Archive for December, 2011

2011: A Year in Pictures

As we put the finishing touches on this year, we’d like to take this opportunity to look back over the many wonderful highlights of 2011, told through photos.


Fan favorite "Journey into Amazing Caves" returned to Fernbank's IMAX Theatre, scheduled to open January 10.

However, "Journey into Amazing Caves" was delayed slightly when Fernbank, like most of Atlanta, experienced a rare "snow day" and was closed to the public January 10 and 11.

Baby, it was cold outside!


As the snow melted, buzz was building in anticipation of "Mythic Creatures: Dragons, Unicorns & Mermaids," opening February 19.

"Mythic Creatures" opening day, February 19. Many kids (and adults) came in costume to this festive event.

Juliana (3), daughter of Fernbank staffer Teresa McKelvey, takes one of the "Fernbank NatureQuest" activities for a test run on February 26, before the grand opening.


My, what little teeth they had. On March 3, Fernbank's newest residents, three baby alligators, moved into their new home in "Fernbank NatureQuest."

At long last, "Fernbank NatureQuest" opened to the public on March 19.

An inflatable alligator slide was one of the many activities featured during the opening celebration of "Fernbank NatureQuest," March 19 and 20.


Filmmaker and storm chaser Sean Casey and the TIV (tornado intercept vehicle) visited Fernbank on April 3 as part of the run of "Tornado Alley" in IMAX.

An egg-celent, egg-traordinary egg hunt egg-stravangaza! Fernbank's 2nd annual "Dinosaur Egg Hunt" on April 23 featured more eggs, more hunts and more fun!


Surf's up, dude! "Ultimate Wave" crashed into IMAX on May 6.

Princesses (and pirates) invaded Fernbank on May 14 for a day of family fun!


Nearly 400 mambo-chic guests attended the 17th Annual "Lost Oasis: Mythic Mambo" benefit on June 11.

It was a bird! It was a plane! It was Fernbank's inaugural "Superhero Day," on June 19.


More pirate and princess fun you say? Okay! (July 9)


Well shiver me timbers! More pirates and princesses on August 6.

Fernbank's annual "Dinosaur Birthday Bash" was extended to 2 days (August 20 and 21) in recognition of the "Giants of the Mesozoic's" 20th anniversary.


Checking in on our "Fernbank NatureQuest" alligators on September 7. OH BOY, have they grown!

"Darwin" opened September 24 with a family day celebration that included a "Dress Like Darwin" opportunity.

Say hello to Iggy, the live green iguana featured in "Darwin." (September 24)


Fernbank's annual fundraising gala, "A Timeless Affair" on October 1.

Fernbank's traveling Darwin started popping up all over town. He even made a quick stop at the Mellow Mushroom in Decatur for a slice.

Fernbank's traveling Darwin started popping up all over town. He even made a quick stop at the Mellow Mushroom (October 21) in Decatur for a slice.

Who said Halloween is just for kids? Adults enjoyed the annual Martinis & IMAX Fright Night party on Ocotober 28.

A new tradition! The Museum's inagural "Fernbank BOO-seum" Halloween event (October 29).


Fantastic fall foliage in Fernbank Forest on November 5.

Another photo from Fernbank Forest on November 5.

Fernbank’s 2nd annual "Winter Wonderland: Celebrations & Traditions Around the World" opened November 16.


Atlanta Ballet's Nutcracker Kids performed during the "Caroling & Cupcakes Weekend," December 3 and 4.

A couple enjoying a "Winter Wonderland Celebration Weekend" started dancing, much to the delight of their son watching nearby.

A couple enjoying a "Winter Wonderland Celebration Weekend" started dancing, much to the delight of their son watching nearby. (December 17)

Turkish Student Organization Folk Dance Group performing at a "Winter Wonderland Celebration Weekend." (December 17)

Of course, this is only a small sampling of the exhibitions, films, events and memorable moments from this year. And what a wonderful year we had, thanks in large part to all of you.

Here’s to a happy and prosperous 2012!

—Deanna Smith, Director of Marketing


December 14, 2011 at 2:38 pm Leave a comment

Our Favorite Holiday Traditions, 2011 Edition

Last year on this blog we shared a few of our staff’s favorite holiday traditions in honor of the holiday-inspired exhibition and programming series Winter Wonderland: Celebrations & Traditions Around the World.

Just as Winter Wonderland has returned for a triumphant 2nd year, we are happy to give you another round of some of our favorite holiday traditions. Enjoy!

Every Christmas Eve my family watches National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. We used to beg to open one gift before we went to bed when we were little so it has become a must. On Christmas Day there’s an unwritten rule among my brothers, cousins and I: we try to eat the most food, drink the most spiked punch, and win the most brownie points with my Grandparents as humanly possible. It’s always a treat to have everyone together in Pennsylvania as we live all over the country.
Natalie Keen, Assistant Manager of Member Relations

Thanksgiving is now a costume event with my family.  It stems from my resentment towards my mother from when I was 10 and she made me wear a pilgrim costume to her friend’s thanksgiving dinner.  About 10 years ago, she and I were laughing about it and she said, “okay make me a pilgrim costume and I will wear it.”  So I did. Now every year, she comes as a pilgrim. Also when my niece was born, I made her a costume so that she was the can of cranberry sauce and another year she came as the sweet potato casserole.
Dorothy Love, Assistant Manager of Development

Growing up my mother would play guitar and sing to us. Having been sung to all his life, my older brother John developed an affinity for the guitar and country music early on. When he was very little, he would sing and strum his plastic bat as if it were a guitar. Eventually he graduated to a toy guitar and then a real guitar. Today he lives in Nashville and is a computer programmer by day and a country musician by night. Now my brother plays the guitar each year at Christmas when we all sing Christmas carols.
Marisa Crissey, Communications Design Director

I don’t recall a winter season without my favorite holiday treat, Cheese Daisies. My mother made Cheese Daisies every December from a recipe in one of her favorite cookbooks, the “Charleston Receipts” collected by the Junior League of Charleston 1950. Faithful to the tradition today, I am delighted to share the recipe with you.

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 ½ cups of sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • ¼ cup of Parmesan cheese
  • 1/8 teaspoon of red pepper (a dash more if you want more kick!)
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 ½ cups of flour
  • Pecan halves

Cream butter and cheese together. Sift red pepper and salt with flour, then slowly add to the butter and cheese mixture. Knead until creamed together and smooth. Chill for ½ hour. Roll out and cut with a small biscuit cutter or simply pinch a coin size of dough and roll in your hand. Gently press with a pecan half. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes. Yields 24 biscuits.
Leslie Rutkowski, Vice President of Development

My favorite holiday tradition is the gathering of my family. As long as I can remember, we have gathered Christmas Eve for a dual celebration—Christmas and my grandpa’s birthday. My grandpa is one of double-digit siblings and he has passed along the commitment to gather the entire family to his 9 children and all the grandchildren. Though some of my aunts & uncles thought we’d have to split into our immediate family groups, they have passed along the commitment to their children. Now, there are over 50 of us to gather… and for most holidays we can all make it. I’m looking forward to Christmas with my family this year and hopeful for Wisconsin snow while we’re there!
Lynn Anders, Education Programs Manager—Animal Programs

If you have a tradition you’d like to share, please e-mail it along with your full name to and if we get enough responses, we’ll share those in a future blog post.

—Deanna Smith, Director of Marketing

December 6, 2011 at 9:38 pm Leave a comment


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!