Last week, we had the opportunity to visit the Tellus Science Museum in Cartersville, Georgia.
Until recently, I had never heard of this hidden gem. It’s located just of I-75 at exit 293. Yes, for those of you in the metro Atlanta area, I know that is a bit of a drive. I promise, though, it is completely worth your time to visit.
Let me tell you a bit more about the Tellus Science Museum.
Tellus Science Museum is a world-class 120,000 square foot facility. The purpose of the museum is to open minds and ignite a passion for science. The museum contains four main galleries:
- Weinman Mineral Gallery
- Fossil Gallery
- Science in Motion
- Collins Family “My Big Backyard”
Tellus Science Museum also contains a 120 seat digital planetarium, fossil dig and gem panning, and a solar house.
We had the opportunity to explore all that Tellus has to offer, and I am thoroughly impressed with the quality of the exhibits, as well as the knowledge and friendliness of their staff.
We started our visit in the Fossil Gallery. What can I say? The 80 foot Apatosaurus drew us in!
Stare into the mouth of a Tyrannosaurus rex, catch a glimpse of a saber-tooth cat and discover how life on Earth began in the Tellus Fossil Gallery. This walk through history will take visitors past millions of years of dinosaurs, reptiles and giant mammals that dominated the land, sea and air before becoming extinct.
The fossil gallery is absolutely incredible. This gallery features numerous dinosaur skeletons and they are all truly remarkable. In addition to the huge Apatosaurus, there is a fearsome Tyrannosaurus rex. We also really enjoyed seeing the 9 foot Megadalon jaw. Yes- the jaw alone was this large! This ocean-dwelling shark was larger than a school bus!
Weinman Mineral Gallery
Discover how the Earth was formed billions of years ago and walk among hundreds of beautiful gems and minerals in the Weinman Mineral Gallery. Featured exhibits include more than 50 cases with a variety of gems, gold, and some of Georgia’s most prized minerals.
This was a really fun, yet educational wing of the museum. There were cases full of many unique and beautiful minerals. Some were ones you’d find around here, and other are not native to the area. We even saw a chunk of granite from one of our favorite places- Stone Mountain. I learned that there are minerals in many of the every day products we use- toothpaste, as well as many foods. There were also several interactive exhibits. In our favorite exhibit, you hit a pad to create your own little earthquake. There were also opportunities to learn about plate tectonics and the Earth’s crust.
Science in Motion
From Kitty Hawk, North Carolina to the Moon, the Science in Motion Gallery will propel visitors through 100 years of changes in transportation technology. Take a ride through history and discover the early changes in automobile manufacturing featuring electric, steam and gasoline-powered cars. Vintage vehicles like the 1896 Ford Quadricycle and the 1886 Benz Patent Motorwagon display the progress that moved the automobile industry forward at the start of the 20th century. A special portion of the gallery is dedicated to the men who first traveled away from Earth. A replica of the Apollo I capsule, a Mercury capsule and a replica of Sputnik are also on display in the Science in Motion Gallery.
This is an area of the museum I would have liked to spend a lot more time in. Science in Motion covers the history of transportation. There is an incredibly authentic replica of a Wright Flyer, as well as several space capsules. The Apollo 1 capsule, which was destroyed during a cabin fire at a launch pad test, was my favorite part. To see a replica of something so amazing that is such a big part of our history in space was truly remarkable. Nearby, there was also a space suit which you could stand behind and pretend to be an astronaut!
Collins Family “My Big Backyard”
The world of science is every child’s playground in the Collins Family My Big Backyard! Children will step into the backyard wonderland of an imaginative young inventor named CJ. Throughout CJ’s backyard children will encounter inventions that will inspire everyone, from the littlest scientist to the more seasoned of experimenters. Youngsters can play with light, rainbows, mirrors and more in the greenhouse. The shed is filled with sound experiments, and the garage is a great place to discover the properties of magnets and work with electricity. Tellus has not forgotten the youngest of all future scientists. They will be drawn to an interactive garden created just for them. With magnet games, sorting activities, raceways and more, exploring science will be a fun, engaging opportunity even for these little ones. Of course no backyard is complete without trees, and this backyard is no exception. Our enormous walk-in tree features a special projection screen designed to educate visitors – big and small – about weather.The Collins Family My Big Backyard is the place for young scientists to discover their world. All of the activities in the gallery are designed to inspire, challenge and educate children of all ages.
This was by far the most interactive of the four main museum galleries. Everything just begged to be touched, and I am fairly certain Raileigh got her hands on everything! In the interactive garden, Raileigh enjoyed some sorting activities and built a nice big tower from blocks. She and Darren also had fun building a raceway and sending balls down it. We played with magnets, explored solar power, and learned about reflection. Raileigh could have stayed in here all day!
Take a seat, lean back and prepare for an incredible ride in the Tellus planetarium. The digital projector will take you through our solar system to the edge of the galaxy and beyond. Adults and children of all ages will enjoy this unique experience.
During our visit to the planetarium, we saw the One World, One Sky show. In this show, Big Bird is on Sesame Street with Elmo, and his friend visiting from China, Hu Hu Zhu. The trio teaches viewers about the sun, planets, a few constellations, and the North Star. They even take an imaginary trip to the moon! The show was great. Raileigh is quite familiar with Sesame Street, so she was very receptive to the topic they were teaching. It was a wonderful introduction to stars and the night sky.
Grab a pan and start sifting! Gems and stones lay buried in the sand waiting to be discovered. The Vulcan Materials Company Gem Panning features a working water wheel and plenty of gems for children to find and take home.
I have to admit– this was my absolute favorite part of the museum! I enjoyed using my pan to sift the water and dirt and uncover little gems. We were each given a baggie to take our treasures home in. Raileigh had fun here as well. Well… she enjoyed playing in the water! Most of the gems she found, she would just toss back in the water. I brought home a nice little baggie of gems that we can use for sorting and matching.
Young paleontologists will love the Fossil Dig. Children can grab a brush and begin wiping away the sand to uncover fossils of all shapes and sizes. The walk-in dig holds larger dinosaurs waiting to be discovered. Children can unearth shark teeth, snail shells and other fossils and keep their one favorite as a souvenir.
This was by far Raileigh’s favorite part of the museum. I am certain she would have stayed here all day long if we would have let her! There are several stand up dig areas where you can find real fossils! Each person can choose their favorite to take home. There are identification charts so that you know what each of the fossils you uncover are. There are several larger areas where children can dig for and uncover dinosaur bone recreations. This is where Raileigh spent most of her time, as did Darren. They have a great time unearthing all of the hidden bones.
In case it isn’t already evident, we thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the Tellus Science Museum. This may be a lengthy drive for us, but I can tell you that we will definitely return in the future.
Tellus Science Museum would be an ideal location for a family adventure this summer. Your children will have such a great time, they probably won’t even realize how much they are learning! In case you would like to plan your own visit (which I highly recommend), here is some information about the operating hours and admission.
Monday- Sunday 10am- 5pm (closed New Year’s Day, July 4th, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day)
Members – Free
Adults – $12
Children (3 – 17) – $8
Student with ID – $8
Active Military with ID – Free
Seniors (65+) – $10
Planetarium (Must include paid admission to museum)
$3 – Must include paid admission, free member admission, or complimentary admission pass
$2 – second planetarium show for an individual during one visit
Basic Members – $2 planetarium show (free museum admission)
Leadership Members – no charge
Click here for directions to Tellus.
Make sure to sign up for the Tellus Science Museum Newsletter so that you can stay up to date on all the happenings at this amazing museum.
Disclosure: No monetary compensation was received for this post. My family and I received complimentary admission to the museum. All opinions are my own.