Tellus Museum, in Cartersville, is not only Northwest Georgia’s premier science museum and planetarium but many would argue it is the best science museum around! Who says the only dinosaur museum in Atlanta has to actually be in Atlanta? With over 120,000 square feet and galleries including the Weinman Mineral Gallery, The Fossil Gallery, Science in Motion and The Collins Family My Big Backyard, Tellus is a museum you don’t want your kids to miss!
Outside The Museum
The museum doesn’t start after you buy your tickets, they bring the experience to you from the second you park and engage you for the whole of your visit!
Once you make it to Tellus and weave your way around to the parking lot you will first notice the huge trucks in the parking lot. Don’t worry, the museum isn’t under construction, these mammoth vehicles are part of the museum, and an exciting welcome to this hands on science experience. Near the vehicles is a covered pavilion perfect for large groups, picnicking, or just getting some energy out before (or after!) you visit the museum!
Be sure to take note of the outside rock garden that displays a variety of rocks found throughout Georgia, in sizes that were just big enough for my kids to climb on and explore, and a great introduction for all that Tellus has to offer!
Coming soon to the Museum is the 2015 WVU Solar Decathlon House, which will showcase how solar powered technology can be integrated into a home. Stay tuned for further information, and to discover the future of solar technology right here.
Weinman Mineral Gallery
Tellus Science Museum was opened on the site of the original Weinman Mineral Museum, and to continue the vast history of mining in the state of Georgia that the Museum documented they created the Weinman Mineral Gallery, one of the permanent exhibits in the museum today. Donations from local Georgia families have made this mineral gallery top notch, so be sure to see if you can find all the local exhibits!
Take a peek at the glow-in-the-dark rocks, where we were blown away with the contrast between the plainness of the rocks and the beauty of how they come alive when the lights go out! Kids can turn the lights off, and on, and this little hallway becomes a day-glow bonanza, a true miracle of nature!
We knew we didn’t feel the Earth moving below our feet, but does that mean it isn’t happening? Kids can learn all about seismographs and “see” earthquakes around the world in real time on a screen that shows up to date earthquake activity. It’s amazing to see how frequent, and how close, some of these earthquakes are.
Marvel in the famous Cartersville Meteorite, a meteorite that is older than the Earth and landed in an attic of a home in Cartersville in 2009, now on display. See if you can imagine finding a meteorite in your attic, what a great discovery!
With an extensive display of birthstones it’s fun to pick out which ones belong to each member of your family – mommy, daddy, grammy, papi, aunts, uncles, cousins…they could do that all day!
Let’s face it, is there any child that doesn’t go through some sort of dinosaur phase? Even for the most jaded of dinosaur fanatics this gallery offers more dines for your buck than you could imagine!
Dinosaur Poop? Yes, dinosaur poop! See the scat of a dino and if you dare, get close! Between poop and dinosaurs kids the World over will rejoice in the awesomeness of not only seeing this poop up close but, since it is fossilized, being able to touch it.
Can you imagine a shark bigger than a school bus? It’s true, and they have the 9 foot fossilized jaw of a Megaladon shark to prove it. You can’t climb in, but you can definitely stand in front of it, and imagine how scary that would be to encounter while taking a swim!
We all love selfies, but I bet most people don’t have a selfie with a T-Rex. Go ahead and get your selfie with Stan, the Tellus T-Rex, he won’t bite – at least we don’t think! Be sure to smile or make a crazy face, Stan won’t mind!
Science In Motion
From trains to planes, cars to spaceships, take a walk through the Science in Motion gallery and experience 100 years of changes in the technology of transportation.
If your kid dreams of walking on the moon one day then let’s encourage their dreams by taking their picture as an astronaut. It may not be the gravity free experience they would encounter in space but it certainly makes them look cool!
While the vehicles on display are hands off for everyone look down and discover that they are placed on mirrors, so you can visually explore every inch of these early innovators of automobiles.
Blast off! From the Apollo 1 capsule replica to a Sputnik replica to a Mercury capsule you will observe the hows of space travel while taking in the sheer magnitude of what an amazing mode of transport these enormous space vessels really are!
Collins Family My Big Backyard
We know how hard it is for kids to walk through a museum and not touch everything, we know it is also hard sometimes for adults! Take a break from the galleries that are observational only and head down to the Collins Family My Big Backyard, a hands-on, interactive section of Tellus Science Museum and spend some time with their permanent activities and whatever seasonal, traveling exhibit they have in house as well.
Much like the weather in one week in Georgia you can view different weather patterns in the weather tree. Lay on the ground, run around or just watch as you get caught in a rain storm, a blizzard or a summer day, all while staying dry!
Have you ever wondered what you would look like taller? Shorter? Skinnier? These optical illusion magic mirrors create a sense of fantasy, and will encourage lots of giggles at the same time. Stand side by side and compare how different you look, and, how silly!
Even the youngest guests will enjoy the tactile-ness of this gallery, especially the interactive garden, which includes building blocks, magnet games, sorting activities and raceways. Move on over to the shed area and watch as your kids move and groove to sound experiments being created by all the young scientists.
Fossil Dig and Gem Panning
This is the part of Tellus Science Museum where getting your hands wet, or dirty, is not only encouraged but rewarded.
Finding a real dinosaur fossil would be amazing, but, unfortunately for the junior paleontologist set, pretty unlikely. But at Tellus Science Museum in their fossil dig area fossil hunters will be able to not only find dinosaur fossils (as well as shark teeth, snail shells and more) of their own but even bring one home with them on every visit! Pick up a brush, hop in the exploration area and dig away.
Print your very own Fossil Hunting license before you visit and watch as their exploration levels reach new heights of excitement – and they will learn a little science at the same time. Don’t worry if you can’t find every fossil, that just gives you a reason for a return visit!
Roll up your sleeves and prepare to get wet while panning for gems at the Vulcan Materials Company Gem Panning exhibit. Sift your way through water and sand while searching for gems and stones, and don’t forget to grab a bag when you enter to keep whatever you find.
Take the gem planning a step further with a Tellus Treasure Map (printed at home) where visitors can identify and graph the gemstones that are found. How many visits will it take to find them all? With 30 different gemstones listed, everyone can put on their thinking cap and observe, sort and identify all that they collect.
The bright lights of cities make it difficult to get out at night and discover things like Orion, the Milky Way and more, but this state of the art planetarium gives you the opportunity to sit back, relax and zoom into space, while their digital projector brings the stars to you! Big hint – the best seats are in the back!
The planetarium is an add on ticket to the Tellus admission price ($3.50), and offers a variety of shows for kids of all ages. With an ever-changing schedule of shows be sure to check out what is being offered, and note the age suggestions.
Are you having a hard time deciding between shows? No problem! They offer a second ticket during a single visit for a mere $2, making it so you don’t have to pick just one!
The Observatory allows members and guests to get even more up close and personal with our solar system, with the use of their 20” telescope. Tours of the observatory are open during certain lectures and special events, and during member appreciation days!
As if all the permanent and visiting galleries and exhibits aren’t enough, Tellus Science Museum offers an array of special events throughout the year, for both members and non-members. Check out their events page for specifics.
Are you a Bank Of America cardholder? Get in for free to Tellus the first full weekend of each month as a part of Museums On Us! Each cardholder gets one full admission with picture id. (This does not include admission into the Bentley Planetarium or ticketed special events and is non-transferable)
Keep an eye out for Night At The Museum, one of the most popular family events at Tellus! You never know who you will run into – from Captain America to Einstein to Thor, they will be attending and explaining how science made them famous! While children 12 and under are encouraged to dress up as their favorite science fiction or science characters, adults are asked to please not come in costume! This limited-ticket event sells out so be sure to keep an eye on their calendar for updates for the next one!
Tellus Science Museum turns into Tellus Science Boo-seum around Halloween with their Science Spooky Night! Scavenger hunts, children’s activities, a super scary 12 and older area, and a free planetarium show make this creepy crawly night the perfect Halloween event.
Did you know you can celebrate your child’s birthday at Tellus? Kids can share cake with friends after visiting the dinosaurs, finding gems, hunting for fossils and gazing at the stars. Held on Saturdays and Sundays at 11 am and 2 pm, the party package price includes a party room, decorations, and food (for an additional fee).
There are more than 27 reasons to visit this world class science museum, but this is a good start. Go on, head on over to Tellus and see what your families favorite part is – we bet it changes with every visit!
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Disclosure: Special thanks to Tellus for the complimentary museum entry that allowed us to write this article about a museum we dearly love.