Museum of Life + Science
Museum of Life + Science
5
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Write a review
About
Located just blocks from downtown Durham, the Museum of Life and Science is one of North Carolina’s top family destinations. Situated on 84-acres, our interactive science park includes a two-story science center, one of the largest butterfly conservatories on the East Coast, and beautifully landscaped outdoor exhibits which are safe havens for rescued black bears, lemurs, and endangered red wolves. Other popular attractions include over 60 species of live animals, Dinosaur Trail, Ellerbe Creek Railway, Into the Mist, Hideaway Woods, and Earth Moves. The Museum of Life and Science is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
Suggested duration
More than 3 hours
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing

Top ways to experience nearby attractions

See what other travelers are saying
  • Jason P
    Lansing, Michigan777 contributions
    Must do if you have kids
    This is really a children’s science museum but it is a spectacular one and if you have kids in elementary school or younger, they will have a great time. Definitely go here on a day you can go outside. There are indoor exhibits but the best part of the museum is the outdoor exhibit area. The butterfly building also requires a five minute walk outside to get to it. The outdoor area is beautifully landscaped and has a lot of unique exhibits you won’t find at any other museum geared towards children. In addition, the bears, lemurs, and wolves are all on display outside. The outdoor exhibit area requires a lot of walking. Expect three to four hours to get through all of the outdoor exhibits, plus another one to two hours for the exhibits inside the museum. There is a cafe next to the butterfly building that serves pretty good food and has kids meals that come with drinks, a side, and a cookie. All of this doesn’t come cheap but going here is an all day activity. Adults are $23 and kids are $18. This includes all exhibits and parking except for the the train ride, which is extra. This museum is extremely popular in the area. Nice weekend days may be kind of crazy here. We went on a cloudy and cold Tuesday and there was still a good number of people here.
    Traveled with family
    Written March 30, 2022
  • Viemarie C
    Hope Mills, North Carolina262 contributions
    Full Day of Enjoyment!
    So glad we scheduled this visit! I wasn't sure due to my daughter being in a moody pre-teen stage but I watched her within 10 minutes transform back to a curious excited child. They are taking reservations to enter right now due to Covid-19 restrictions but that was great because it was not crowded and she didn't feel rushed as she checked out the stations. Inside the building took about 1 1/2 hours to thoroughly enjoy and the rest of our time was spent going through the outside exhibits. A highlight for her was actually playing with the younger children in the sand/water area building dams & trenches. One disappointment was that we didn't realize you have to buy train tickets at the entrance and by the time we were ready to ride it, there really wasn't enough time to walk all the way back to the front & then back to the train. So remember to get the train tickets at the beginning. The museum should have a ticket kiosk near the train, we would have gladly spent the money for the tickets.
    Written March 21, 2021
  • Chris
    54 contributions
    Open with limited exhibits
    So happy that the museum is open and still free of charge. However, several exhibits are closed (like the ones that are touch and feel). Lots of hand sanitizer stations around. We felt very comfortable since they limit the number of patrons inside at any one time.
    Traveled with family
    Written February 25, 2021
These reviews are the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor checks reviews for fraud.
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

5.0
912 reviews
Excellent
732
Very good
149
Average
17
Poor
11
Terrible
3

Lisa C
1 contribution
Aug 2022 • Family
This was an amazing experience! We were visiting from out of town and used a reciprocate membership from our science center. They also honor a discount for zoo memberships. We had a group of college, high school, and elementary school age kiddos and everyone enjoyed their time here. There was so much to do! Everything was hands on. The sections outside were all so different, that it made it exciting to see what came next. It was a very hot day, so the mist area and the water play was a welcome sight. We took others' advice and brought a change of clothes. The butterfly house was full and all of the different species were available to see. There was also a zoo area, a barnyard, a dinosaur trail, and building area. We did not get to the treetop area, but it looked like a lot of fun.
Make sure you check out the inside educational exhibits as well!
Written August 9, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Bambi12345
181 contributions
Sep 2021 • Couples
The museum is quite small, but contains good exhibits. Most seem for children, but this results in many interactive ones. If you are visiting adults only, I recommend focusing mostly on the animals part. Do not miss the butterflies room, with many colorful and beautiful butterflies flying around you.
Written September 19, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Erin S
8 contributions
Aug 2022
From Greensboro and wanted to do something new and different. MLS was worth the drive; our 3 year old loved it. The inside was mostly designed for older kids, but she found plenty to keep her entertained. The outside was phenomenal and I wish we had gone on a cooler day when we could have stayed outside longer (it was high 90s and "feels like 105" that afternoon). It got too hot to stay outside so we missed several parts. We will definitely visit again when its in the 70s or 80s so we can spend most of the day outside.
Written August 12, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

ransom007
Anaheim, CA1,206 contributions
Aug 2021
The museum has free parking. The museum has an indoor area that is more like a discovery center than a museum. There are many hands on exhibits. There is a NASA section which includes actual size rocket engines and a lunar lander. There is an ant farm that looks like something that would be built to live on the moon. The gift shop and dining are available inside as well. There is a vast outdoor area which includes life sized dinosaur models, fossils, and zoo exhibits.
Written September 29, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Joanie and Jenni B
Crestview, FL665 contributions
Aug 2020
On a recent trip to Durham, NC we had the opportunity to visit the Museum of Life & Science- what a treat. Our visit was during COVID, so we were not able to visit the inside portion, however the outside portion kept us busy for hours.
The outside part of the museum is a life & science wonderland for all ages. I loved watching the children exploring the different hand on exhibits. The parents all seemed happy and relaxed, which says a lot.
They had life size dinosaurs area, which was really well done.
I enjoyed the Farm area, where you could walk around and see all of the farm animals.
Now, as an adult with no young children in tow, I enjoyed leisurely walking around checking out each exhibit. It was a very nice place to just hanging out and enjoy nature.
Written September 25, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Donna M
Durham, NC7 contributions
Nov 2021
So many wonderful things have been added since I last was here . The outdoor exhibits are varied and have something wonderful for every age! The second floor exhibits were not as interesting as in the past. Prices aren't cheap. We had three adults, one 9 yr. old and a 2 yr. old. Even with the dad's military discount for all of us, we paid $109 (included the train ride) The train ride was disappointing. Perhaps the gentlemen "engineering" were volunteers, but there was no interaction with the children and I was even beginning to wonder if they would toot the horn - but they finally did. Because we passed dinosaurs and other animals, it would have been nice if they had pointed them out and got a little excited, for the kids sake.
Written November 18, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Wesley S
9 contributions
Mar 2021 • Family
The science exhibit should adopt a new policy that recognizes people with disabilities and medical conditions. When visiting with the family, we were confronted by staff and management regarding one of our family members having a condition that prevented them from wearing a mask. Instead of recognizing that there are indeed people with circumstances that would prevent them from wearing a mask, they were berating, and inconsiderate. Even when we attempted to meet the policy in a way that was comfortable for our family member, the staff including management asked us to leave the premises. Leadership should train their staff on recognizing and respecting people with disabilities.
Written March 7, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Ken T
Raleigh, NC510 contributions
Oct 2020
Took our grandsons (2 & 4 years old) here for the day and they had a blast. They loved the dinosaur trail, butterfly house and interactive displays. But their favorite was the tree houses! It was very disappointing not to be able to ride the train, as there was some sort of 'Pumpkin Patch' event going on, but we will catch that the next time we go!
Written October 23, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Allison R
1 contribution
Mar 2020 • Couples
My favorite part about this visit would was without a doubt the butterfly sanctuary and insect room. I was with my boyfriend and he has an insane fear of spiders. As soon as we entered the insect room I immediately looked for enclosures with spiders to freak him out. I’m looking around and suddenly I see a display that appears to have no glass or wire around it and nothing in it. Both my boyfriend and I being curious walk over to it and begin to look for insects that might be hiding but we can’t find any so I turn to the sign and it says “Giant Orb Weavers” with a picture of a huge spider on it. Now I’m even more curious and I start searching even more. As we are about to walk away I look up and see these huge spiders sitting in their webbing above us in the small trees planted in the exhibit. I’m blown away! This case has no glass and the spiders were just there sitting above us! Just as I point at them and start to say “babe look” my hand is suddenly grabbed and I’m dragged out of the room, out of the building, and up the stairs to the rest of the park before I can even realize what’s happening. I have never seen my boyfriend move that fast. It was the most hilarious experience I’d ever seen and I died laughing for so long that my face started to hurt. Such a cool display! And very safe! I did my research! Orb Weavers have little to no reason at all to leave their webs and get all their nutrients they need from their web. So cool! So creepy! I’ll definitely be going back... although I can’t say the same for my boyfriend.
Written March 5, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

PMGpmg
New Haven, CT91 contributions
Jul 2022 • Family
This museum is a terrific way to spend time with children. They have everything, some inside some outside. Child sized train, dinosaur path, farm with very well cared for animals, butterflies, you name it.
Written July 12, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Showing results 1-10 of 900
Anything missing or inaccurate?
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing

Museum of Life + Science (Durham) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

Frequently Asked Questions about Museum of Life + Science

Museum of Life + Science is open:
  • Tue - Sun 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM


Restaurants near Museum of Life + Science: View all restaurants near Museum of Life + Science on Tripadvisor