WildWoods: AGLOW at the Fernbank Museum

Created as part of an ongoing partnership between Thinkwell and the Fernbank Museum of Natural History, WildWoods: AGLOW is an all-new illuminated forest walk-through experience designed for visitors of all ages and abilities.


Thinkwell Group

Practice Area


Fernbank Museum


The Challenge

Fernbank Museum of Natural History approached Thinkwell with an ask: to create a nighttime offering that would activate the old-growth forest that surrounds the museum in the cold, dark winter months. The experience was required to engage audiences of all ages and abilities with science and nature in a fun, accessible, and innovative format.

Because the museum remained open during the daytime, Thinkwell was presented with the challenge of designing an experience that would be “invisible” even in daylight.

Project Vision

Inspired by the native flora and fauna that thrive in Fernbank’s ten acres of featured woodlands, WildWoods: AGLOW invites guests to discover the hidden interactions of nature and wildlife through an immersive blend of the real environment and enhanced vignettes. As the first experience of its kind in Atlanta, WildWoods: AGLOW surrounds audiences with the beauty, wonder and energy of nature’s living networks. Embracing the darkness of night and the glow of illumination, the outdoor trails of WildWoods are transformed into a unique portal of dynamic vistas, immersive moments, and awe-inspiring interactives.

Guests marvel at the final tableau, as the forest comes to life in full bloom through colorful lights.

Andre Bendahan, Fernbank Museum, Thinkwell Media

A seed pod structure drops a number of seeds, which “pollinate” the forest in a burst of scattered light.

Andre Bendahan, Fernbank Museum, Thinkwell Media

Design + Execution

Throughout the design process, Thinkwell worked hand-in-hand with Fernbank’s science team to ensure every image, color, and sound was an accurate extension of the Fernbank Forest. The experience was completely curated to blend into the old growth forest surrounding the museum, as technology was used to bring the “hidden world” of the forest to light.

Guests pass through a forest of larger-than-life internally lit mushrooms, which light up and sing when activated by movement.

Andre Bendahan, Fernbank Museum, Thinkwell Media

Swaths of colored light are projected onto the surrounding wildlife.

Andre Bendahan, Fernbank Museum, Thinkwell Media

Fernbank’s Adventure Outpost becomes home to a plethora of projected flora and fauna, inspired by the real species which live in Fernbank Forest.

Andre Bendahan, Fernbank Museum, Thinkwell Media

Five large seed petals light up in sequence when guests touch the corresponding seed petals up above.

Andre Bendahan, Fernbank Museum, Thinkwell Media

Guests walk down a long, lit pathway populated with hidden speakers, which play the sounds of nature.

Andre Bendahan, Fernbank Museum, Thinkwell Media

Project Details
Innovative use of elevated walkways as projection surfaces. Appreciated the respect of the design towards the nature walk as to not disrupt the reverence of the space during the daytime.
Juror 1
It’s just magical and just activates the mystery and interconnection of nature with the viewer. It teaches through the experience without being overly didactic. I appreciate that the forest is a stakeholder—minimizing the design’s ecological impact by partnering with the museum’s science team.
Juror 2
Design Team

Nicolas Marion (producer)
Anne Laurence Dubois (producer)
Karine Chartrand (team lead)
Émilie F. Grenier (creative director)
Lucy Rybicka (artistic director)
Mariko Samejima (junior art director)
Philippe Hughes (lead interactive designer/music)
Pascal Marcotte (technical director)
Marie-Hélène Martineau (lead tech)
Hugo Boujut-Burgun (lead R&D)
Sébastien Rompré (lead R&D)


Atomic 3

Photo Credits

Andre Bendahan, Fernbank Museum, Thinkwell Media

Open Date

November 2022