Family travel isn’t travel for travel’s sake, but instead travel to expand the understanding and awareness of the people who will, one day, run the world. For that reason, family friendly museums are high on our list of places to visit. Of course the kids love them- they are fun! But a little “sneaky education” never hurts! Guest author Lesli Peterson takes us to her son’s favorite museum in this post.
Fernbank Museum of Natural History, known affectionately in Atlanta as ‘The Dinosaur Museum’, is an interactive experience that proves science really is cool. Region-specific, life-size dinosaur statues greet you as you walk to the museum from the parking lot. Once inside, the largest plant-eating dinosaur that roamed the planet welcomes visitors, towering three stories tall in the Great Hall of the museum. Yes, this is indeed a ‘dinosaur museum.’
Aside from the relics of ancient past, Fernbank offers an IMAX theater, an interactive science exhibit, and a naturalist center highlighting Fernbank’s work in finding ruins from DeSoto’s mission in Georgia. There is ‘A Walk Through Time in Georgia’ which introduces visitors to plant and animal life over the various terrains in the state. There is a shell gallery, a rose garden, and an expansive forest for which this museum gets its name. However, when my four-year old exclaims his desire to visit Fernbank, I know he means that it’s time to head to NatureQuest.
NatureQuest is a child-friendly, highly interactive experiential learning exhibit that will amaze you (to say the least). Six years in the making, this environment was designed by the Fernbank Education team in conjunction with a host of designers from the land of Mickey and Donald. Children can immerse themselves in over 100 different interactive encounters across six habitats.
Imagine a large play area with a grand tree in which to climb, bridges, tunnels and waterscapes. There are live animal encounters in each habitat, and learning experiences tucked in every nook and cranny. In the center is the clubhouse which connects all the pieces together – there is even a habitat under the clubhouse.
My son loves NatureQuest because it’s fun. Parents and teachers appreciate that it is an educational immersion as well. Should you make your way to Georgia, come visit Fernbank. Gaze at the dinosaurs, walk through the forest, see Desoto’s treasures, but plan to spend several hours exploring nature in a new and exciting way at NatureQuest.
About the Author: Lesli Peterson is co-founder and editor at Expedition Mom, a North American family-travel website specializing in experiential “KNOW before you go” Adventure Guides and City Itineraries, with a Southern twist.
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