Monday, May 24, 2010

Social Media Preview: Fernbank's Gecko Exhibit and Bugs IMAX Movie

I love the idea of a social media preview. Bloggers get to check out something for free and in advance of the general public — and the restaurant/entertainer/bar/whatever generates some early buzz. I've been invited to a few sneak peaks and designer events but hadn't yet felt excited enough to one.

But, I felt excited about this little preview at Fernbank — so I RSVPed "yes" and invited my neighbor Vica to be my guest. So here I go with my take on Fernbank's new features:

We arrived around 5:30 to catch a few minutes of the Gecko exhibit before the IMAX film started. Unfortunately photos weren't allowed in the exhibit. 

We saw all kinds of geckos (maybe 20 species?) — ranging from bright green and tiny (think the GEICO gecko) to large and speckled. In some of the aquariums, it was incredibly challenging to spot the camouflaged geckos. 

I intended to write more about the gecko exhibit... but I'm not feeling it. They were spotted, green, small, big, wrinkly, shiny, etc. One particular species was flat and thin and quite reminiscent of leaves. I even petted one that was quite cute (thank you for teaching me the proper two-finger gecko petting technique, Lynn). I think the husband would have enjoyed it much more than I did. He's as giddy as a fourth grader when we go to the zoo. Vica enjoyed peering through the glass at the various species but wasn't too keen on touching one. I'm sure this exhibit will be a hit with visiting kids. 

I counted about 30 people in the IMAX movie. "BUGS: A Rain Forest Adventure" was narrated by Judi Dench (Vica called it right away!) and presented by... wait for it... wait for it... TERMINIX. Funny. :)

BUGS is a non-fiction and follows a praying mantis and caterpillar through their [short] lives. It also features cameos from some horn beetles, stick bugs, ants, spiders and centipedes. The caterpillar grows from almost microscopic to chubby as she gnaws on leaves and prepares for her cocoon. Watching the praying mantes hatch from their egg was bizarre and magical all at once — like the teeny spiders emerging at the end of Charlotte's Web but more alien-like. The rain forest setting reminds me a lot of the backdrop for Indiana Jones — and the music was part Pink Panther, part old Western. 

I'm not gonna lie — the adult praying mantis is rather maniacal and intimidating. A few times I found myself holding my breath, waiting to see if he would spare a poor, unassuming insect within feelers' reach. And while the caterpillar/butterfly transformation seems cliche, I still find the process mesmerizing and mystifying to watch. 

Throughout the movie, we heard a lot of oohing and aahing from the kids behind us, and cheerful commentary ("Look at that cricket, Mama!") In fact, I would say the kiddos are the prime audience for this particular flick. It has a simple plot and lots of eye candy. (I want to go back for Forces of Nature, perhaps for the more adult Martinis and IMAX event held every Friday night except for during the winter holiday season).

I really expected to see more mommy bloggers, and a bigger turnout overall. My feeling is that Fernbank is still getting in the swing of these social media sneak peeks. Oh, and I'd recommend they serve food and drink next time (there's little else that brings us bloggers out in force). Regardless, thank you for the invite, Fernbank!

Geckos: Tails to Toepads opens on May 28.

Tickets to Fernbank Museum of Natural History are $15 for adults and $13 for children 3 - 12 (IMAX tickets are $13 and $11).

767 Clifton Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30307


But what's most exciting about this post is that it marks my 500th post!!! Sure, that's my 500th post between this blog and my other one — but I still think it's worth celebrating! Thank you for being a reader of this blog!


kateoquinn said...

I love fernbank! I remeber my mom taking me when it first opened. They do great temp. exhibits, we went to the Rome deal a few years back. Thanks for posting about the geckos.

moeko said...

forces of nature was NOT good. matt and I were both really disappointed!

Kb_Mal said...

Kate, I need to visit Fernbank more often. They have so many neat things!

Moeko, boo. That's disappointing! The two I've seen in the last few years were good: Everest and one about New Orleans (something like "Thunder in the Bayou").