Stand under giant dinosaur replicas from the Mesozoic era at Fernbank’s Museum of Natural History, crack the mysteries of disease with high-tech science at the David J. Sencer CDC Museum, or enjoy a virtual “game-day” at the Chick-Fil-A College Football Hall of Fame.
Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University
You don’t need to travel the world to find art from ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, Africa, Asia, Nubia, the Americas and the Near East. Fabulous collections are housed in the Michael C. Carlos Museum, located on the quadrangle of Emory University’s main campus. It’s one of the premier ancient art museums in the Southeast, filled with Egyptian coffins, mummies, Roman sculptures, traditional African masks, and other objects.
Visiting Tip: Download a podcast recorded by Emory faculty members and bring it to the museum for free admission. You’ll hear experts discuss how to view the collections in new and unusual ways.
High Museum of Art
Atlantans love to share the High, as it’s known, with visitors. This art museum is one of the best in the Southeast, with over 15,000 works of 19th and 20th century art in its permanent exhibits. While the High supports Southern artists, it is actively growing its collections of African-American and European art. Look for Leeds pottery teapots, Howard Finster’s folk art, paintings by Georgia O’Keeffe and acclaimed works by unknown artists.
Visiting Tip: Tours are free with your admission ticket.
Atlanta History Center
Start with the Creeks, Cherokees and other native peoples who lived in what is now Georgia, or the Western and Atlantic Railroad Zero Mile post, a marker around which Atlanta developed. Move into the Civil War era and see where Margaret Mitchell wrote her Southern masterpiece, Gone With the Wind, or meet Georgia’s folk artists and barbecue pit masters. Learn about Atlanta golfing great Bobby Jones and mourn the passing of Civil Rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. At the Atlanta History Center you’ll explore the city’s origins and its accomplishments and tragedies. Save time to tour the historic houses and gardens and interactive exhibits on the grounds.
Visiting Tip: The restored Atlanta Cyclorama, a panoramic painting of the Battle of Atlanta, re-opens in February 2019. This treasure is one of only 17 existing cycloramas in the world.
Center for Civil and Human Rights
From the American civil rights movements of the '50s and '60s, to what’s happening around the world today, the Center for Civil and Human Rights tells stories and inspires action. Items from the Morehouse College Martin Luther King Jr. Collection rotate through the museum, so visitors can see Dr. King’s personal papers and other items, while interactive displays help them understand what it was like to be a Freedom Rider or a customer at a segregated lunch counter. Despite the dark subject matter, the museum offers hope for a brighter future.
Visiting Tip: Stop by the oral history booth to record your own civil or human rights story. Curators rotate the videos and show them on the center’s walls.
The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum
James “Jimmy” Carter, once a successful peanut farmer from little Plains, Georgia, rose from Georgia’s state senate to become its governor and then the 39th president of the United States. In 2002, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Today, the museum that carries his name contains 40,000,000 pages and 1,000,000 photos, as well as thousands of feet of film and videos related to his administration. Visitors can tour life-size replicas of the Oval Office and the cabin where the historic Camp David meetings were held. Be sure to catch a film, “A Day in the Life of the President,” which is projected on a 13-foot screen.
Visiting Tip: The Library is open to the public for research, although there are usage policies for minors. Special events like films, author programs and performances are offered during the year. See the website for dates and times.
Delta Flight Museum
Delta is Atlanta’s hometown airline, so you’ll want to check out the Delta Flight Museum, located next to the world’s busiest airport, Hartsfield Jackson International. A new exhibit features a rare, 7-foot-long cutaway model of a DC-7 and a replica of Delta’s newest plane, the Airbus A350. Step into a historic Boeing 767 for more exhibits, or take a stroll on the wing of the first-ever Boeing 747-400. The museum houses aircraft dating back to the 1920s and offers guided tours of Delta’s first DC-3 passenger plane and its hangars. Dates and times vary, so see the website for a schedule.
Visiting Tip: Book in advance for a Flight Simulator Experience. Ages 16 and up can pilot a Boeing 737-200 full motion flight simulator, the only one open to the public in the U.S. Each experience accommodates one to four guests; the price is not included in your admission ticket. Call 404.715.7886 for more information.
The World of Coca-Cola
From its humble beginnings as a soda fountain drink concocted by an Atlanta pharmacist, Coca-Cola is now served approximately 1.9 billion times a day around the world. Discover the story behind this popular beverage at the World of Coca-Cola Museum. You won’t learn the 125-year-old secret formula, but you can visit galleries that bring its history to life. You’ll learn how the iconic bottle was designed, get a behind-the-scenes look at the bottling process and see where the company is working in other countries to help with safe water campaigns and other initiatives.
Visiting Tip: Stop at the Sampling Bar to try new beverages and quench your thirst with familiar favorites.
Museum of Design Atlanta
MODA, the Museum of Design Atlanta, is the only museum in the Southeast that focuses solely on design. This Smithsonian affiliate has something for all ages, like a workshop that lets kids make fun patches that light up with LEDs, to a “subversive” cross-stitch class for feminists, to guided tours for professionals or casual visitors. Come for lectures and discussions and see curated exhibits by architects and designers such as Rural Urban Framework and Marion Blackwell.
Visiting Tip: Plan a trip to MODA between June 2, 2019 and September 15, 2019 to catch a special exhibit, "Wire & Wood, Designing Iconic Guitars." You’ll see how the guitars have evolved and interactive experiences will show you where new technology can take them.
William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum
The William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum honors the culture, religion and history of the Jews who helped shape Atlanta. Founder William Breman was a successful businessman dedicated to humanitarian causes, and his museum features two permanent exhibits. "Creating Community" traces the Jewish presence in Atlanta from 1945 to the present, while "Absence of Humanity" explores the devastation of the Holocaust years.
Visiting Tip: Explore the museum’s archives and genealogical center. You’ll find over 2,000 manuscripts and 15,000 photographs, along with business records and religious items owned by Jewish families who lived in Georgia. See the museum website for a schedule of historic tours, concerts, lectures and other events.
Children’s Museum of Atlanta
A visit to the the Children’s Museum of Atlanta is — well, child’s play. Kids from 10 months to 8 years old won’t even realize they’re learning while they play in interactive zones and enjoy hands-on exhibits, because education is disguised as fun in this inviting museum. Think of it as an indoor playground, where children can pop into programs about music and movement, healthy eating, science, geography and more.
Visiting Tip: Let your budding Picassos mix new colors and create masterpieces on the Paint Wall in the Arts Studio. Young builders can don construction hats and safety vests to explore what’s inside the walls at a kid-friendly “construction site."