fernbank Forest and the Forest Overlook.

"It's not easy, but for Teri to do this for two years shows her commitment to ecology and to Fernbank," said Steve Place, who currently leads the Second Saturday Forest Restoration Program and was an original volunteer alongside Teri.

When she's not digging up English Ivy or volunteering in the Member and Volunteer Services office, Teri loves the outdoors, where she enjoys running, cycling, hiking or whitewater rafting.

Volunteering has been a lifelong passion for Teri that began when she was in 6th grade, helping in the library of her mother's school. 

For information on how to become a volunteer, call 404.929.6360 or

Learn more about "Atlanta's hidden gem," Fernbank Forest.

Written by Fernbank Museum at 09:02

A Leafy Adventure

Disclaimer: My background is in communications. Before working at Fernbank I couldn’t tell a red oak from a pine tree. That said, one of the things I enjoy most about my job is the opportunity to learn more about natural history by joining one of the Museum’s unique educational programs. I’m able to discover and learn through a new perspective, often doing so with the curiosity of an explorer and the wide-eyed-enthusiasm of a child.

Speaking of natural history, Fernbank’s Summer Camp covers a variety of areas under the big umbrella that is natural history. So, I returned to summer camp, specifically on “Forest Day” for the Discovery Team camp (rising 2nd – 3rd graders).

Our lesson started in Fernbank NatureQuest, identifying trees (beech, long-leafed pine, short-leafed pine, red oak), part of plants (leaves, stems, roots) as well as seed dispersal.


Then it was time to take the lesson outdoors with a trip to Fernbank Forest with Fernbank educator, Charlee Glenn. Shortly upon entering the forest, we stopped to identify our first tree, a muscle tree. We did this not from memory, but by examining the bark, leaves and circumference of the tree.

The bark on muscle trees almost looks like veins that you’d see on bodybuilder flexing. Not only does the bark look similar to muscles, it is also a very strong tree. Despite having a smaller circumference, the muscle tree is very dense. To illustrate this, Charlee asked one of the campers to try to push the tree to see if it’d bend. (Note: it did not, but boy did that kid try.)


Next up (after navigating at least 5 spider webs), we found a red oak tree. Red oaks have lobbed leaves and its bark is light with dark stripes (like a zebra). Since one of the main identifiers we used for this tree was its leaves, we looked for some on the ground.


As we made our way to Huntemann Pond, Charlee talked about some of the animals that live in Fernbank Forest. As if on cue, a red tail hawk made its presence known with a series of calls. 

In addition to hawk calls, and despite the excited chattering of kids, you could still hear the rest of the forest: a variety of song birds, banjo frog, and the unmistakable “PLOP” of a frog jumping into the pond.

Today’s forest adventure included a special presentation by current FUN volunteer Meg, who has also served as a restoration volunteer in the Fernbank Forest Overlook. Her focus during that project was removing invasives. She provided a quick overview of the difference between invasive vs. native plants and how the invasives impact the native species.


It’s summer camp, so of course there was show and tell. Meg led a game of “Name that Invasive!” English ivy, kudzu, wisteria, privet and monkey grass - Oh my! Inspired by their new knowledge of invasives, one of the campers declared “let’s go pull ALL the monkey grass!”

Love the enthusiasm kid, but hold on a sec.

“You can’t just pull these [invasive] plants out of the ground,” Meg explained. She continued “It’s a careful process that takes time. We have to remove the entire plant, right down to the roots.”

As we made our way out of the forest, Charlee asked the kids to call out any invasives they spotted. One camper spotted a bank covered in English ivy and said “It’s like a football field of ivy!”


It was great to learn about the forest along with the campers. Their sense of wonder and endless curiosity was inspiring. Right up until I ran into my 6th spider web.


Click here to see more photos from my leafy adventure.

—Deanna Smith, Director of Marketing

Written by Fernbank Museum at 12:08
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!