Fernbank Forest Wildflowers

bloodroot_Sanguinaria canadensis_2.20.17
Bloodroot Sanguinaria canadensis

Fernbank Forest is an 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.

Fernbank Forest, Atlanta, Georgia

Early Spring Wildflowers
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

wild geranium FF_00687
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

Learn more about “Atlanta’s hidden gem,” Fernbank Forest.


March 17, 2017 at 2:12 pm Leave a comment

Fernbank Forest Spring Tree Planting

A large-scale ecological restoration project has been underway in Fernbank Forest for the past few years. While this process mostly involves the careful extraction of nonnative, invasive plant species, it also includes some targeted plantings.

On Saturday, February 25, volunteers, staff and board members planted 26 native tree species as part of the restoration. Species included northern red oak, white oak, blackgum, sassafras and hickory to name just a few.

The plantings took place in an area formerly inundated with bamboo, chocolate vine (Akebia) and Chinese wisteria. The trees fill gaps that were left once the majority of the invasive plants were removed. The trees also provide food for pollinator species, habitat for other organisms, and help prevent soil erosion.

We look forward to maintaining these plantings and watching these trees grow over the coming years and decades.

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Be a part of the restoration and preservation of Fernbank Forest—become a volunteer!

March 9, 2017 at 2:32 pm Leave a comment

Oh, The Weather Outside’s Delightful

After our recent blast of winter weather, Mother Nature is making things up to us with spring like weather.

Join us this weekend and combat those winter blues with 75 acres of nature experiences in WildWoods and Fernbank Forest.dsc_2837-3-edit

In addition to outdoor adventures, we’ll also offer a variety of fun programs:

Saturday, January 14
Pirate Day, 10am – 2pm
Enjoy pirate-themed crafts and games, enjoy a visit from the Atlanta Pirate and Wenches Guild and get up close with over 15 species of parrots.

Tadpole Tales, 11:30am
Join a Fernbank educator for a special pirate-themed edition of this popular preschool program.

Sunday, January 15
Excellent Experiments, 12pm
Explore the amazing world of chemistry through fun experiments in a live presentation.

Live Animal Encounter, 2pm
Meet one of Fernbank’s animal ambassadors.

Monday, January 16excexperiments-fernbank-museum
Weekday Wonders, 10:30am – 1pm
Learn more about magnets through a variety of hands-on activities.

Excellent Experiments, 3pm
Explore the amazing world of chemistry through fun experiments in a live presentation.

All activities are included with Museum admission and are free for members. Fernbank Museum is open 10am – 5pm daily.

January 13, 2017 at 7:54 pm Leave a comment

Cheers to 2017

As part of our annual Noon Year’s Eve celebration, we’ve partnered with GoGo Squeez to offer complimentary healthy snacks for our visitors. We encourage you to turn your treat into a celebratory mocktail using the following recipe.



  • 8 pouches GoGo squeeZ applesauce
  • 1 cup lime juice
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves
  • 4 cups club soda (Can substitute ginger ale or Sprite)


  • Shake applesauce, lime juice and mint. Fine strain into a glass and top with soda. Makes 6-8 drinks.

Cheers and Happy New Year!


December 30, 2016 at 4:25 pm Leave a comment

Say Hello to My Little Friend


I’d like to introduce you to someone special. He’s an important part of the Fernbank Team and works hard to help the Museum fulfill its mission.

Say hello to one of our leopard geckos, “Prince Charming.”  As one of our Animal Ambassadors, Prince Charming participates in animal encounters, educational programs and he’s pretty darn cute.

A gift to The Annual Fund would support Prince Charming and his fellow Animal Ambassadors do more for the Museum and our community.

  • $10 helps Prince Charming reach up to 1,000 students, teaching them about animal habitats, ecosystems and reptile characteristics.
  • $20 provides one week’s worth of food, keeping Prince Charming properly fueled up to teach visitors about habitats, ecosystems, native animals and animal taxonomy.
  • $30 maintains Prince Charming’s habitat at Fernbank and supplies his food for two months.

Make  a gift online today!

Give confidently! Fernbank Museum holds a 4-star rating (the highest rating awarded to nonprofits) from Charity Navigator, the nation’s largest charity evaluator.

December 8, 2016 at 11:48 pm Leave a comment

And the winner is…

…Fernbank Museum of Natural History, named best “Rain-or-Shine Fun” by Atlanta Magazine.


December 8, 2016 at 4:39 pm Leave a comment

Dinosaur Q&A

Fernbank’s resident dino-spokesperson, Giggy A. Dinosaur, had the opportunity to chat with Author and paleontologist Dr. Anthony Martin of Emory University. Dr. Martin has made several appearances at Fernbank Museum, including the special presentation, Science on Screen: Jurassic Park. This is a repost of Giggy’s “dino talk.”

While I’m a fan of Chris Pratt leading a gang of Velociraptors, nothing compares to the original Jurassic Park. And, nothing compares to watching this most iconic of dinosaur films with an actual paleontologist! But before Dr. Martin delves into the science behind the film (can we talk about that Triceratops poop??), I had a few questions:

adreaWhat is your favorite part of being a paleontologist?
My favorite part of being a paleontologist is going outside and searching for fossils, especially with other paleontologists. I’m really happy whenever I get the chance to do this.

Why are my arms so short?
Blame your ancestors and evolution for that. Your great-great-great-great grandparents probably didn’t need big arms to survive a typical day during the Mesozoic Era, so your arms reflect that history, which is perfectly, normal. Besides, long arms are overrated.

What is your favorite dinosaur?
Oh, that’s easy: Oryctodromeus cubicularis. This was a small ornithopod dinosaur from Montana that lived during the Cretaceous Period, about 95 million years ago. One reason why it’s my favorite dinosaur is because it’s the only known burrowing dinosaur, fossilized in its den with two younger dinosaurs of the same species. Even better, I was lucky enough to co-name it! Its name literally means “digging runner of the den.”

Have you met Jeff Goldblum?
No, I haven’t. But you know what’s really sad for him? He hasn’t met me yet, either. Hopefully it will happen someday: after all, life finds a way.

Do you have any snacks?
What did you have in mind: Chihuahuas or Great Danes? Wait a minute: why are you looking at me like that?

Black and blue or gold and white?
I like dresses of all colors, regardless of how people perceive them.

Do you think feathers would look good on me?
Oh, for sure. I’m thinking iridescent black for most of your body, with some yellow and red feathers on your arms, and hot pink on the top of your head. With an ensemble like that, think of how you’d rock the Buckhead night life!

When can we go to Jurassic Park?
I’m sorry to report that ‘Jurassic Park’ closed about 145 million years ago. Fortunately, though, we can still see the living descendants of dinosaurs today as birds. Which is pretty cool, because that means you can watch the relatives of ‘Jurassic Park’ in your backyard every day.

You can find Dr. Martin on Twitter at @Ichnologist. And you can Giggy on Twitter at @giga_a_dino and on Facebook.

December 8, 2016 at 4:32 pm Leave a comment

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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!