It’s Blooming Time in Fernbank Forest

Spring brings a sea of color to Fernbank Forest. This 65-acre old-growth forest with a high diversity of many types of plants, including dozens of different species of native wildflowers. The yearly display of wildflowers peaks in the spring, filling the forest with vibrant blooms of color in February and March, sunlight easily streams through the canopy while trees are still leafless, coaxing the ephemeral wildflowers up from beneath the surface of the soil.

They emerge quickly and bloom for just a few weeks, enjoying the longer days and abundant sunshine. Soon after blooming they (hopefully) get pollinated and set their seed, then vanish back to their roots, not to be seen again until next year.

March and April are often the highlight of spring wildflower season, but Fernbank Forest generally has at least one species blooming from February through November—so keep your eyes on the ground throughout the year and you’re likely to see something new each visit.

Early Spring Wildflowerswildflowers copy
Bloodroot Sanguinaria canadensis
Spicebush Lindera benzoin
Spring beauty Claytonia virginica
Violets Viola spp.
Trout lily Erythronium spp.
Toothwort Cardamine angustata
Sweet betsy trillium Trillium cuneatum
Wild geranium Geranium maculatum

Mid-Spring Wildflowers
Oconee bells Shortia galacifolia
Redbud Cercis canadensis
Yellow trillium Trillium luteum
Star chickweed Stellaria pubera
Nodding trillium Trillium rugelii
Sweetshrub Calycanthus floridus
Foamflower Tiarella cordifolia
Pawpaw Asimina parviflora
Pale yellow trillium Trillium discolor
Doll’s eyes Actaea pachypoda

Late Spring Wildflowers
Tuliptree Liriodendron tulipifera
Umbrella magnolia Magnolia tripetala
Rain lily Zephyranthes atamasca
Solomon’s seal Polygonatum biflorum
Partridgeberry Mitchella repens
Indian Pink Spigelia marilandica

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for photos of this year’s wildflowers.

Guided tours of Fernbank Forest are offered regularly. Visit our calendar of events for details.


March 15, 2018 at 1:16 pm Leave a comment

Solar Eclipse Activities

Today’s Schedule of Events

Monday, August 21, 2017

Happy Eclipse Day! We are happy to announce the following special programming:

Special Giveaway: The first 300 people to purchase a Value Pass at the Box Office will receive a FREE social eclipse viewer.*

NASA Eclipse Live Feedfile-5
Noon – 4pm, Francis Wood Wilson Foundation Theater – Lower Level
Watch the live stream from NASA as the solar eclipse moves across the country.
Please note the live stream could be affected by overwhelming demand on the NASA server.

Solar Eclipse Viewing
1pm – 4pm, Dinosaur Plaza
View the solar eclipse with your own NASA-approved glasses or watch on our Sun Gun (pictured) viewing screen.
1:05 Partial Eclipse Begins | 2:36 Maximum Eclipse | 4:01 Partial Eclipse Ends
Weather dependent: Clouds affect Sun Gun view-ability.

Pinhole Viewers
10am – 4pm, Greeter Station and 1-4pm Dinosaur Plaza
Fernbank will distribute pinhole cards, which allow guests to watch the eclipse indirectly and safely without special solar lenses. Available while supplies last!

Learn more about ways to safely view the eclipse
Become a Fernbank Museum member
More fun and educational programming at Fernbank

*Giveaway limited to the first 300 Value Passes purchased. Valid for in-person purchases at the Box Office only. Not valid with phone or online orders. While supplies last only. Value Pass tickets are $26 for adults, $24 for seniors, $22 for children and $8 for members. Solar viewers may not be purchased separately; our Museum Store is completely sold out of its stock of solar glasses and viewers.

August 21, 2017 at 2:44 pm Leave a comment

Amphibian Surveying in Fernbank Forest

Fernbank Museum scientists have been participating in the Metro Atlanta Amphibian Monitoring Program, hosted by the Atlanta Botanical Garden. This program is meant to gather a baseline and monitor amphibian populations throughout the Metro Atlanta area as a long term study of wetland health and to identify areas in need of restoration. Each month, scientists spend several hours in Fernbank Forest looking for and counting salamanders and frogs as well as listening for frog calls after sunset.

Learn more about Fernbank Forest.

Come face-to-face with a variety of amphibians and reptiles at Fernbank’s annual Reptile Day on Saturday, July 8.

May 30, 2017 at 2:52 pm Leave a comment

Archaeology Month at Fernbank

May is Archaeology Month at Fernbank Museum!

Our celebration of archaeology is inspired by Georgia’s Archaeology Awareness Month, held each May to create awareness about the Georgia’s archaeological heritage. In May Fernbank Museum will offer opportunities for visitors to learn more about this fascinating science and the look into human history it provides.

New findSpecial Event
Enjoy a hands-on exploration of archaeology crafts, activities and special demonstrations at Fernbank’s Archaeology Day on Saturday, May 20. Learn more

Exhibit Highlights
Conveyed in Clay: Stories from St. Catherines Island
Discover how Native Americans adapted to changes in natural and cultural conditions through the evolution of their pottery, from North American’s oldest examples to 16th century Spanish artifacts. Learn more

De Soto’s Footsteps: New Archaeological Evidence from Georgia
Explore this collection of rare artifacts from Fernbank’s on-going archaeological expedition to investigate the history of early contact between Native American Indians and Europeans in Georgia. This exhibit showcases some of the rare artifacts that tell of those encounters and will reveal the significance of the findings. Learn more

Fernbank NatureQuest
Even our youngest visitors have a chance to explore the science of archaeology through educator-designed immersive activities—including a recreation of a dig site.

All Archaeology Month activities are included with Museum admission and are free for members.

May 3, 2017 at 8:05 pm Leave a comment

Volunteer of the Year

Please join us in congratulating our 2016 Polaris Volunteer of the Year, Stephen Seabolt.

DSC_1460For the past 6 years, Stephen has offered a welcoming smile to all, from guests to Museum staff. He rotates his time between a variety of volunteer roles, including Museum Greeter, Giant Screen Theater Attendant, WildWoods Greeter and as a trained facilitator for the permanent exhibit, A Walk Through Time in Georgia. Stephen enjoys interacting with guests of all ages and shares the enthusiasm of every visitor who walks through our doors.

On Sunday, April 30, Polaris and FUN youth volunteers, along with Stephen, will be honored for their service to the Museum at the annual Volunteer Awards Celebration, hosted by Fernbank President and CEO Susan Neugent. We have a lot to celebrate—in 2016, this amazing group contributed more than 20,000 hours of service!

Please note: due to this special event, the Museum will open an hour later, at 11am, on Sunday, April 30.

Polaris Volunteers
FUN Youth Volunteers
Fernbank Forest Restoration Volunteers

April 28, 2017 at 2:25 pm Leave a comment

Meet the Newest Member of the Old Growth Forest Network

Just in time for Earth Day, Fernbank Museum of Natural History is proud to announce that Fernbank Forest will be officially inducted as a Dedicated Forest into the Old Growth Forest Network on April 25, 2017 at EcoAddendum’s “Discovering Atlanta’s Original Forest” event at Emory University.

The Old Growth Forest Network is a national network of recognized greenspaces with a goal of inducting at least one forest per county across the country and reversing the decline of old-growth forests. The OGFN works to recognize the preservation of forests so that visitors can experience native forests in their mature diversity and complexity, and enjoy the cultural, ecological and health benefits of these natural spaces.

“Atlanta is one of the most forested metropolises in the country. Within the city are numerous fragmented segments of old-growth forest, the largest of which is Fernbank Forest. Joan Maloof has created an organization that recognizes specific forests and the importance of protecting and preserving these biological refuges. It is an honor for Fernbank Forest to inducted into the Old-Growth Forest Network among many other forests, all set aside as ecological preserves that can be enjoyed for generations to come,” said Fernbank Ecologist, Eli Dickerson.

After a period of comprehensive ecological restoration – involving the removal of over 50 acres of threatening non-native invasive plant species – access to Fernbank Forest was made possible via a connector trail from Fernbank Museum last fall.

Be a part of preserving Fernbank Forest by becoming a restoration volunteer!

Plan your visit to Fernbank Forest.

April 21, 2017 at 4:22 pm Leave a comment

The Gift of Learning

On Saturday, February 4, 2017, Fernbank Museum debuted its Giant Screen Theater, featuring state-of-the-art 4K digital projection with both 2D and 3D capabilities.

Through cutting-edge technology, Fernbank’s Giant Screen Theater will provide a truly immersive movie going experience—from floor to ceiling. In addition to the laser projection system, the theater was outfitted with new seats, floors, sound system, screen and the ability to show films in 2D and 3D formats.

These exciting upgrades were made possible by a generous gift from local entrepreneur and lifelong advocate of learning, travel and natural history, Dante Stephensen.

Stephensen’s commitment to inspiring youth for generations to come will be fulfilled by Fernbank’s incredible new state-of-the-art theaters.

Film by Jef Bredemeier.

April 13, 2017 at 1:37 pm Leave a comment

Older Posts


At Fernbank Museum, there’s much more than dinosaurs and giant-screen films. Even with our website, e-newsletters, Facebook pages and Twitter updates, there’s still a lot we’d like to share with you. This blog is an opportunity for the people that keep Fernbank running and constantly expanding, to share stories from their point of view. We hope you’ll enjoy these first-hand, behind-the-scenes glimpses of what goes into keeping a world-class natural history museum running. As always, we’d love to hear your feedback on these stories, to hear your personal experiences and hear any suggestions for topics. Happy reading!