Thanks to Tellus Science Museum for hosting my family for a visit. All thoughts and opinions are my own, as always.
Last weekend, on our way down to Atlanta for the day, we made a stop at Tellus Science Museum, which is in Cartersville, Georgia, an hour to the south of Chattanooga on I-75, and roughly 45 minutes north of Atlanta (depending on where you are in Atlanta and what time of day it is!).
I have to tell you, from my perspective as someone not familiar with this part of the state, it just seems like this really awesome looking museum in the middle of nowhere! I don’t know anything about Cartersville, but I don’t get the vibe that it is a large city. The museum, though, is of a quality to rival those found in the largest cities in America.
It. is. AWESOME!!!!!
I fell in love hard and fast with this museum during our visit, and I plan to head back as often as I can. I’m even looking into their membership options. Yes, it is absolutely worth the 1 hour drive from Chattanooga, and there is enough to do there to warrant multiple visits throughout the year, just with their permanent collections. When you add all of their special events on top, then it’s a no-brainer.
So many of the exhibits at Tellus Science Museum are designed for visitors to interact with. Tim and I found ourselves doing experiments right alongside our kids. One of our very favorites was getting to make sound waves become visual thanks to some sand and a really cool contraption!
Tim and I were both in awe of the section of the museum devoted to all things space. We both agreed that we wanted to come back without the kids so that we could read all the great information throughout this section, in particular. Also? MOON ROCK!!!
We enjoyed a show at the planetarium (the show for the youngest kids happens at 11:30 every day, FYI), and got a kick out of seeing some impressive modes of transportation, from cars built in 1903 to the coolest helicopter I’ve ever personally seen (and I grew up next to Ft. Rucker where the Army’s helicopter pilots all get trained, so that’s saying something!).
The dinosaur exhibit was also really incredible. Lots of great skeletons on display that help kids realize just how large these creatures were. They even have fossilized dinosaur poop that you are allowed to touch, which of course, is awesome to the kids (and yeah, to me, too!).
Digging for Fossils and Gems: My Dreams Come True!
Perhaps my favorite part of the entire museum, though, was a small section tucked away down the hall past the transportation exhibit. DO NOT OVERLOOK THIS AREA! In a smaller set of rooms you will find a fossil dig area that contains dinosaur bone casts that are stuck to the ground but that are so very fun to “discover” as you (uh, I mean, as KIDS) pretend to be paleontologists. But what’s even cooler than pretending to find a fossil is actually finding a fossil, and this section is loaded down with small, GENUINE fossils. Every child is allowed to take one home. I saw lots of cool tube thingies (sorry I don’t know the official names, couldn’t read most of the signs on account of watching the kids!), shells and teeth. It was really neat!
And one room over you’ll find my favorite part of the entire museum…a “panning” area with sand, water, shallow pans, and the promise that you can take home as many tiny little gems as you can fit in a bag they provide to you. You guys, I have ALWAYS wanted to get to do this. And I cannot tell you the amount of restraint I had to use to not completely take over and go nuts out there, beating all the kids around me to the most awesome jewels. It took some serious self-talk, let’s just put it that way.
Because these two rooms are so immensely popular, you are asked to limit your time there to 10 minutes. I think we did 10 minutes or so in each section, as it was full but not ridiculously crowded, so we could linger a bit longer. Both of the girls absolutely loved these two sections, too. This was “hands on” fun taken to a whole new level. And I want to mention that there is no extra charge for visiting these rooms. It’s included with your admission ticket!
After we got our own special gems, we headed to the gems and minerals exhibit, our last stop of the day. The collection is breath-taking, to say the least. And I was also excited to see some amber, complete with a trapped fly. How cool is that?!
Tellus Museum was nothing short of outstanding, and I would very strongly encourage anyone within driving distance to make the trip at some point soon. The museum is open every day from 10-5 (except major holidays) and admission is $14 for adults and $10 for children 3-17). It is most definitely worth the ticket price. They have a cafe on site so you can grab lunch or a snack there, and they also have picnic pavilions outside if you want to bring your own. If you live in the Chattanooga or Atlanta areas and can visit more frequently, consider the family membership, which is just $95. Two visits by a family of four would cover that cost, which makes it a great buy!