Saturday, September 27, 2014

Goose Bumps! The Science of Fear Opens September 27, 2014

Are you curious about coulrophobia? Paranoid about pyrophobia? Avidly avoiding aviophobia? Regardless of its source, we all share the same biological response to fear. Fernbank Museum’s newest special exhibition, Goose Bumps! The Science of Fear (on view September 27, 2014 –January 4, 2015), will provide a thrilling opportunity to test what sparks the instinct of fear in a fun and safe environment.

Goose Bumps! is the first comprehensive exhibition on fear that engages visitors through a series of interactive and immersive challenges. Guests will have the opportunity to watch a play-back video of their reaction to a sudden “bang,” test their fear of falling backwards, reach into an eerie box of unknown contents, and explore whether fear keeps us safe or hinders our survival. 

“Most people know what scares them, whether it’s an instinctual or learned fear,” said Lynn Anders, Fernbank’s Education Programs Manager. “But most people might not pay attention to the physical responses—beyond getting goose bumps—that our bodies go through when we feel frightened. This exhibition lets you safely experience a hint of fear while explaining why that reaction happens.”

The Goose Bumps! experience begins in the Fear Lab with an introduction by the kid-friendly “host” Mr. Goose Bumps. The Fear Lab demonstrates how the brain and body work together through hands-on activities, video and exhibit interactives.

The Challenge Course allows guests to face four common fears through immersive displays. The first challenge, Fear of Animals, dares guests to reach into concealed terrariums that might house a creepy-crawly creature. In Fear of Electric Shock, the challenge comes from the anticipation of getting zapped by a jolt of electricity. The Fear of Loud Noises challenge demonstrates how this instinctive fear can help keep us out of harm’s way. And the Fear of Falling challenge allows guests to experience a sudden loss of support (while safely strapped in) and then watch a video recording of their reaction.

Additional interactive elements also provide opportunities for guests to explore the facial expressions of fear; participate in a virtual predator vs. prey game; discover how fears, both real and perceived, can be spread and the impact they have on society; and how to cope with fear in extreme situations.

“Goose Bumps! is a truly interactive experience, allowing guests opportunities to safely investigate their own fears, as well as those of their friends and family,” Anders said.  “Like the allure of extreme sports and haunted houses, this exhibition piques the curiosities of people as they learn more about why we experience fear—and it garners a lot of belly laughs when competitive friends and families enjoy the experience together.”

Special Programming

*  Celebrate the opening of Goose Bumps! The Science of Fear on Saturday, September 27 with a day of family fun, including hands-on activities, games and more.

*  Enjoy a frighteningly fun time at the annual family Halloween event Fernbank BOO-seum Trick-or-Treat on Saturday, October 24.

*  Enjoy an adults-only night of spooky fun at Martinis & IMAX® Fright Night on Friday, October 31.

Evening Viewing Hours

Special evening viewing hours will be available during Martinis & IMAX® on Fridays from 6:30-10 p.m. Separate ticket purchase required. Tickets to Goose Bumps! during Friday-night Martinis & IMAX® are $11, which include the cover charge, are free for members, and are $18 when combined with the purchase of an IMAX® ticket.

Ticket Information

Goose Bumps! The Science of Fear is free with Museum admission. Museum ticket prices are $18 for adults, $17 for students/seniors, $16 for children ages 3-12 and free for children ages two and under. Discounted tickets are available for groups of 10 or more. Fernbank members receive free Museum admission as well as discounted IMAX® tickets. Annual family memberships begin at $120.

Special Group Opportunities

The highly engaging atmosphere of Goose Bumps is even more fun with groups. Special tickets prices are available for both educational and non-educational groups of 10 or more. Details available online at">
About Fernbank Museum

Fernbank Museum of Natural History is located at 767 Clifton Road NE in Atlanta. For tickets and visitor information, visit or call 404.929.6400. Visitors can also connect with Fernbank Museum by downloading the Fernbank app, as well as on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.

Goose Bumps! The Science of Fear was developed by the California Science Center and supported, in part, by the Informal Science Education program of the National Science Foundation under grant ESI-0515470. Opinions expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the National Science Foundation.

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014



Today the Hashtag #WhyIStayed was trending so I added my contribution.  I was shocked at the reaction I received.  I was even interviewed on twitter by the folks on the Opie & Andy Show

I was also asked if I minded if a Huffington Post writer could use my tweet as part of her article.  I agreed and you will find it here.

I was also contacted by the .

My story appears here:

Let me share with you why I stayed.  I tried to keep it short so I left out various events but I want to share this with you so that you know you can leave.  It won't be easy but it can be done.

They say you repeat what you know and that was certainly true for me.  I grew up in a violent home and I desperately wanted someone to love me, someone to care about me, someone to protect me.  When I was nineteen years old I thought I met that man.

At first it was like a fairy tale including the handsome prince.  Lots of girls noticed him but he was only interested in me.  He told me I was beautiful and showered me with attention and then just as suddenly it all stopped.

I didn’t understand but he outlined the problems in our relationship.  I was spending too much time working and going to school and not enough time with him he told me through his tears.  I quit college that week as well as quitting my part-time job. 
From that point on it was a matter of what didn’t suit him and how I would prove my love.  I allowed him to control what I wore, how I would conduct myself, and with whom I would associate with.  Violations would be met swiftly at first with threatened break-ups and accusations that I was pushing him into the arms of other women. 

The arguments were loud and threatening but later when he decided that I had caused him to go too far he’d hold me in his arms and sob “I don’t want us to fight but if you didn’t …….” (fill in the blank) 
The pushing and shoving began after we married.  I would walk around almost as silent as a Trappist monk so as not to raise his ire but you could feel the tension in the home begin to rise as he would let me know how stupid I was or how much prettier some strange woman was than me.  Finally he would pick an argument which eventually led to pushing and shoving or banging me against the wall before he stormed out of the house to be with his friends or another woman.
When he’d come back the “Honeymoon Phase” was in full force with flowers and tender words.  The promises of change and love would make me wonder we had ever fought over such petty things.   It was during one of these honeymoon periods I got pregnant with our son.
At first he was excited about the pregnancy but in quick order that changed. I came home from work one day to find another woman in my house and the next thing I knew I was thrown to the floor and kicked over and over.  My crime was yelling at her.
I was hardly able to move and I almost miscarried but he wouldn’t take me to the hospital and threw our phone over the balcony.  I left a few days later when I felt well enough to get around and headed to my Grandma’s house. 
He arrived later to let me know he would take my baby from me if I didn’t come home.    Days later through tears he told me he’d kill himself if I didn’t come back.  Then a few later he begged for a chance to be the husband and father he knew he could be. 
That didn’t last long.  When I went home I was not allowed access to the phone but he would talk to his girlfriend and degrade me while I carried his child.  If I complained he’d get in my face telling me that I was crazy there was no girlfriend. He’d say I was stupid to think anyone else would want me.  He reminded me that I was lucky to have him.
My son was born prematurely and had to remain in the hospital which my ex-husband used to his advantage. He swore he’d use that in court to get custody.  With my post partum blues, a baby who almost died when he was born and the verbal abuse I thought about killing myself because I felt like a failure.
The night he almost killed me, we were putting our bed frame together when the phone rang.  I’d been allowed phone privileges and so I reached for the phone.  It was his girlfriend and I said, “Please stop calling here.” And I began to cry as I slammed the phone down.
He demanded to know who was on the phone and I snapped “your girlfriend that doesn’t exist.”  That was it and all bets were off.  He pushed me into the wall and my head bounced back toward him.  This angered him and he pushed me down again.  This time he had me on the ground kicking me, sometimes in the head but aiming for my stomach which still had stitches from my c-section.  I tried to crawl away but he kept kicking and yelling at me.  Somehow I got up and I made a dash for the door.   In that split second I tripped forward just as a slat from the metal bed frame wooshed past my head and embedded itself in the wall.  Years later I still have a photo of that whole with my head next to it that I had a friend help me take to remember how close I had come.
I screamed “Please don’t kill me.”  I was bruised and bleeding and I prayed that he just make the last blow quickly but he stepped over me and walked out screaming at me “Why can’t you F’ing see what you do to me.  Why do you have to push me like you do?’
He left before the police got there and back then cops would not arrest unless they saw the abuse happening.  I got a friend to help me grab as much as I could the next day and fled. I took photos and filed charges.
I had a week of respite before he called begging me to come back but I refused to speak to him.  I just couldn’t keep living like this and I refused to put my baby through this. 
I got the courage of a momma bear and began the baby steps towards my future.  I worked two jobs and got an education degree.  Truly I was stronger than I ever knew but I wouldn’t have been able to do it  without my faith, family, and friends that stood by me and encouraged me. 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Fernbank Museum Changes September to Shark-tember

Fernbank Museum of Natural History ( is turning the month of September into “Shark-tember” to celebrate the IMAX® film Great White Shark. Shark-tember will include an entire month of activities, crafts and fun giveaways!
Throughout September, Fernbank will be hosting Shark Tooth Sundays, a special shark tooth giveaway offering the first 150 children visitors each Sunday a free souvenir from their favorite IMAX® film. Guests are also encouraged to drop by the Museum store for more shark-themed goodies.
On Saturdays from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. the Museum’s educators will host special shark-themed activities as part of Weekend Wonders. This program will encourage children to learn more about these magnificent creatures and their ocean home through real artifacts, crafts, investigations and more.
Fernbank will be hosting special shark-themed versions of Tadpole Tales on September 20 starting at 11:30 a.m. and September 21 starting at 1:30 p.m. This fun program is allows preschoolers to enjoy a story with a Fernbank educator along with a special activity or song.
Did you know that the shark tooth is Georgia’s official state fossil? For more fun facts like this, stop by our shark-themed Fossil Discovery Cart. These Science Discovery carts are led by the Museum’s youth volunteers who engage guests in hands-on discoveries and discussions. 
Great White Shark takes viewers into the world of one of the most intriguing creatures on earth while showcasing the beauty, power and importance of great white sharks within the ocean’s ecosystem. Fernbank’s five-story IMAX® screen puts visitors eye to eye with great white sharks in what’s possibly the most realistic shark diving experience you can get on land.
More details and Shark-tember activities are available at
Purchase tickets online or by calling 404.929.6400.
Great White Shark will show daily at Fernbank’s IMAX® Theatre from June 13-October 16, 2014. Extended show times available Fridays during Martinis & IMAX®. IMAX® tickets are $13 for adults, $12 for students and seniors, $11 for children 12 and younger, and $8 for Museum members. Add a Museum ticket as part of a Value Pass for extra savings (see Value Pass prices at (most of these activities are provided with museum admission so you’d be better off listing Value Pass tickets and not IMAX tickets.)
About Fernbank Museum of Natural History’s IMAX® Theatre
Fernbank Museum of Natural History and the 5-story-tall Rankin M. Smith Sr. IMAX® Theatre are located at 767 Clifton Road NE in Atlanta. Call 404.929.6400 or visit to purchase tickets.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


On September 2, Fernbank Museum ( will premiere Pandas: The Journey Home on its five-story IMAX® screen, giving audiences a unique glimpse into one of the most incredible conservation efforts in human history. Pandas: The Journey Home, a groundbreaking natural history film, captures the highly endangered giant pandas living in Wolong National Nature Reserve in the People’s Republic of China.
The giant panda is one of the rarest species on our planet. Shy, elusive and gentle creatures, they once ranged in great numbers between Beijing and the Himalayas. But now, after centuries of human expansion and destruction of their habitat, the giant pandas are on the brink of extinction, with fewer than 1,600 remaining. The giant panda scientists’ goal: to increase the numbers in captivity and, far more ambitiously, to return pandas to the wild—in their natural home.
Narrated by actress Joely Richardson, the 40-minute large format film Pandas: The Journey Home follows the pandas at a significant milestone in their history. After decades of captive breeding, the Wolong National Nature Reserve has hit its target number of 300 giant pandas and now must tackle the challenge of reintroducing breeding populations of the species into the wild.
Filmmakers were given unrivalled access to the Wolong National Nature Reserve with the support of the Chinese Wildlife Conservation Association and the China Conservation and Research Centre for the Giant Panda. With permission to film the rare release of a giant panda bred in captivity, the film follows follow a group of giant pandas being prepared for the wild in a mountain habitat, a first for a Western film crew. Alongside the natural breeding program, the film also captures the captive breeding program, including footage of newborns, young giant pandas playing, and methods of encouraging giant pandas to mate. With this iconic creature so close to extinction, Pandas: The Journey Home is an extraordinary picture of how giant pandas live and the astonishing measures conservationists are taking to ensure their future.
Pandas: The Journey Home will give audiences insight into the extraordinary strides that have been made towards saving the giant panda in the wild, but will also convey that much work has yet to be done,” said Lisa Truitt, president of National Geographic Cinema Ventures (NGCV).
Directed by Nicolas Brown (Human Planet) and produced by Caroline Hawkins (Meerkats 3D), Pandas: The Journey Home, is an Oxford Scientific Films Production for National Geographic Entertainment and Sky 3D, in association with the Chinese Wildlife Conservation Association, Wolong Panda Conservation Centre, CCTV9 and Nat Geo WILD.
“Fernbank Museum is thrilled to be able to offer such an important film to the Atlanta community,” said Lynn Anders, Fernbank Museum’s Animal Programs Manager, “This film will provide the opportunity to learn more about these fascinating creatures and how we can all impact the conservation of endangered species across the world.”
IMAX® tickets are $13 for adults, $12 for students and seniors, $11 for children 12 and younger, and $8 for Museum members.
Fernbank Museum of Natural History and the 5-story-tall Rankin M. Smith Sr. IMAX® Theatre are located at 767 Clifton Road NE in Atlanta. Tickets and visitor information are available at and 404.929.6300.