Fernbank Museum of Natural History#9 in Best Things To Do in Atlanta
Explore the prehistoric and present-day natural worlds at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History. Visitors can immerse themselves in exhibits featuring dinosaur fossils, wildlife native to Georgia, cultural garments and more. Travelers can also enjoy a 3D movie at the park's theater or some light fare at the Fernbank Café. Plus, the museum boasts three outdoor experiences, accessible from the terrace. WildWoods features two scenic viewing platforms and two playground areas for children 13 and younger. The Nature Gallery exhibit, located within WildWoods, gives information about the sweetgum tree and has rotating exhibits. Finally, Fernbank Forest features more than 2 miles of paved paths that allow visitors to explore a 65-acre forest. When walking along the paths, keep your eyes peeled for animals, as hundreds of species call the area home. Educator-led tours of Fernbank Forest are also available a few times a month (for a fee).
The outside areas get especially high praise from visitors, some even say they spent almost as much time outside as they did inside. Inside, past museumgoers were wowed by the dinosaur exhibit, while some found the other exhibits were better designed for kids or could use some updating.
The Fernbank Museum of Natural History is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets cost $20 for adults, $19 for seniors and $18 for children ages 3 to 12. You can also purchase a combo ticket that includes museum admission and a movie of your choice at the museum's theater. Those who purchased the Atlanta CityPass can enter for free. Admission to all outdoor activities is included in the ticket price. The museum is about 5 miles northeast of downtown. On-site parking is available for free but is limited. Should you prefer to use public transit, take MARTA's Blue line to the East Lake Station, then hop on the No. 2 bus to the corner of Ponce de Leon Avenue and Clifton Road. For additional information, visit the museum's website.
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#1 Atlanta History Center
Spread across 33 acres in Atlanta's trendy Buckhead neighborhood, the Atlanta History Center seeks to explore Georgia's past through comprehensive exhibitions, historic homes and miles of gardens and trails. The center's primary facility is the Atlanta History Museum, which showcases exhibits that span the region's history, from Native American culture to life in the antebellum South.
Near the museum is the Swan House, a restored estate originally built in 1928. Living up to its name, every room allegedly features at least one swan (motif). Outside the house, the Swan Woods Trail is lined with beautiful plants native to Georgia. Nearby, you can also see how the other half lived at the Smith Family Farm, a plantation house from the mid-1800s. Meanwhile, bookworms won't want to miss a tour of the Margaret Mitchell House, where the author penned her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, "Gone With the Wind."
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