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North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
Ranked #1 of 150 things to do in Raleigh
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: The Southeast's largest natural history museum features dinosaurs, whale skeletons, live animals, walk-through dioramas, special exhibits, hands-on science education and accessible scientists. IMLS National Medal Finalist, 2014.
Raleigh, North Carolina
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed August 5, 2013

this is the kind of place that they dont do diffrernt every time you go because it never changes i went with cousins and i was drending takeing them ther because once is ebough twice or more it gets boring

Visited July 2013
Thank Ainsley N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Carrboro, North Carolina, United States
Level 5 Contributor
37 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
“Leave Time to See the Nature Research Center!”
Reviewed August 5, 2013

The Museum of Natural Sciences opened a new wing back in April 2012, and this was my first chance to see it.

In the older part of the museum, you can learn about North Carolina's climate, flora and fauna, but the exhibits are a bit older and some of them seem a bit tired. If you want to show your children (or learn for yourself) about current science, definitely visit the Nature Research Center. Here, the exhibits showcase research being done at area universities and institutes. There are plenty of interactive parts for people of all ages. In some of the labs, you can go in and do little hands-on experiments. Others use computer visualizations. For example, in one visualization, you experiment with measures to address climate change and see which actions have the biggest impact on reducing carbon emissions. In another, you can practice predicting the weather, using a simulation and information about meteorology.

This wing makes this the best science museum I've been to--so much more up-to-date and interactive than others I've visited. If you want to see scientists in action, a weekday would be best. We visited on a Sunday and many of the research labs were closed. I'd definitely go back another day to observe!

As others have pointed out, the best part is that this museum is completely free, with free parking right next door.

Visited August 2013
Thank Jordynn J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Frisco, TX
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Great museum! Super friendly staff...”
Reviewed August 4, 2013

This is a gem in downtown Raleigh. It is a free admission museum with the exception of 3D movies yo can pay to see. It covers North Carolina's geographical areas, has live insects, snakes, frogs, fish. All housed in eye catching exhibits. You can attend a brief lecture and touch some interesting animals, and in their newer second building, see numerous specimens up close. Their butterfly area is great, and a Three toed Sloth is in residence there also. We enjoyed their cafe which sells wraps, both with meat or vegetarian.

Visited August 2013
Thank EZ4UTC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
North Carolina
Level 6 Contributor
147 reviews
64 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 117 helpful votes
“A bit on the blah side for a science museum”
Reviewed August 4, 2013

This museum, while very attractive, doesn't have very many exhibits. The new addition is very nice but the museum overall seems to be lacking in displays. I would say if you had young children to amuse it would be great for them but for adults it's just ok.

Visited May 2013
Thank goingbeachy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
Level 4 Contributor
25 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Fun and Free!”
Reviewed August 2, 2013

You just can't beat free! I always start at the top with the butterfly house and work my way down the 4 floors. We love the animals and the dinosaurs best! Don't miss the ocean exhibit tucked away on the first floor. Make sure to stop in the gift shop on your way out, they have something for everyone.

Visited November 2012
Thank Lindsey B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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