The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences located at 11 West Jones Street in Raleigh is the largest science museum in the vicinity. There are four floors to explore, which feature a variety of permanent and special exhibits. Visitors can explore the history of North Carolina’s land, water, and animal life through fun and interesting displays. On the first floor you’ll find visitor information, the popular gift shop, and the auditorium. In the auditorium there are scheduled movies. For the movie schedule, click here. The first floor also holds exhibits on ocean life and rare plants and animals, such as the country’s oldest salamander species. The second and third floors make up the “Mountains and the Sea” exhibit. There you can see a model mountain habitat with a 20 ft. waterfall, ocean habitat displays with some live plants and animals, and a display of the museum’s history.
The second floor houses opportunities for earth science exploration, particularly dealing with rocks and minerals. The Discovery Room is a popular area for children, as there are many hands-on learning activities. The third floor is also one of the most popular areas of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences because of the dinosaur exhibit. The skeleton of the large Acrocanthosaurus here is the most complete displayed skeleton of its species in the world. In the beautiful glass ceiling room there is also a large replica of a herbivore dinosaur and a flying Pterosaur. Other prehistoric specimens found in North Carolina are also available to view. The third floor also contains an area to explore tropical amphibians and reptiles. On the fourth floor, stop by the Acro Cafe for a quick snack and then head over to the Arthropod Zoo to investigate butterflies, bees, crustaceans, spiders, and other creatures through colorful displays. The Living Conservatory is a special room with controlled humidity that houses live butterflies and tropical plants to give you a real tropical forest experience without having to leave the city of Raleigh. In the Naturalist Center visitors can explore scientific inquiries through hands-on activities.
The museum also has special exhibits that run for certain periods of time. A schedule of special exhibits can be found here. A unique exhibit on the Megalodon is scheduled to run from February 13, 2010-May 9, 2010. This exhibit will feature fossils and specimens from sharks past and present as well as focus on ocean life conservation.
The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is a great place for families and science lovers to visit and learn about the area’s ecology through fun, interesting exhibits and displays. Museum hours are Monday-Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday Noon until 5:00 p.m.
North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences