North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

nc museum natural science

The state of North Carolina has so much history to share with its citizens and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is no exception.  Being the largest natural history museum in the Southeast, the museum has a very large exhibit of dinosaurs, whales skeletons, live animals and even some accessible scientists are there to answer questions you might have.

Located in Raleigh, it’s the state’s oldest museum and receives an annual visitation of 1.2 million people.  There are a total of 5 campuses and with over 1.7 million artifacts, there are plenty of things to learn about and see.

How old is the NC Museum of Natural Sciences

The museum was first created over 140 years ago in 1879 but was known back then as the North Carolina State Museum.  There were two state owned entities that combined to form the museum, but as the collection of artifacts kept growing and growing, the museum had to find another home to house everything.  They eventually moved in 1887 to a former hotel across the street from the capitol building.  In 1924, the building was entirely repurposed to something much more suitable for the museum and shortly thereafter was renamed to the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.

How much is the science museum in Raleigh?

There is no general admission fee to enter the museum, however, there is a very small fee for their special exhibits and 3-D movies.

They have 5 locations and their hours of operation are listed below:

Downtown Raleigh: Tues-Sun: 10:00am to 5:00pm

Prairie Ridge: Tues-Sun: 10:00am to 5:00pm

Whiteville: Tues-Sun: 10:00am to 5:00pm

Greenville: Tues-Sun: 10:00am to 5:00pm

Contentnea Creek: Sat: 10:00am to 2:00pm

Which exhibits do they have?

exhibit at museum natural science

The museum has three different types of exhibits: special exhibits, permanent exhibits and virtual tours.

Special exhibits:

To see which special exhibitions they currently have playing now, click here.  As of the time of this writing they have the Exquisite Creatures exhibition which has artist Christopher Marley artistically explain why humans feel the need to connect with mother nature and the world surrounding us.

Admission – if you’re a member then admission to this exhibition is free, if not, pricing is as below:

Adults: $10

Senior/Student/Military: $8

Children ages 3-12: $6

Children 2 and younger: free

Groups of 10 or more: $5/person

Permanent exhibits:

There are too many to mention, however, just a few of the exhibits are: Coastal North Carolina Overlook where you can come face-to-face with the skeleton of a Blue Whale; Underground North Carolina where it’s the only state where the four major gemstones have been uncovered; Prehistoric North Carolina where you can go back in time and see how ancient dinosaurs lived on Earth;  Exploring the Deep Sea where you can see schools of squid, crabs and coral.  There are many others to see as well.

Admission is free

Virtual tours:

On your very own computer you can take virtual tours of many exhibits such as the Snakes of NC, Arthropod Zoo, Terror of the South, and the Mountain Cove tour.  For a list of even more tours, you can access them on the museum’s virtual tours page.


From the Durham area:

Merge onto the NC-147 S/Durham Feeway for approximately 6.5 miles

Take exit 5A to merge onto I-40 E toward RDU Airport and continue straight for 9.6 miles

Exit 289 for Wade Avenue toward I-440/US-1N for 1.0 miles

Continue on Wade Avenue for 2.2 miles

Keep left to continue onto Wade Ave for 3.1 miles

Turn right onto NC-50 S and go straight for 1.0 miles

Use the left 2 lanes to turn left onto W Jones St and your destination will be on your right hand side


From the Greenville area:

Take E 10th St to John P East Memorial Hwy and continue straight for 0.8 miles

Continue straight onto US-264 W for 32.4 miles

This turns into I-795 N/US-264 W and continue straight for 22.7 miles

Merge onto US-264 W/US-64 W toward Raleigh and take the road for 7.1 miles

Road merges with I-87/US-264W and continue straight for 10.3 miles

Take exit 3 to merge onto I-440 W toward US-1/Wake Forest

Exit 13A to merge onto New Bern Ave toward Downtown and travel for 2.6 miles

Continue onto E Edenton St for 1.1 miles


From the offices of Raleigh Well Drilling Pros:

Head NW toward Wake Forest Rd

Turn right and continue straight for 0.1 miles then turn right onto New Hope Church Rd for 0.7 miles

Turn right onto Atlantic Ave and continue straight for 2.7 miles

Merges into Wake Forest Rd for 0.9 miles

Wake Forest Rd slowly becomes Delway St

Turn slight left toward N Blount St for 0.7 miles

Turn right onto E Edenton St and you’ll arrive at 11 W Jones St, Raleigh NC 27601