Science museum

Cartersville Tellus Science Museum | News by the lake

This is the second installment of three stories featuring things to do when visiting our northwest neighbors, Cartersville, Ga.

An observatory with a 20-inch telescope, an extensive collection of minerals and fossils, a tribute to motorized transport and space exploration make the Tellus Science Museum in Cartersville a must visit.

Opened in 2009, the Smithsonian-affiliated museum attracts visitors from across the United States and around the world.

“Being affiliated with the Smithsonian means a lot to travelers, so they make it a point to stop by and see what we have to offer,” said Tellus chief marketing officer Shelly Redd. “In addition, we host a series of annual events – like RockFest and Heavy Metal in Motion – that attract enthusiasts and collectors.”

“Our award-winning excursion and workshop programs, however, are the foundation of the museum,” she said. “It’s our educational component that keeps families coming back regularly to learn more about specific topics.”

Visitors to the 120,000 square foot museum are greeted by an 80 foot long Brontosaurus in the lobby. In the Fossil Gallery, a giant Tyrannosaurus Rex stands guard alongside a saber-toothed cat, reptiles and mammals that populated the planet millions of years ago.

Child's hand holding gemstones as they take them out of a pan.

Panning for gems.

Woman and child looking at amethyst crystals.

Amethyst crystals.

The Weinman Mineral Gallery features a vast collection of minerals, gems and gold and tells how the earth was formed. Fifty crates of artifacts include rare minerals, shimmering rocks, and large specimens of crystal formations and geodes. Exploration of mineral properties and information on the formation of these specimens complete the presentations.

Amethyst crystals.

Learning electricity.

Interactive exhibits encourage hands-on learning. The Gem Panning exhibit features a working paddle wheel and lets youngsters search for gems to take home. The Fossil Dig replicates an actual dig by providing brushes and other tools for digging up dinosaur bones.

White and black space capsules.

Replica NASA space capsules are on display.

Science in motion explores the early days of flight through a replica of the Wright Flyer, with explanations of the adventures of the Wright brothers. Early automobiles, trains and planes form the basis of space travel, where replicas of the Apollo I capsule, a Mercury capsule and Sputnik are on display. Models recreate NASA’s space program.

My big back yard opens the doors to the mysteries of science, where children experience light and sound, work with magnets and learn about the weather.

“One of our most popular exhibits in My Big Back Yard is our tree. Guests can walk inside a hollowed-out life-size tree and look up to learn about different weather patterns like thunderstorms. , snow and rain. The outside of the tree teaches about the different creatures that could make a home in a tree,” Redd said. “Although we call My Big Back Yard our ‘kids interactive gallery,’ it this is certainly a popular gallery for guests of all ages.”

Special exhibits change frequently to provide new insights and activities. Science fiction, scientific reality continues through February 20 and reveals how scientists and inventors have been inspired by writers. Thomas Edison’s Secret Laboratory in the Discovery Garden is open until May 8 with interactive STEM activities. Hidden secrets: the mysterious world of caves until October 30 journey beneath the earth’s surface through a cave reconstruction to find subterranean life.

The hourly shows at the 120-seat Bentley Planetarium highlight the night sky depending on the season. Programs on the current night sky, exploration beyond the sun, super volcanoes and black holes run throughout the day.

A man stands inside near the telescope looking out.

The museum’s 20-inch telescope offers views of many objects in space.

On the ground, visit the Tellus Observatory special events for explorations of the night sky through a 20-inch telescope perfect for observing the Moon and planets of the solar system. A functional solar home built in 2015 by West Virginia University students demonstrates the benefits of renewable energy through interactive components.

“Although Tellus is best experienced with an in-person visit, you can also enjoy some aspects of the museum virtually,” she said. “Tellus offers virtual field tours, as well as a host of virtual lectures which can be found on the museum’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.”

For more information visit or call (770) 606-5700.

February In-Person Events at Tellus
Registration is mandatory.

  • February 4Junior astronomy workshop
  • February 19, Build and Blast! Model rocket workshop
  • February 25SciFriNight Wonders of the Night Sky

To register or for more information, visit

Photos: Courtesy of Tellus Science Museum