I truly believe the Fernbank Science Center, while a nice educational resource for the school system (despite questionable staffing levels), would be much better off as a non-profit separate but affiliated with the school system.
The DCSS Central Office has proven it is fiscally incapable in everything it does. FSC has so much potential, but it's dated, long overdue for a makeover, and held back by the incompetence and lack of leadership of the DCSS Central Office and Board of Education.
Still, one of the biggest problems with FSC is the Central Office has never promoted it properly. It is paid for by county taxpayers, and it is open for use by all county residents. If DCSS is paying millions a year to operate it, well, heck, then promote it. I'd guess that maybe 2 percent of the county population has ever even visited FSC at 156 Heaton Park Dr., Atlanta, GA 30307.
There's a cool planetarium with shows:
All are welcome, but great for kids 10 and under. Saturdays 1:30 pm
PUBLIC PROGRAMS All are welcome, but targeted at adults and children 10 or older.
Thursday 8:00 pm
Friday 3:00 and 8:00 pm
Saturday 3:00 pm
THE SKY TONIGHT
11:00 a.m. Saturday mornings (except December) Presented live by a Fernbank astronomer, this is a guided tour through the constellations, planets, and events of the current evening sky.
STORIES OF AFRICA
February 5 – February 26, 2011 Come join us for a tour of the Atlanta night sky. Look for the winter constellations. Then, travel with us to the continent of Africa where we’ll explore the night sky again and see how it has changed. Join us for stories of the stars and stories of Africa!
HERE COMES THE SUN
March 5 – June 3, 2011 Quick! What’s the closest star to Earth? If you answered, “The Sun!” you’re on your way in our newest adventure. Watch the Sun as Earth rotates and revolves, find out about life without our star, and see some stars in the night sky as well.
There's the incredible Fernbank Forest, 65 acres with walking trails:
Mon - Fri 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Sat 10:00 am - 5:00 pm (Closed on Sunday)
Fernbank Forest is a 65-acre tract of relatively undisturbed mature mixed hardwood forest. It is a small remnant of the type of forest vegetation that originally covered the Piedmont region of Georgia, including the Atlanta metropolitan area. Practically all of Atlanta's original vegetation has been destroyed, first by farming and later by urban and suburban development. Visitors to Fernbank Forest can observe firsthand the beauty of forest land as early explorers and southern Native Americans would have done hundreds of years ago. Trees, shrubs, wildflowers and ferns are labeled so these plants can readily be identified. Animals such as squirrels, chipmunks, birds, turtles and snakes live undisturbed in their natural environment. A small pond teems with aquatic life.And they need volunteers for cleanup days:
Volunteer in Fernbank Forest!
Help with the removal of exotic, invasive plant species (English Ivy, etc.) and other labor. DeKalb students will receive community service hours required for graduation! Last Saturday of every month. Everyone is welcome! For more information, or if you plan to bring a group or have a club participate, then please contact Dr. Larry Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org
Dates for 2011: February 26, March 26, April 30
DCSS HAS RESOURCES OPEN TO THE PUBLIC THAT IT DOES NOT EDUCATE THE PUBLIC ABOUT. C'MON VISIT FSC!