Explore Atlanta’s science museums

Discover Fernbank Museum of Natural History

When you’re ready to explore the Earth and beyond, Atlanta’s science museums have exhibitions, special events and movies you’ll want to see.

Mel Turner, from left and Tim Geter spend time looking a crossbow made of bone and carved with precision on display in the “Knights in Armor" exhibit of European armor from the 1500s on Friday, Feb 11, 2022. (Jenni Girtman for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Jenni Girtman

Fernbank Museum of Natural History

Located just minutes away from Candler Park and Emory University, the Fernbank Museum of Natural History boasts 160,000 square feet of exhibition space. Visitors will be able to see skeletons of some of the world’s largest dinosaurs, get hands-on with science experiments that will test senses and learn more about Georgia’s ancient natural history. The museum sits on the edge of Fernbank Forest, the nation’s biggest old-growth Piedmont stand in an urban area.

Frequently changing, large-scale special exhibitions give visitors another reason to experience their hometown museum. Check out current and future offerings on their special exhibitions page.

While the entire museum is kid-friendly, parents will want to leave time during their visit for their children to explore the immersive Fernbank NatureQuest exhibit that serves as a play and education space with hundreds of hands-on activities. Kids can engage in endless exploration of several types of ecosystems.

Throughout the year, Fernbank hosts themed educational fun days such as Excellent Experiments, Dino Talk and Critter Corner. Most activities for these special days are included with admission.

In addition to the exhibitions, the natural history museum shows a variety of Imax movies throughout the year in their theater. If you’ve never seen an Imax film you’re in for a treat. There are usually several movies playing daily.

Location: Druid Hills - 767 Clifton Road; Website: fernbankmuseum.org; Contact: 404-929-6300; Admission: $22.95-$24.95, annual memberships start at $80

Behind the high-level security at the CDC is the David J. Sencer CDC Museum which displays old technologies and highlights information and history of AIDS, smallpox, Legionnaires’ Disease, venereal disease, ebola and much more. (Jenni Girtman / Atlanta Event Photography)
Jenni Girtman / Atlanta Event Photography, Access Atlanta

David J. Sencer CDC Museum

More than just a destination during the first season of The Walking Dead, the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta is also a destination for the city’s residents and visitors who want to learn more about the health of the world and the science behind keeping people healthy.

Free to visit, the museum tells the history of the CDC and features physical and online exhibitions sharing information about public health around the world. In the online exhibits, visitors will find information on the beginning of public health in America, a history of Ebola and the communication of disease prevention through art. In the physical exhibits, they can view permanent exhibitions on subjects such as the CDC’s history and changing displays that focus on topics like the organization’s Climate and Health program and examinations of specific diseases like influenza.

Unlike other Atlanta area science museums, the CDC Museum is only open Monday through Friday and is closed on federal holidays.

Location: Druid Hills - 1600 Clifton Road, Atlanta, GA; Website: cdc.gov; Contact: 404-639-0830 Admission: Free, photo ID required

Atlanta-Biologist Dr. Kate Wejnert works with a student during an owl pellet dissection lab that was conducted both online and in-person at the Fernbank Science Center on Thursday, April 15, 2021. Ben Gray for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Fernbank Science Center

Situated on four acres deeded to the DeKalb County School System, the Fernbank Science Center was completed in 1967 and is dedicated to introducing children to science topics like the solar system and biology.

The center is home to an observatory, a seismology lab, an Apollo spacecraft from the Apollo 6 Saturn V test flight and a planetarium.

It’s not just the stars, planets, moons and sun that show up on the 70-foot planetarium screen. Multiple times daily, the Center shows educational programs fit for families. Movie offerings change frequently and times vary by day.

Location: Druid Hills - 156 Heaton Park Drive; Website: fernbank.edu; Contact: 678-874-7102; Admission: General admission is free, but tickets for the planetarium are $10 for adults and $5 for students and seniors

Anita Thomas, a board member with Emory's Michael C. Carlos Museum, takes the audio tour through the exhibit.
Rich Addicks, Access Atlanta

Michael C. Carlos Museum

The rotating exhibits at Emory’s Michael C. Carlos Museum often take on social and environmental issues. Past offering include “Confronting Slavery in the Classical World” and “And I Must Scream: The Monstrous Expression of Our Global Crisis.” These ever-changing offerings include art in a variety of mediums from paintings and sculpture to photography.

The museum also offers online collections where viewers can see the mummies the facility has come to be known for. Those who visit in person can see its permanent collections, which include works that highlight the history of the Americas, the Near East, Rome and more.

Located on the campus of Emory University, the facility offers guided tours each Sunday at 2 p.m. Throughout the year, the museum also hosts workshops introducing tweens and teens to art and history through hands-on, fun learning experiences. Actual visits to the museum are family friendly affairs with available resources like Family Guides designed to add a little fun to collection exploration, along with SmARTy Packs activity packages, which families can check out at the information desk for a more engaging learning experience.

Location: Druid Hills - 571 South Kilgo Circle; Website: carlos.emory.edu; Contact: 404-727-4282 Admission: $8 for adults, $6 for children 6-17 and seniors

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