Atlanta residents, especially younger ones of field trip age, have likely been to Fernbank Museum of Natural History, but the popular Atlanta museum’s newest attraction will give attendees a new perspective on the museum and nature.
Wildwoods aims to connect indoor exhibits with the 65-acre Fernbank Forest that was preserved nearly a century ago by museum founders.
A few months ago, you needed a hard hat to safely explore what would become Wildwoods, but in a few months the space has transformed from a construction site to a space where people of all ages can take in gorgeous views of nature while learning more about the outdoors through safe, interactive, self-guided exhibits.
The outdoor space is scheduled to open to the public Sept. 24. As of that date, Fernbank attendees will be able to walk out of the back door of the museum and step onto a boardwalk that extends out towards a creek and the Fernbank Forest. The idea for the space, according to Fernbank’s VP of Marketing and Communications Brandi Berry, is the further away from the indoor exhibits that attendees roam, the more Wildwoods will encourage observation over interaction.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution visited Fernbank earlier this week to get a sneak peek of what visitors can expect.
Here’s a sneak peek some of the Wildwoods exhibits:
- Nature Stories – Three exhibits geared toward the 8 years old and younger crowd, Nature Stories allows children to get up close and personal with nature. Creek Run recreates a waterfall from the Piedmont region. Kids will get to play and learn about the water cycle as they adjust a manmade dam and hop across miniature bridges. At Nature Play, large blades of imitation grass and balance logs are complimented with real pine cones and other objects from nature to create a safe, interactive way for children to learn about things that they would encounter in a forest. The fun continues at Hidden Stories, a playground that is painted to incorporate trees and a family of owls.
- Adventure Outpost – Inspired by studies that suggest children ages 9-12 learn best through peer-to-peer activities, Adventure Outpost is a two-story exhibit that encourages parents to watch from afar as their kids explore on their own. Viewing scopes allow kids to see Wildwoods through the eyes of a hawk and a weather station allows them to determine the current wind speed and pressure. Kids can crawl through a 20-foot net and walk along balancing ropes, giving them a fun way to get around the exhibit.
- Montgomery Highline Trace – This boardwalk not only creates a walkway through the space, it allows for an elevated view that helps to grasp the scope of each exhibit. Rest on built-in benches within pods that were inspired by the tulip poplar and fern before visiting the rest of Wildwoods.
- Isdell Wildlife Sanctuary – A restored wetland meadow, the Isdell Wildlife Sanctuary was restored with native grass and plants to encourage a “healthier, more diverse ecosystem of wildlife," including birds, butterflies and more, Berry said.
- Nature Gallery Trail – Among the trail in Wildwoods attendees will find seasonal exhibits such as a bug hotel, along with permanent fixtures such as macro sculptures of the life stages of a sweetgum tree.
A majority of Wildwoods is accessible for all abilities, as well as strollers.
The Kendeda Education Pavilion in the middle of Wildwoods will also give classes an opportunity to bring their teachable moments outdoors.
The price of admission will be included in Fernbank’s general admission.
Visit fernbankmuseum.org for more information.