Renderings of the tree pods planned for the Fernbank Museum expansion.
Renderings of the tree pods planned for the Fernbank Museum expansion.

The Fernbank Museum of Natural History in Druid Hills has announced significant expansion plans, which includes the 75-acre Fernbank Forest.

The new outdoor adventure experience will occupy the 10 acres of mature woodlands behind the Museum’s terrace overlook. Experiences will include tree pods, play areas,  ground trails, sensory stations, adventure nets, hands-on water cycle activities, a restored wetland and “floating” walkways. It’s expected to open in the summer of 2016.

“We are thrilled to expand our offerings with this new outdoor attraction. This is a rare opportunity to connect our visitors with a truly authentic nature experience, right here inside the city,” said Susan Neugent, Fernbank president and CEO. “This is the most significant development at Fernbank since the Museum opened, and we can’t wait for our visitors to experience this fun and invigorating encounter with nature.”

The new permanent feature highlights Fernbank’s extraordinary environmental legacy, which began 75 years ago when Trustees organized to preserve Fernbank Forest, one of America’s largest old-growth urban forests.

The outdoor adventure area will open in conjunction with increased access to the 65-acre forest. Construction for the outdoor adventure area will not impact Fernbank Forest, where the Museum is currently leading a research-based restoration that includes removal of more than 45 harmful invasive species and restoration of many native species that have largely disappeared.

An overview of the expansion of the Fernbank Museum of Natural History.
The Adventure Outpost at the expanded Fernbank Museum.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.

One reply on “Fernbank Museum announces 75-acre expansion”

  1. The true legacy was for the preserved Forest to serve as many people as possible. Ms. Emily S. Harrison who strove to preserve the Forest wanted everyone to have access to the Forest-not limited and certainly not Forest gates to remain locked.The first educational environment to come out of the Forest was Fernbank Science Center, and now, Fernbank Museum of Natural History has cut ties with the center and has turned their backs on the true legacy of the Forest. There is an “open Fernbank Forest” petition circulating and even Ms. Harrison’s descendants have supported it with their signatures.

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