We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Perfect for younger children”

Museum of Life + Science
Ranked #3 of 80 things to do in Durham
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
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.
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Stairs / elevator, Food available for purchase, Activities for older children, Bathroom facilities, Wheelchair access, Lockers / storage, Stroller parking
Reviewed August 3, 2009

Kids love the wind, sound and space, and dinosaur exhibits. The exhibits are very interactive and kids are learning something while they play. The staff is also helpful and friendly. The bugs are very popular with the smallest of children as they want to spend all day there. The science labs are great for older kids if you can catch one and get there early. The playground is a hit with all different ages. This may not be the best museum for advanced science topics but it is perfect for the younger children as they are having fun while learning. The events that are scheduled throughout the year keep bringing us back everytime. The Santa train is a fun way to see the museum at night, they do a very nice job with this event. The Bubble Fest was not quite as entertaining as we had hoped for. Most of the bubbles were not working out and the children got frustrated. But it was nice to get a bubble recipe that we can make at home. This museum is a great way for the entire family to spend time outdoors together, get a little walk, avoid really large crowds, and learn something new.

1  Thank DisneyTravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review
Reviews (742)
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year

733 - 737 of 743 reviews

Reviewed November 10, 2008

We took our kids, 4 & 8, and had an amazing time. More than half of the exhibits are outside along a trail so try to go during good weather. Attended the chemistry demonstration put on by local Duke university students which involved explosions. The kids loved it and were able to participate hands-on. Also, the cafe was surprisingly good.

2  Thank Dr-momNC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 13, 2008

As a high school biology teacher here in NC, I was not prepared for what I didn't see on display. Nothing on Evolution at all. How can this be called a Museum of Life and Science and not include the biggest Theory in Biology(the study of Life)? I have contacted the museum by email and have requested they forward my note to their science consultants. I am embarassed that this facility is in my state, and is State sanctioned. The state mandated biology curriculum requires the teaching of Evolution in our schools but has no mention of it in a Life Museum? Save your money for a proper museum (Washington, DC or NYC for example).

7  Thank saxmanchiro
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 8, 2008

After beginning our tour with some fun in the children's area, we enjoyed the forested wildlife area with non-releasable wildlife. I was pleased to see the large natural habitats with woods, streams, waterfalls and no signs of stress. This 6-acre outdoor exhibit was proclaimed a "national model" by the National Science Foundation.

The lemur exhibit is part of a study by Duke University and I had to dig more into that before deciding whether to visit this place since I don't feel like a university should "own" lemurs.

I found an article that made some sense of it all:

I feel strongly that we should not allow something to become extinct if we can intervene and save an animal from the results of our own destruction of this planet. However, within that context there needs to be a stress-free environment or we're not doing the animals any good.

We enjoyed the farmyard area where we got to touch the animals. Then we journeyed into the Butterfly House with exotic butterflies, tropical plants and some close-up views of insects from around the world.

Inside the main museum area were exhibits on aerospace, geology, weather, and other science subjects.

We spent five hours at this place and would've stayed longer if we didn't have another place we wanted to visit.

View the entire photo album at this website:

3  Thank TheNatureInUsdotcom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 2, 2008

Visited on a rainy Sunday. Lots of fun interactive exhibits but much of the museum is more of an outdoor playground. Felt that the Museum of Natural Science offered more activities and without an admission charge. The butterfly house was lovely but seemed a little under populated compared to other ones that we have visited. On site cafe pretty standard for museum fare.

4  Thank MOBX
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Been to Museum of Life + Science? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing