The National Museum of Commercial Aviation sends visitors into the friendly skies without ever leaving the ground. Inside the 6,000-square-foot facility rests a collection of more than 35,000 artifacts from airlines and facilities dating as far back as the 1930s. Glass cases house a variety of dishes and flatware from mile-high kitchens, as well as timetables and ticket jackets. Meanwhile, mannequins display 200 vintage uniforms for pilots and attendants alike. Visitors can take a seat inside a Delta Airlines 727 familiarization trainer, replete with switches, gauges, and buttons. Inside they can attempt realistic take-offs and landings while navigating the Microsoft Flight Simulator housed within. The museum is also home to one of the first tug tractors, a Gate Gourmet catering truck, and the cockpit of the Eastern Airlines Martin 404 once used by singer and musician Ray Charles to travel from gig to gig along with his three million baby grand pianos.
Located in a historic train depot in Jonesboro—the setting for Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind—the Road to Tara Museum assembles memorabilia and artwork inspired by the novel and its classic 1939 film adaptation. Visitors can meander past reproductions of the costumes worn by Vivien Leigh or peruse the many foreign translations of the book. The voice of Fred Crane, who played Brent Tarleton on screen, narrates sights throughout the museum, regaling with behind-the-scene tales of the movie set and Clark Gable’s mustache wax. Regular tours extend the educational experience outside the museum walls, exploring Clayton County’s various plantations and historic battlefields still littered with cork pop guns and broken water balloons
Since opening in 1913, the Wren's Nest has dedicated its decades to preserving the literary, journalistic, and storytelling contributions of Joel Chandler Harris. Credited with using his position as associate editor of the Atlanta Constitution to advocate for racial reconciliation during the turbulent years after the Civil War, Harris also brandished the popular pen. His stories recorded and preserved African-American and Southern oral-folk narratives, telling the tales of characters including crafty Brer Rabbit and fabling Uncle Remus. Visitors in search of these well-spun yarns can listen to the museum's tale-weavers during Storytelling Saturdays, learning lively traditional lessons about friendship, honor, and not getting tricked out of apple pie by wily mailmen. Adopt your own narrative from the on-site gift shop containing work by both Harris and the museum's contemporary publishing wing.
Starting in 6500 B.C., Africans made great advancements in agriculture, astronomy, philosophy, and medicine. At The APEX Museum, the history of African-Americans begins on this uplifting note before venturing through what the museum calls the "Door of No Return." This section of the museum traces the history of slavery in unflinching detail and profiles the heroes who fought back, such as Henry "Box" Brown and Harriet Tubman.
After the exhibits reach the Reconstruction Era, the museum focuses on Atlanta's African-American history as framed by Auburn Avenue. Artifacts, photographs, and multimedia spotlight the ways in which this street was a beacon of African-America entertainment, education, and entrepreneurship from the mid-1800s to the 1960s. APEX calls special attention to entrepreneurship with its replica of the Yates and Milton Drug Store, one of the first Atlanta businesses owned by African-Americans.
Along with its in-house exhibitions, the museum curates several travelling exhibitions that bring African-American historical perspectives to institutions around the country. Those include Breaking Barriers, an examination of African-American contributions to the American space program, and Whats the Big Idea?, which celebrates the African-American inventors of objects such as the ice cream scooper.
Shopping for groceries might sound like a chore, but it's actually one of the many fun, hands-on activities available at The Children's Museum of Atlanta. In the Fundamentally Food exhibit, kids can whip up tasty pretend meals in a playhouse kitchen and load fruits and veggies onto a delivery truck. Fundamentally Food is among the Children's Museum's year-round exhibits, whose interactive stations are geared toward children up to 8 years old. Children can mold sculptures from moon sand, create original paintings on the giant paint wall, or don raincoats before fishing in the stream of the Museum's magical forest.
The Children's Museum's troupe of professional actors and educators known as the Imaginators—considered "experts on entertaining children" by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution—specialize in performing original 20-minute musicals. Their other programs include Imaginator-led story-time, crafts, dancing, interactive music programming, and cooking activities based on Georgia produce, as well as a toddler book club where youngsters can compare reactions to the end of Anna Karenina. The Children's Museum also offers private birthday parties, summer camps, and family memberships.
Snuggled beside the Jimmy Carter Library, the museum explores the Carter administration through photographs, memorabilia, and multimedia installations. Museum guests are immersed in a modern American presidency as they peruse exhibits, watch videos, and re-enact their favorite executive orders in an exact replica of the Oval Office. Permanent exhibits display diplomatic gifts and detail the significant events of President Carter's life, political career, and little known stint as a ventriloquist. Rotating exhibits and special events explore American political history—the current special exhibit, Mixing Metaphors, displays more than 90 works of art from African American artists.
Confined to plutonium-powered DeLoreans and unwieldy telephone booths, time travel is a dangerous and mischief-baiting activity. Instead, let history repeat itself as often as you can stand it with today’s Groupon: $42 gets two adults and up to four children or grandchildren (under 18) a yearlong family membership to the Fernbank Museum of Natural History (an $85 value). Individuals can purchase solo museum membership, including admission and member benefits for one person, for $30 (a $60 value).