A day at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences :: WRAL.com

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences was founded in 1879 and since then it has become one of the most popular attractions in the entire state.

If you live in North Carolina or plan to visit soon, this is a must-see museum. As the oldest established museum in North Carolina and the largest natural science museum in the southeastern region of the United States, it has a lot to offer that other museums can’t beat.

Are you trying to figure out if it’s worth adding to your loaded projects? If so, this article will help you learn more about why it should be a key part of your North Carolina experience.

Read on as we give you key information on why you want to visit this attraction, what to expect, and more.

The Beginnings of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science

When this museum first opened, it mainly displayed agricultural products until it was purchased by two English brothers. One brother had a passion for science and the other a passion for nature.

The brother who was most passionate about science collected only for science, not for display, but he still helped his brother develop a wonderful museum.

Over time, the brothers were able to gain more and more ground, as well as exhibits to display, so they could create a museum focused on the natural world around them.

Today, the museum obviously houses a lot more information about science and nature that we didn’t have access to in the 1800s. Now, you’ll find it’s a great place to visit, whether you’re visiting the city or that you have been living here for years!

Is the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences just for kids?

Although this museum has a lot to offer children and families, it is still very suitable for adults. You’ll find plenty of exhibits and activities full of scientific information and nature-related facts that kids and adults alike will enjoy.

In addition to this, the museum has a Science Cafe, which is held on Thursday evenings. This is more of an adults-only event as it is much more scientific and features experts who will come to discuss various topics, such as evolution, snake venom, and meteorites.

There are also other events that pop up from time to time that the museum has age filters for, so you can read more about that here. That way, if you’re only interested in events you can take your kids to (or adult-only events), you can check who’s allowed to come.

Types of exhibits at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

The main reason why this museum is as famous as it is in this region is that it has such a diversity of things to look at. People come from all over for the various exhibits here, including Coastal North Carolina, current nature research, and a living conservatory.

One of the exhibits you must see when you are here is the new Dueling Dinosaurs exhibit which is a permanent expansion added in 2021 which is a site for research, exploration and education.

In the “Dueling Dinosaurs” exhibit, you can see the remains of a young T. Rex and triceratops that were found buried together. This is an exhibit you won’t find anywhere else in the world. It’s incredibly special for this museum to have it for visitors!

Like other museums, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences also has special exhibits that are only available for a limited time. You can read more about this before going to see what might be available during the visit!

North Carolina Museum of Natural Science: Center for Nature Research

This is the newest wing of the museum, so the environment and vibe of the area is very modern and new. In the exhibits here you can learn about what is currently known in scientific research, but also about how we know it. You will get an in-depth look at the tools and techniques used by real scientists!

When it comes to current nature research, did you know that you can actually see scientists at work while you’re here? On top of that, you can become a scientist at the Natural World Investigate Lab!

Other attractions and exhibits in this part of the museum include:

  • Weather search
  • Ancient fossils, new discoveries
  • Untangling DNA
  • Micro Planet
  • Our changing ocean
  • Explore the sea depths
  • Diversity of life

These attractions are located on the first through third floors of the museum.

North Carolina Museum of Natural Science: Nature Exploration Center

It is the home of the natural science collection that the museum has had since its inception over 100 years ago.

The exhibits here are specific to the state of North Carolina and feature information about the various habitats and inhabitants. You can find information on how the state changed and what types of creatures used to live in the same location you are currently visiting.

Credit: Todd Pusser

The main exhibits you will find here include:

  • North Carolina Coast
  • North Carolina’s Natural Treasures
  • From the mountains to the sea
  • southern terrors
  • Tropical connections
  • Living Conservatory (also known as the Butterfly Room)
  • arthropod zoo

This section of the museum spans from the first to the fourth floor, so consult a map when you arrive at the museum to find the exhibit you want to see the most.

How popular is the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science?

For the past five consecutive years, this museum has been the most visited historical attraction in the state of North Carolina. More than 1,000,000 visitors were registered in 2018.

People love this museum because it’s almost like a mix between a museum and a zoo with all the activities available. You have plenty of opportunities to learn and explore here, whatever kind of nature or science interests you might have.

On the popular travel review website TripAdvisor, visitors also report enjoying their visits to the museum immensely. One reviewer said the museum was so big they could spend an entire day exploring all it has to offer. Another reviewer explained that everyone in her family was interested in something all day, regardless of age.

North Carolina State Museum of Natural Science

As you can see, this is a great museum that almost anyone can visit when in the Raleigh area. You will experience science, nature and even a bit of history in a whole new way!

What do you need to know before visiting the Museum of Natural Sciences?

Before you can plan a visit to this museum, you’ll need to know more about its opening hours, cost, and other minor details that may affect your day.

The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday most weeks. During holiday weeks it is worth contacting them or checking their website to see if these days change.

Their hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., but again, always check that they don’t have any special events or other circumstances that might cause them to close early. They hold special events on different days of the week, so you’ll always want to check their website for this information to see if it’s happening on a day you plan to visit.

The cost of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is completely free, so you can visit with your whole family to see all these wonderful attractions! If you’re looking for free museums to visit in Raleigh, NC, this should be at the very top of your list.

The museum is located at 11 West Jones St. in downtown Raleigh if you wish to visit their main campus. You can also contact them at 919-707-9800 for any other visitor questions.

It is important to note that during the COVID-19 pandemic, face masks are mandatory in all indoor areas for guests over the age of 5, regardless of their vaccination status.

Visit the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences today

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is one of the most popular attractions in the state because it offers a one-of-a-kind experience in the region. If you are interested in science and nature, this museum is for you.

All the knowledge you acquire will probably make you want to know more!

About Carlos V. Mitchell

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