11 West Jones Street, Raleigh 27601

Hours: Monday to Saturday 9am -5pm, Sunday: 12 – 5pm.

The NC Museum of Natural Sciences was founded in 1887 by decree of the NC General Assembly to “illustrate the…natural history of the state” It has been doing just that for 130 years, but the institution became a cutting-edge resource for all things science since opening its Nature Research Center in 2012.

The museum fulfills its mission to “illuminate the interdependence of nature and humanity” through an innovative and inclusive approach that blends traditional exhibits with interactive, hands-on participation for visitors. It also provides tools and collaborative opportunities for scientific research and educators.

Spanning two city blocks with seven floors of exhibit spaces, NCMNS is the largest natural history museum in the Southeast. Ongoing exhibits range from microbes to dinosaurs and from weather on earth to space exploration. Traveling exhibitions change every three to six months. The current Race: Are We So Different? explores “race through the lens of science, history, and personal experiences to promote a better understanding of human variation.”

The museum also hosts lots of events throughout the year from its Science Cafés and investigative field trips to science labs and community favorites like Astronomy Days and Bugfest.

On-site research staff includes specialists in a range of biological, paleontological, geological and astronomical fields; and patrons of all ages can learn through natural history programs, workshops and trips.

The museum was awarded a National Medal for Museum and Library Service in 2014. This award is the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries for service to the community. Three years later, it continues to earn the distinction.