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A visit to the museum "got two thumbs up from my kids"

Fernbank
Miranda and Jack Lowrie outside Fernbank Museum of Natural History. (Photo by Melissa Lowrie)

Canoe Kids
By Melissa Lowrie
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Melissa Lowrie
Melissa Lowrie
On a recent Sunday, my husband and I decided to head to Atlanta with our Canoe Kids for lunch and a trip to the High Museum of Art. We’ve lived in the Atlanta metro area since 1994, and none of us had ever been to the High. Sad and slightly pathetic, I know.

We headed towards the High after lunch to find the surrounding streets jammed with traffic. So odd, I thought, and just figured there was something happening at the Woodruff Arts Center. There was also a fantastically long line of people standing on the walkway between the two buildings (this should have been my second clue something was amiss).

Finally we parked and then walked, finding the line actually longer than it looked from the street—and it was heading toward the High. We asked a man in line, “Is this the line to get in to the High?” The man chuckled and said, “Yes, and the end of the line is back there” (pointing about three miles back). We must have looked astounded, because he then said, “It’s Pay-as-you-wish Day.” From what I could ascertain, this happens at most once a year and patrons can pay, or not, for admission. At that point, they couldn’t have paid me to stand in that line.
Fernbank
The bubbles are a big draw for children of all ages. (Photo by Melissa Lowrie)
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One big foot stands at the bottom of the Great Hall. (Photo by Melissa Lowrie)

Clearly, I digress, and I’m sorry, but I think it’s a fine time to remind readers: Be sure to check hours, dates, and special events for any establishment you choose to visit BEFORE YOU GO.

So, we headed for Fernbank by default (or should I say my fault).

Fernbank is in a beautiful part of old Atlanta and it’s a 140-mile round-trip from Big Canoe. The structure is built surrounding the permanent exhibit Giants of the Mesozoic, filling the Great Hall. Here you can stand at the feet of a replica fossil of one of the largest dinosaurs to ever walk the earth.

From the dino feet, patrons head up from the ground level to explore the two upper floors. One of the new editions is NatureQuest. Built to look like the outdoors, younger kids will enjoy exploring this area with a clubhouse built into an oak tree. The IMAX Theater is on this floor as well; tickets to shows are not included in the price of admission.

There was a hands-on science exhibition that my kids loved with a very popular spot to blow extremely large bubbles and to experiment with sound and light. Another well-visited spot was the Walk Through Time in Georgia exhibition where you explore the natural history of Georgia; look out for the lurking giant sloth.

One of the favorites of my group was the World of Shells. It’s an awesome display of all shapes and sizes of shells collected from Georgia and other parts of the world. It’s tucked back behind the Star Gallery, and we just stumbled upon it—make sure your group finds these shells when you visit, it’s worth the hunt.

Fernbank was a fun way to spend an afternoon, even though it’s a drive and on the pricey side. It was $70 for two adults and two children. The museum got two thumbs up from my kids, but I was asked to note that they liked Tellus (in Cartersville) better.

More information can be found on the website: www.fernbankmuseum.org. And I’ll be sure to let you know if we ever make it to the High. Until then, enjoy an outing with your kids or grands and have fun!

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