I’ve been living here in Atlanta for 10 years and I have to be honest, I’ve never had the opportunity to visit the Fernbank Museum of Natural History. So I was super excited when I received an invitation to check out their newest exhibit: Extreme Mammals.
Extreme Mammals examines how some lineages died out while others diversified to form the groups of well-known mammals living today. Highlights of the exhibition include historic taxidermy specimens—from the egg-laying platypus to the recently extinct Tasmanian wolf (also known as Tasmanian tiger)—and fleshed-out models of spectacular extinct forms, such as Ambulocetus, a “walking whale.”
Along the way, visitors also encounter an entire skeleton of the giant hoofed plant-eaterUintatherium, with its dagger-like teeth and multiple horns. They’ll gasp at the skeleton model ofPuijila darwini, a newly discovered, extinct species of “walking seal” from the High Arctic with webbed feet instead of flippers. They’ll gaze at a life-size model of Indricotherium, the largest land mammal that ever lived. Visitors will be amazed by one of the oldest fossilized bats ever found. And they’ll be captivated by an impressive diorama featuring the once warm and humid swamps and forests of Ellesmere Island, located in the high Arctic 50 million years ago.
Through the use of dynamic media displays, animated computer interactives, hands-on activities, touchable fossils, casts, taxidermy specimens, and more, the exhibition highlights distinctive mammalian qualities and illuminates the shared ancestry that unites these diverse creatures.
The whole experience was really awesome. Since this was our first visit to Fernbank, we took everything in. When you first get to the museum, there is a huge dinosaur sculpture out front. Then there are dinosaur footprints up the walkway to the building just to get you started. Anakin was so excited as soon as we even got out of the car!
Once inside, they have a few other exhibitions running all the time. There is a “Walk Through Georgia” that depicts the different regions of Georgia and how they’ve changed throughout time and there is also a cultural exhibit that explores all the different cultures in the world. And then of course — more dinosaurs!
The Extreme Mammals exhibit is on the first floor, and it is awesome! It gets you really interested and entertained right when you walk into the first section. The very first room has a reconstruction of the largest mammal (indricotherium) that ever walked the earth, and a model of the very smallest mammal ever found (batanoides vanhouteni). As you continue your journey through the exhibit, the program continues to show you (through all different channels) the many different mammals from all regions of the earth, how they lived, how they changed, how they became extinct.
Something I really liked was that they had so many different ways to approach the information so Anakin was constantly interested and entertained. There were several information stations playing videos that explained the way the environment had affected different species and the way the natural changes in the earth affected the existence of life on earth. It was amazing! My favorite video was the one explaining that South America was an island for millions of years. Who knew? Because of this, many mammals that existed there are different than any mammals seen anywhere else in history.
I’ll be honest, Anakin and I are not huge museum goers but we absolutely loved this exhibit. He has already asked when we can go again!
Extreme Mammals is on view at Fernbank Museum from March 2 through August 18, 2013*. The exhibition is included with Museum admission. Tickets are $17.50 for adults, $16.50 for students/seniors, $15.50 for children ages 3-12, free for children 2 and younger, and free for museum members. Value Pass combo tickets include Museum admission as well as an IMAX film, which include Alaska: Spirit of the Wild through March 14, 2013* and Flight of the Butterfliesthrough May 9, 2013*. (*All dates are subject to change.)
If you live in the Atlanta area, I hope you have an opportunity to visit this exhibit. It’s definitely worth it!
Disclaimer: I received no monetary compensation for this review. These opinions are 100% my own.