North of Atlanta about 40 miles, located off Interstate 75 in Cartersville, is a science museum that pushes past the ordinary and leaves you with a sense of fascination and excitement. My family and I visited the Tellus Science Museum on the first weekend of the month to take advantage of the ‘Bank of America Museums on Us’ program. My husband and I are both Bank of America members so we scored free admission which is always a plus. My son is a preschooler so we didn’t think there would be a lot for him to see but we were wrong.
When you first drive up to Tellus you’ll notice the cartoonishly large yellow Komatsu Drump Truck in the parking lot area. There were many other vehicles to check out but this one just takes your breath away! We’re both very tall people and the tire tops were far above our heads. It’s a great spot to visit with anyone who is a truck fan. Other outdoor exhibits that do not require paid entry are - the rock garden which features large boulders from all over the Southern US area, an up-close look at wind turbines, and a fully functional house that runs completely on solar power! It was a very interesting look into our future.
Once we made it inside the museum, we explored the Weinman Mineral Gallery. The exhibit boasts hundreds of beautiful gems and minerals from all over the world. My son was particularly interested in the first part of this gallery that explained tectonic plates, volcanoes and the layers of the Earth.
Next we made our way to the Fossil Gallery which had many dinosaur fossils. Some included a Tyrannosaurus Rex, a mastodon, and many large (ok, huge!) reptile and fish that were native to Georgia. I loved the jaw from a Megalodon shark - it was over 9ft wide!
The Science in Motion area was our next stop and it was by far one of my favorites. The first room of this exhibit has cars, motorcycles, planes, etc. from as far back as the late 19th century. There was an entire area for the space geek in all of us with replicas of space capsules as well as an area showcasing astronaut gear.
Finally, there was an area dedicated to a special exhibit showcasing the evolution of modern day technology. I saw many items from my youth in this exhibit including tube televisions, Nokia cell phones, Atari gaming systems, Gameboys and a fully functional rotary telephone. You could make free local calls on it.
Next we let our little guy get his energy out in the area reserved for children - the Big Backyard. Now I’ll be honest and say that many of these experiments were fun for the adults to fiddle with, especially the experiments involving magnets and sound. There were areas that showed children how energy works, what creates weather patterns, the vibrations associated with sound and what it’s like to be an insect. The special exhibit in this area involved robots. Animal robots to be exact. It was very cool seeing a robotic platypus and being able to manipulate its head and flippers.
Last but not least, we visited the Bentley Planetarium. For the cost of $3.50 per person, we saw an hour long showing of The Accidental Astronauts. It’s a show for children under 5 and my son thoroughly enjoyed it. The view from the back rows is wonderful and the staff in this area are particularly good with children. I look forward to returning to the planetarium when my son is older to see the other more scientific showings.
Other areas of note include an area dedicated to panning for gems in which whatever gems you can collect, you can keep. There was an area for future paleontologists to dig for dinosaur bones. These two areas were a huge hit. We also stopped for lunch in the Tellus Cafe. The food was decent and the prices were quite reasonable. There are pavilions outside if you choose to bring your own lunch.
Overall, we will definitely return to the Tellus Museum. It was not exceptionally crowded, there was plenty of hands-on exhibits, the exhibits flowed nicely with many things to awe over, the staff were courteous and the food was a good bang for your buck. It was a great experience for all ages and well worth the drive up from the Metro Atlanta area.