On this particular visit, I specifically went to Fernbank to see Water, but when checking out the website before driving there, I saw that there’s an IMAX film playing that sounded intriguing. It's "Grand Canyon Adventure: River at Risk," which focuses on the Colorado River. Certainly tied into the water theme that was emerging for the afternoon, I added that to my schedule.
|Family Outing at Fernbank
To originally have had only one exhibit on my itinerary for the afternoon, it turned out to be quite a fun-filled exciting day.
Water the Exhibit
|A Visitor Entering "Water"
Incredibly impressed with the technology used to present the water theme, I soon began turning corners expecting that the exhibit was finished. It presumably cost a lot of money and time to create such elaborate displays and there couldn't be much more, I thought. But to my surprise and excitement, the exhibit continued for an impressive duration.
Where some exhibits build anticipation by beginning with the less "showy" displays, saving the grand finale for the end, Water delivers a constant wow-factor throughout.
The doorway to Water is a billowy white blanket of cascading vapor that is illuminated with at least a dozen depictions of the word "water," each image in a different language.
After they went in (I patiently waited because it was my turn to play next), I did indeed experiment with the curious fog…and I too took a few photos. For the not so adventurous, there's an alternate entry, but I recommend the playful option.
Already enchanted with the exhibit, I very quickly discovered that it was not only a spectacle of technology, but highly educational as well…and many of the learning stations are also interactive.
Water (H2O), not surprisingly, is everywhere in the Water exhibit… in all of its forms. One exhibit in particular displays on a tier the process of ice, which you can touch, turning into liquid and then transforming into gas.
There are lots of animals in the exhibit, some live and some replicas, including penguins, fish, birds, a shark, and a life-size polar bear!
The absolute coolest part of the exhibit, I think, is the "Science on a Sphere." It'd been a long time since I'd seen this kind of display so when I turned the corner after the first few displays, the huge, floating, rotating, illuminated Earth totally caught my attention.
|Science on a Sphere
I turned a corner in the exhibit time and again and found something new to learn about water. From the ecologic, economic and cultural effects of dam construction to the environmental and agricultural effects of using antiquated irrigation technology, Water delivers.
I had arrived at Fernbank about 15 minutes before the IMAX film started, so I watched that before exploring Water. It was to my advantage…the content of the film gave me valuable reference points that enhanced the exhibit.
IMAX: Grand Canyon Adventure
I love IMAX films, whether an IMAX documentary or a Hollywood blockbuster, IMAX is the way to go. "Grand Canyon Adventure: River at Risk" is no exception. I hadn't even planed on seeing a show, but the advertisement called to me and as a member it was only $8.56…a lot less than a regular cinema ticket (membership does indeed have its benefits).
|Grand Canyon display
On a side note, I've been to Fernbank numerous times over the past four months that I've been back in Atlanta and the volunteers have consistently been incredibly kind, friendly, and generously helpful "ambassadors." They add a special touch to the Fernbank experience.
Although 2D in presentation, the film is adrenaline-inducing. From 3D-esque special effects to raft-mounted captures of several white water portions of the excursion, the film is a spectacular way to see the Grand Canyon. And it delivers a sense of urgency in the necessity to ramp up our river conservation efforts and water consumption practices.
Grand Canyon Adventure Trailer
Grand Canyon Adventure Trailer
Have I been flooded with Natural History or am I still thirsty enough to return for more? Fernbank is a favorite of mine and of Atlanta's. Several friends have mentioned wanting to go the museum, either because they've not been in a long time or to see a specific exhibit. Count me in…I'll return anytime!
Touring Fernbank Natural History Museum
Date toured: Thursday, December 16, 2010
Location: 767 Clifton Road, NE (directions and map)
Parking: Free onsite parking
Cost: $15 Adults; $14 Seniors and Students; $13 Children
Hours: Monday-Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday noon-5:00 p.m.