DRUID HILLS, Ga. -- Parents in Druid Hills knew they didn't have much time. That's why they hopped on the fastest viral vehicle they could find: social media.
Susan Anne MacKenna just found out last Thursday that the Fernbank Science Center could be in jeopardy, a potential casuality of the DeKalb County School District's shrinking budget.
The hands-on children's center is separate from the larger museum, free to the public and funded by the school district.
Within walking distance of her house, free and air-conditioned, it's the perfect candidate for summer entertainment.
But that's not the reason MacKenna's girls spend so much time there.
"My 4 year old thinks it's the greatest place in the world," she said. "She likes to come see the birds. She likes to go out back and see the cultural exhibits."
"It's amazing to me how much they actually know about science just as a result of coming up here on an afternoon," MacKenna added.
That's why she and other parents and community members have spent hours on end writing emails, drafting letters and mounting a social media campaign to keep the center open. Within hours of hearing the news, up popped a Facebook page, Twitter handle and at least two online petitions.
"I see what it means to DeKalb County," said Lee Ann Else, who brings her 7-year-old daughter Veronica on regular visits.
"So many buses go up our street every day with kids that are getting to attend events here," she said.
The school board will hold a public budget hearing Wednesday night at 6 p.m. to discuss the 2012-2013 budget. As the district faces a $70 million shortfall, closing the Fernbank Science Center is one proposed way to cut costs.
The meeting will be held at 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard in Stone Mountain and is open to the public.