Raleigh, NC

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North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh City, NC is a natural and cultural history museum that offers visitors an opportunity to explore the whole world, from our own backyard to distant galaxies. When it opened in 2006, this was the first major museum in the United States built with sustainability as its guiding principle - using less energy and water and generating fewer greenhouse gases. Today, NCMNS has become recognized nationally for its leadership on environmental stewardship, including green building practices and sustainable living education programs for all ages.


The museum is also home to the Nature Research Center, which offers visitors an unparalleled opportunity to explore and understand our natural world through interactive exhibits, live animal habitats, and scientific research laboratories. The center has been designated as a Smithsonian Institution Affiliate Museum, making it one of only 20 museums nationwide to share resources with this prestigious organization.


The museum also features permanent exhibits on North Carolina's natural history, as well as changing exhibitions on a variety of scientific and cultural topics. Recent exhibits have explored the human body, ancient Greece and Rome, climate change, and China's Terracotta Warriors.


There are four floors for the Nature Exploration Center for all ages. The first floor has the Earth's Treasures Gallery which showcases minerals, rocks and fossils from North Carolina and around the world. There is also an exhibit on diamonds and gemstones.


The second floor features the Life of a Forest gallery with live animals from North Carolina forests, including a black bear, river otters, bobcats, and flying squirrels.


The third floor has the Our Changing Planet gallery which looks at climate change and its impact on the planet. The fourth floor is home to the Technology Gallery with exhibits on robotics, gaming, nanotechnology, and more.


The Nature Research Center occupies most of the fifth floor. It includes interactive exhibits on Earth and space science, biodiversity, energy and the environment, human health and more. There is also a high-definition planetarium with daily shows.


The Nature Research Center also includes laboratories where scientists study everything from climate change to Zika virus. The center offers public tours of its research facilities on select days each month.


The museum offers a variety of events for all ages, including nature walks, family festivals, science nights, and more. You can find a calendar of events on the museum's website.


The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is definitely worth a visit if you're ever in Raleigh! It has something for everyone - exhibits on natural history, changing exhibitions on science and culture, research labs with scientists studying climate change to Zika virus, events for all ages.


The museum is open every day from nine in the morning until five in the evening, with extended hours on Thursday evenings until eight. There is an admission fee for the museum, but free with a state-issued North Carolina identification card or on first Saturdays of every month.

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