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Fernbank Museum's "Mythic Creatures" delves into popular legends & real history

At Fernbank Museum's "Mythic Creatures" exhibit, a  reconstructed Gigantopithecus is on display. Talk about "Big Foot"!
At Fernbank Museum's "Mythic Creatures" exhibit, a reconstructed Gigantopithecus is on display. Talk about "Big Foot"!
D. Finnin/American Museum of Natural History

As you visit Fernbank Museum of Natural History’s fun new exhibit, “Mythic Creatures,” and read about the folklore of these mysterious and awesome beings, you may wonder: Is it possible these creatures once existed? And as unfathomable as it may sound, could some still be among us? Hmmm...

Whatever you conclude, your family will get a kick out of some of the detailed displays depicting creatures such as Big Foot and the “Kraken.” Perhaps most importantly, you’ll learn the origin of many of these legends – some of them resembling, or based on, real-life beings of long ago (Gigantopithecus, a huge primate) or animals still in existence (giant quid).

“Cultures have been inspired to create stories about the natural world’s mysteries for centuries. This exhibition taps into our curiosity and fascination with mythic creatures by investigating the origins of some of our most fabled beliefs and examining the most recent research separating fact from fiction,” said Dr. Bobbi Hohmann, an anthropologist and curator of Fernbank Museum’s McClatchey Collection. “With mermaids, dragons, unicorns, griffins and more, this exhibition explores a topic that intrigues visitors of all ages with very enriching content that is both educational and enjoyable—a cornerstone of all Fernbank’s programming.”

The exhibit may not be ideal for small children who like to climb (some of the models are tempting) or who may be frightened by certain imagery. Ages 5 and up will probably have a better understanding and appreciation of the exhibit.

There are some familiar faces in the “Mythic Creatures” exhibit, popular legends found in movies and books such as mermaids, unicorns, and dragons. In fact, the first thing your children may notice when they walk into the exhibit is how much the eerie dragon model with the snake-like eyes resembles the dragon from the movie “Shrek.”

But have you heard of the Bunyip? Yawkyawks? If not, make a point of visiting Ferbank Museum’s “Mythic Creatures.” It runs through August 14, 2011.

Cost is $15 for adults; students and seniors (age 62 and up) with ID, $14; children ages 3-12, $13; children age 2 and under, free (ticket required). Museum members are free.

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