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“Great place for all ages” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Museum of Life + Science

Museum of Life + Science
433 W. Murray Avenue, Durham, NC 27704
+1 919-220-5429
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Ranked #4 of 27 Attractions in Durham
Type: Science Museums, Museums
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Attraction details
Owner description: The Museum of Life and Science is one of North Carolina’s top attractions. Situated on 84-acres, our interactive science park includes a science center, a butterfly conservatory which is one of the largest in the world and beautifully-landscaped outdoor exhibits which are safe havens for rescued black bears, lemurs, and endangered red wolves. The Museum's Dinosaur Trail takes visitors on a journey through the Late Cretaceous period. Other attractions include a Farmyard, Ellerbe Creek Railway, Contraptions – a hands-on exhibit for older children and adults, a sailboat pond, The Lab in Investigate Health!, Play to Learn – an exhibit for children under six, more than 60 species of live animals and so much more. The Museum of Life and Science is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
Apex, North Carolina
11 reviews 11 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Great place for all ages”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 25, 2012

My husband and I first took our son here when he was about 16 months old. Even at that young age, he enjoyed all this museum has to offer - especially the drums and other "instruments" outside near the playground. We've been back several times and even now (at 6 years old), he still enjoys this large and varied museum. As do I.
The indoor part of the museum has lots of interactive exhibits, centering mainly around space exploration, weather, and other more scientific themes (as the name implies). There is a vast outdoor part to this museum as well with lots of animals (barnyard animals, bears, lemurs, natural wildlife) and a wind section that is also interactive and good for kids of all ages. Even my husband was enjoying some these exhibits. They also have a large insect section, which is also indoors, but separate from the main museum. It houses a very cool butterfly "sanctuary" where you can walk through a sort of jungle/greenhouse type atmosphere with butterflies all around.
There is also a decent restaurant on the grounds - definitely not something Zagat's would recommend, but it is just fine for a quick lunch or snack.
Overall, I would highly recommend this place - and I would suggest going on a nice day so you can enjoy the outdoor sections - and when you have a full day to enjoy it because it's worth the $20 admission, but only if you plan to spend most of your day there.

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346 reviews from our community

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English first
Apex, North Carolina, United States
Senior Contributor
44 reviews 44 reviews
18 attraction reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“I love this place”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 23, 2012

Not only u can expend like 2 hrs visiting the indoor floors but also like 4 hrs visiting the outdoor of the Museum. They have a "petting" zoo, (animals are very close by and they are so nice and pretty) they have also a large area of "music instruments" children love it.
They have 3 bears and cameras so won't miss a thing.
I love it.

Visited July 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Top Contributor
95 reviews 95 reviews
21 attraction reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
53 helpful votes 53 helpful votes
“Unexpected Pleasure”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 13, 2012

My niece was visiting from college this week and we were looking for something to do. My wife told us about this great butterfly house at the Museum of Life + Science in Durham. It turned out to be a lot more.

I should preface this by saying we were two retirees and a college student and most of the place is designed for children. There is a train that carries people around the large park, a huge playground and lots of activities for kids, including a bungee-trampoline. (Tried to get my wife to try it with me, but no luck.)

Still, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. It’s basically a stroll around a very large park along completely shaded, paved pathways. Must be fabulous in the heat of summer, but we had a beautiful fall day.

The butterfly house is amazing. I walked around it three or four times taking pictures of the butterflies and couldn’t pull myself away. Next, we rambled through wooded trails to a bear exhibit. There are four adult black bears that are very active and fun to watch. The alpha male eventually walked over to the fence and sat on a rock to pose for photos (see photo below), or so it seemed.

The lemur exhibit was equally enjoyable, after which we saw two rare red wolves.

It’s a low-key kind of place and the size isn’t intimidating. It just feels like a pleasant stroll through the Carolina woods with a few bears, wolves and lemurs along the way.

If we had children and lived nearby, we’d by a season pass just to take kids to the playground area.

One of those pleasant discoveries you make when someone comes to visit and you’re looking for something adventurous to entertain them.

Visited October 2012
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Durham, North Carolina, United States
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
17 attraction reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“Small but packs in a bunch of butterflies”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 2, 2012

This is part of the Museum of Life and Science, included in your admission there. The actual butterfly enclosure isn't terribly huge but there are quite a few benches you could sit on and watch a lot of butterflies wander around. There are feeding stations strategically placed near benches so you get a lot of action there. And, each time I've been, I've either seen one land on someone nearby or had one on my shoulder -- very cool! You can pick up a laminated guide that shows pics of each of the butterflies so you can identify them easily.

Visited August 2012
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Durham, North Carolina
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
11 attraction reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Oasis of wilderness.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 28, 2012

It is an oasis of wilderness in the city.The bears are so fun and beautiful.The butterfly house is very pleasant.Lovely and surprizing place.

Visited July 2012
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