101 Things v2 - 2009 to 2011,  Atlanta,  Family,  Infant and Toddler

Fernbank Museum

(I apologize in advance for all of the pictures! Some are mine and some are my father’s.)

We are starting to introduce Luke to the wonders of museums. I have been a museum nut since I was a child, probably starting around his age, and I can only hope the same for him. As many of you know, one of the things on my 101 List was to take Luke to the Fernbank Museum. He’s already been to Fernbank Science Center (it’s free!), and it is the one I remember visiting when I was in Kindergarten or so. They even still have some of the same displays, though they are now in different places. I really miss their gem exhibit; I wonder what happened to it.

Anyway, the point being, I wanted to take Luke to the big museum to see the dinosaur bones and exhibit, I just wasn’t sure when we would get around to it. As I mentioned in my previous post, Luke came home a couple of weeks ago telling us all about dinosaurs, which they were learning about in school. Now he was already somewhat familiar with dinosaurs from some books we have at home, but he was also talking about how you can see dinosaur bones at museums. They even did the cutest craft at school about dinosaur bones:

Deciding to take the cosmic hint that was being waved in my face, and definitely wanting to reinforce that things you learn about in school really are real and do relate to the real world, we made plans to visit Fernbank Museum. Upon learning that my parents would also be visiting last weekend, we invited them along. We even decided not to change plans, despite the fact that temps were only in the teens that morning. After doing the math at the ticket window, we became contributing members, so now we can go back all year! There are a couple of special exhibitions coming that I would really like to see, and they are free with membership.

Luke was appropriately awed when we walked in. You come in on the second level, literally about head high with a replica of the largest dinosaur skeleton ever found on earth. He waited on the second floor just long enough for me to take this picture:

And then he was ready to run down the spiral staircase, which lent itself beautifully to these two pictures, which I absolutely love:

Here are some other shots of the main atrium:

And we even ventured outside briefly (remember, temps below freezing, and Luke and I were not wearing coats inside) when I spotted the stegosaurus statue. Luke wasn’t too sure about getting this close at first, but after I demonstrated that it was safe, he was okay.

Not much else to do down there when there is no special temporary exhibit on display and you’re not going to see an IMAX film, so we headed back up to the second floor. (I love this shot; thanks Dad!)

While all of the exhibits are fairly interesting, we were mainly there for (what else) the dinosaurs. I knew there were some more hiding in the back of the Walk Through Time section on the second floor. Luke stopped here and there to look at some of the animals of the different regions on the way in. He particularly liked the birds, though he thought some of the bird sound effects were too loud. Then came the most awesome room ever!

And I do really want to mention this particular display. This is a giant sloth, or a model of what they think one looked like back when it roamed around Georgia. A near-complete skeleton was found in coastal Georgia in 1991. See:

But the really interesting thing? Those “divers” the sign mentions? I personally know the man who found it! He’s a doctor by profession and does black water diving in the local rivers as a hobby. (He is also an avid windsurfer.) My mom has worked for him for years and years, and I think she was working for him at the time of the discovery (she would have been new then). The sign doesn’t credit him specifically, so I would like to properly honor Dr. Rob Rittgers for his amazing find.

After that, it was up to the third and final floor. I caught the first shot when Luke wanted to look out on the dinos from way above. The third floor is mainly the kid’s area. There is a small exhibit room at the top of the stairs, where I got this really cool shot of Luke’s reflection by accident (using the DSLR that Dad let me play with a little).

There was also an interactive “hands on” area that is nearly as much fun for the grown-ups as the kids. Luke particularly enjoyed the bubbles, the triple color shadows, and the television weather map demos. And I didn’t realize until we got up there that it looks out over the dinosaur area, so I got a great shot of Luke with is mostest favoritest dinosaur: the pterodactyl.

By this point, it was right at lunchtime, and Luke was starting to crash fast. Where better to eat when already practically downtown on Ponce? Zesto’s! It’s a family tradition dating back over 35 years, given that my parents used to go on dates there, and DH and I visited plenty of times for a quick dinner before the annual Fox Summer Film Fest (you know, back when we could attend those). So here we are, three generations, ready to enjoy burgers, dogs, tater tots, and the world’s best soft serve at Zesto’s. (Shame on me for forgetting my mini-tripod!) It was a truly great day!

Currently feeling: good to the bone