This interactive museum is one of the best experiences in town for families (in fact, kids seem to enjoy the visit a lot more than adults). From the very start in the courtyard, giant bronze statues of dinosaurs greet guests in the verdant Dinosaur Plaza. Inside the Great Hall, guests see more traces of prehistoric life through the giants' skeletons, which date back to the Mesozoic Era. "A Walk Through Time in Georgia" lays out the state's own natural history through the sights, sounds, and stories of its various geographic regions. In the "Conveyed in Clay" room, guests experience art history through the creations of potters from St. Catherines Island. Watch where you step as you travel from room to room; fossils are embedded in the museum floors.

Other permanent exhibits of note are the Star Gallery, where you can see the changing constellations illuminated on the dome-like ceiling; the outdoor Fernbank Forest, which encompasses the museum grounds and spreads across 65 acres; and the Robert L. Staton Memorial Rose Garden, showcasing a rainbow of floral beauties from the spring through late fall. A huge traveling exhibit space has hosted life-sized sperm whale replicas as part of "Whales: Giants of the Deep," and colorful wildlife photography from Asia via "Birds of the Bali Aviary," among other interesting installments. If you're coming with kids, there's a pretty impressive playground, the Children's Discovery Room, on the top floor. It's made of tree forts, climbing structures, and fossil walls. Parking at Fernbank is free. There's also complimentary Wi-Fi and an official Fernbank Museum app, with fun features like a paleontologist's journal, maps of the exhibits, directions to your next stop, and updates on IMAX showings. Plan for 2 to 3 hrs. to enjoy the bulk of the museum's offerings. If you have more time to spare, the IMAX features are a treat; Fernbank boasts the biggest IMAX theater in town, with the screen a whopping five stories high and 72 ft. wide. Past movies have spanned topics like South Pacific marine life, religion in Jerusalem, and great white sharks (you haven't been scared until the ocean's most menacing predator pops his head out of the screen and makes right for your face).