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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