If there is one thing my kids love to do it is explore a science museum and check out dinosaurs, and luckily for us Atlanta has three to choose from, although some are infinitely more convenient to us than others! We could spend hours looking at fossils, examining dinosaur bones, and playing in the hands on areas.
Our favorite, and most convenient, is Fernbank Museum of Natural History, located East of Midtown and near both Emory University and Decatur. This museum boasts a walk through the current landscapes of Georgia, life size dinosaurs, a hands-on sensing nature area where kids can make bubbles the size of their head, experience a tornado at the touch of their hands, learn how sound waves travel and more, as well as a reflections of culture area. There is also an IMAX theatre that has a variety of movies for kids of all ages, and changing exhibits, including themes like Extreme Mammals, Ghengis Khan and the upcoming Marco Polo: Man and Myth.
In 2012 Fernbank opened up NatureQuest, which is an interactive play area that turns every child into a scientist or explorer. There is a tree house that kids can climb around in, live animals to observe, a simulated waterfall that mists actual water, an ocean exploration area and a block building section.
Admission to Fernbank is $17.50 for adults, Students and Seniors with id are $16.50, Kids 3-12 are $15.50, and 2 and under are free. IMAX tickets are an additional fee. Parking is free!
Right down the street is Fernbank Science Center, a separate entity from the Fernbank Museum, and run by the Dekalb County School system. It is free to enter and park (with an additional cost for the planetarium) and is a ‘museum, classroom and woodland complex’ that is not as fancy as Fernbank Museum, but includes a planetarium, dinosaur skeletons, rocks and minerals and an authentic Apollo spacecraft, as well as a small outdoor area.
This museum is definitely more dated than it’s partner up the road, but is fun to let kids run around and check out, and for free? Why not!
The third museum isn’t technically in Atlanta, but for the purposes of this post I have included it with the above two. It would be our favorite and most visited museum, hands down, if it wasn’t 50 miles away. But if you have a morning to spare and a car to take you there then you should absolutely make the drive to Cartersville to check out the Tellus Science Museum.
This 120,000 square foot museum has dinosaurs, a fossil gallery, science in motion, a play area called My Big Backyard, a mineral gallery, a planetarium, airplanes, hands on panning for gold and searching for fossils.
Admission is $14 for adults, $10 for kids ages 3-17, $12 for seniors, $10 for students, and kids 2 and under and military are free.