When you’re ready to explore Earth and beyond, Atlanta’s science museums have exhibits, special events and films you’ll want to see.
Mel Turner, left, and Tim Geter spend time looking at a precision-carved, bone crossbow on display in the “Knights in Armor” exhibit of European armor from the 1500s on Friday, Feb. 11, 2022. (Jenni Girtman for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Fernbank Museum of Natural History
Located minutes from Candler Park and Emory University, the Fernbank Museum of Natural History has 160,000 square feet of exhibit space. Visitors will be able to see skeletons of some of the world’s largest dinosaurs, take part in science experiments that will test their senses, and learn about Georgia’s ancient natural history. The museum is on the edge of Fernbank Forest, the country’s largest ancient Piedmontese stand in an urban area.
Large-scale special exhibits, which change frequently, give visitors another reason to experience their hometown museum. Check out current and future offerings on their special exhibits page.
While the entire museum is kid-friendly, parents will want to leave time during their visit for their children to explore the immersive Fernbank NatureQuest exhibit which serves as a play and education space with hundreds of hands-on activities. Children can engage in endless exploration of multiple types of ecosystems.
Throughout the year, Fernbank organizes themed educational days such as Excellent Experiments, Dino Talk and Critter Corner. Most of the activities on these special days are included in admission.
In addition to exhibits, the Natural History Museum presents a variety of Imax films throughout the year in their theater. If you’ve never seen an Imax movie, you’re in for a treat. There are usually several films broadcast daily.
Location: Druid Hills – 767 Clifton Road; Website: https://www.fernbankmuseum.org/; Contact: 404-929-6300; Admission: $22.95 to $24.95, annual subscriptions start at $80
Behind high level CDC security is the David J. Sencer CDC Museum which showcases ancient technology and highlights information and history of AIDS, smallpox, Legionnaires’ disease, venereal disease, d ‘Ebola and much more. (Jenni Girtman/Atlanta Event Photography)
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David J. Sencer CDC Museum
More than just a destination during the first season of The Walking Dead, the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta is also a destination for residents and visitors to the city who want to learn more about world health and the science that helps keep people healthy.
Free to visit, the museum tells the story of the CDC and offers physical and online exhibits sharing information about public health around the world. In the online exhibits, visitors will find information about early public health in America, a history of Ebola, and communicating disease prevention through art. In the physical exhibits, they can see permanent exhibits on topics like the history of the CDC and changing exhibits that focus on topics like the organization’s Climate and Health program and reviews of specific diseases like flu.
Unlike other science museums in the Atlanta area, the CDC Museum is only open Monday through Friday and is closed on federal holidays.
Location: Druid Hills – 1600 Clifton Road, Atlanta, Georgia; Website: https://www.cdc.gov/museum/; Contact: 404-639-0830 Admission: Free, photo ID required
Atlanta biologist Dr. Kate Wejnert works with a student during an Owl Pellet Dissection Lab that was conducted both online and in person at the Fernbank Science Center on Thursday, April 15, 2021. Ben Gray for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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Fernbank Science Center
Located on four acres deeded to the DeKalb County School System, the Fernbank Science Center was completed in 1967 and is dedicated to introducing children to science topics like the solar system and biology.
The center houses an observatory, a seismology laboratory, an Apollo spacecraft from the Apollo 6 Saturn V test flight, and a planetarium.
It’s not just the stars, planets, moons and sun that appear on the 70-foot planetarium screen. Several times a day, the Center presents educational programs suitable for families. Movie offerings change frequently and times vary by day.
Location: Druid Hills – 156 Heaton Park Drive; Website: http://www.fernbank.edu/; Contact: 678-874-7102; Admission: General admission is free, but planetarium tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students and seniors
Emory’s Michael C. Carlos Museum Board Member Anita Thomas gives an audio tour of the exhibit.
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Michael C. Carlos Museum
The rotating exhibits at Emory’s Michael C. Carlos Museum often address social and environmental issues. Past offerings include “Confronting Slavery in the Classical World” and “And I Must Scream: The Monstrous Expression of Our Global Crisis”. These ever-changing offerings include art in a variety of mediums from painting and sculpture to photography.
The museum also offers online collections where viewers can view the mummies the facility is known for. Those who visit in person can see its permanent collections, which include works that highlight the history of the Americas, the Near East, Rome and more.
Located on the campus of Emory University, the facility offers guided tours every Sunday at 2 p.m. Throughout the year, the museum also hosts workshops that introduce tweens and teens to art and history through fun, hands-on learning experiences. Actual visits to the museum are family-friendly affairs with resources available such as family guides designed to add a bit of fun to exploring the collection, as well as SmARTy Packs activity packages, which families can consult at the information desk for a more engaging learning experience.
Location: Druid Hills – 571 South Kilgo Circle; Website: https://carlos.emory.edu/; Contact: 404-727-4282 Admission: $8 for adults, $6 for children 6-17 and seniors