Fernbank Museum of Natural History is one of the most beloved attractions in the Atlanta metropolitan area. The museum offers both exhibitions and programming on natural history. There is a rotation of temporary and permanent exhibitions, so you can visit them repeatedly and have something new to enjoy each time. The Fernbank Museum of Natural History is also known for its expansive facility which was created by the illustrious Graham Gund Architects.
Whether you have young children or want to spend a day learning more about the past, the Fernbank Museum equips you with everything you need to do so — and to have fun while you’re at it. Are you ready to explore one of the best museums in Atlanta? This complete guide will help answer your most pressing questions about your trip to the Fernbank Museum of Natural History, plus help you plan out your day to make the most of it.
Fernbank Museum of Natural History Overview
The Fernbank Museum of Natural History is a non-profit organization and is widely considered one of the most iconic cultural attractions in the Atlanta area.
When you visit the Fernbank Museum, you’ll have access to the world’s largest dinosaurs, one of the biggest assemblages of urban Piedmont forest in the entire country, and Atlanta’s largest movie screen. Thanks to these key features, the museum can bring experiences and programming to life that allows visitors to gain a stronger appreciation for the planet and all the creatures that have inhabited it.
Another thing that sets the Fernbank Museum of Natural History apart is its commitment to conservation. For 80 years, the museum has committed to protecting the Fernbank Forest. The forest is considered part of the larger museum.
There are a myriad of old trees in the Fernbank Forest and as a result, it is regularly studied by interested scientists. The 65-acre mature mixed forest offers plenty to see, so be sure to drop by after you’ve perused the exhibitions at the museum.
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History of Atlanta’s Fernbank Museum of Natural History
You may be wondering: how did this incredible museum get its start? Back in the late 1800s, a young woman named Emily Harrison noticed that the woodlands of Atlanta were rapidly shrinking.
She decided that she wanted to protect 65 acres of forest from expansion and development. She was successful in her efforts, as you can see. One of Harrison’s favorite places in the forest was a creek bank that was full of ferns, which was nicknamed ‘Fernbank.’ The name of the museum was born.
When she got older, Harrison thought it would be amazing to maintain the forest as a way to offer education in the woods for people to study. In 1939, Harrison and a biologist at Emory University named Dr. Woolford Baker led 15 environmentalists to establish the area as a non-profit. They did this to preserve the woodlands from development, and that’s what you can visit today.
The Fernbank Museum of Natural History Hours & Location
When you’re planning your visit to the Fernbank, don’t leave home without the information about the museum’s address and its hours of operation. Here’s what you need to know before you go.
- Address: 767 Clifton Rd, Atlanta, GA 30307
- Hours: 10 am to 5 pm daily; the Fernbank Forest closes at 4:30. Tickets must be bought in advance. Evening hours are available on the second Friday of the month for the museum’s Fernbank After Dark event. To attend a special evening event, you must be 21 or older.
- Phone: 404-929-6300
Where Is Fernbank Museum of Natural History?
The Fernbank Museum of Natural History is in Druid Hills, Georgia, an Atlanta neighborhood and CDP that’s about 16 minutes away by car (4.6 miles) from downtown. Because of its close proximity to downtown Atlanta, Fernbank is an excellent day trip if you have children who have a day off from school.
But you don’t have to be a child to enjoy this museum. In fact, there are plenty of exhibitions that adults would enjoy as much as kids. The Fernbank Museum of Natural History is one of the top things to do in Atlanta for families and even date night!
Because of the forest adjacent to the museum, you can see some pretty cool history and get your steps in by visiting the nature preserve all in one day. Now that’s what we call a win!
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How Much Does It Cost to Visit Fernbank Museum of Natural History?
Remember: you need to buy Fernbank museum tickets in advance before you visit the Fernbank, so be sure that you plan your trip in advance to ensure that you can visit on your desired date. The Fernbank Museum admission cost varies. Let’s break down the price of visiting the Fernbank Museum.
Keep in mind that tickets include access to all of the exhibits, outdoor experiences, and a movie of choice in the Giant Green Screen Theater. The ticket also includes parking. You can buy your ticket about one month in advance. If you’d like to see more than one film when you come to the museum, you can add another movie for $5 each by visiting the box office.
If you are an adult without a membership (ages 13-64), you’ll pay $24.95. For seniors (65 and up) the cost is $23.95. For children ages 3-12, it will cost $22.95. When accompanied by an adult, tickets for children under two are free.
Member admission is free for people of all ages. If you’re looking to see more than one movie, you will be asked to pay $5 at the box office, too. Members also get reduced ticket prices for nighttime events, so if you’re visiting the museum frequently, you may consider becoming a member as it supports a great cause and saves you money in the long run.
Additionally, there are group rates available, so reach out to the museum directly if you’re looking to bring a large group.
Things to Do at Fernbank Museum of Natural History
There are a variety of things to do at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History that will appeal to both adults and children alike. Here are some of the most popular Fernbank Museum events and activities you can add to your must-do list when you visit the museum.
Catch an Event
The Fernbank is known for the variety of events they host routinely. Whether you’re bringing your child to the museum for Dino Talks or you’re enjoying a swanky night out at Fernbank After Dark, there are countless incredible events you can attend. Be sure to stay in touch with the museum on social media so you learn of the new offerings when they first arrive.
Alternatively, you could opt to reserve a private experience where your group of up to 15 people will be joined by a Fernbank educator and dive into one of the many incredible facets of the museum.
If you find that you love Fernbank Museum, there is also the option to host your own private event there, so be sure to keep that in the back of your mind.
Walk Through the Fernbank Forest
The Fernbank Forest offers 75 acres of glorious wildlife. It was beloved by the founder of the museum herself. Take a walk through the forest to appreciate all of the nature surrounding you. This is an excellent reprieve from the hustle-and-bustle of fast paced city life.
The forest is open all year in rain or shine. However, be sure that you pick your date carefully ahead of time — there are no returns in case there’s rainy weather.
Exhibits at Fernbank Museum
Fernbank has three different categories: indoor, outdoor, and special exhibits. The exhibits you can see range in topics. Learn more about the history of Georgia, clay, giants of Mesozoic, stars, shells, and beyond. Outside there is even more to explore: The Dinosaur plaza, the forest, rain garden, tiny doors, and WildWoods are all exhibits you can visit.
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Fernbank Museum of Natural History Amenities
Fernbank Museum offers many amenities. You can shop at the Museum Store or have a coffee at the Fernbank Cafe. At the Museum Shop, you will find trinkets, souvenirs, toys, jewelry, and more. There is parking and bathrooms on premises.
Are you ready to visit the Fernbank Museum of Natural History and soak in everything this gem of Atlanta has to offer? Visit the Museum and we know you’ll find this natural oasis a breath of fresh air. If you’re considering relocating to the Atlanta area, you can also give us a call at Wirks Moving for a free quote.