FUN. EDUCATIONAL. MEMORABLE.
The Cook Museum of Natural Science is a state-of-the-art natural science museum in downtown Decatur, AL. It provides a hands-on, immersive experience where kids can explore, interact with, and learn about nature. Families leave the Cook Museum feeling fulfilled by their time together and inspired by the things they saw and learned. It truly is an amazing experience for families and children of all ages!
The Cook Museum’s humble roots can be traced back to 1968 when John Cook, Sr. opened his professional insect collection to the public by appointment, which at the time had been used primarily for employee training at Cook’s Pest Control. It later grew to include a wide array of mounted wildlife, touring malls throughout Alabama, Tennessee, and Georgia.
In 1980, additional collections of rocks, minerals, fossils, coral, sea shells, mounted wildlife, and federally protected migratory birds were acquired, and a 5,000 square foot building was constructed to house Cook’s Natural Science Museum. From its opening in 1980 until its closing in 2016, the museum welcomed more than 750,000 visitors . As meaningful as the museum had been for decades, the Cook family decided it was time to reinvent the museum as an even more engaging, exciting, and educational experience for the next generation. The new Cook Museum of Natural Science, now a non-profit 501(c)(3), held its grand opening on June 7, 2019.
From left to right: John Cook Jr., Lyn Cook, Leslie Cook, Eleanor (Jo) Cook, and Brian Cook.
RENEE SIMMONS RANEY
Park Operations Supervisor – Alabama State Parks at Cheaha State Park
President – CWT LLC and former Director of Development City of Decatur
Partner – Nowlin, Bachuss & Gray Law Firm
DR. MARC BENDICKSON
Former Chairman of the Board and CEO – Dynetics, Inc.
Certified Public Accountant – BMSS Advisors & CPAs
Chief of Police – Decatur Police Department
Vice Chairman of the Board – Cook’s Pest Control
City President, Morgan County – Senior Vice President – Regions Bank
President & CEO – Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association
Partner – Corporate Billing, LLC
Operational Manager – ThinkerCon
Owner – Smarter Every Day