Things to Do in Raleigh: North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is the perfect activity for Raleigh, North Carolina residents of all ages. It’s the largest natural science museum in the Southeastern U.S. and the oldest established museum in North Carolina. Dedicated to research, displaying living collections and exhibitions, community engagement, and lifelong education, the museum has several accreditations and awards.

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences Raleigh NC


The NC Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh houses permanent exhibitions in its Nature Exploration Center and Nature Research Center. The Nature Exploration Center is all about the history of North Carolina’s natural habitats. You can learn about the unique biodiversity native to the region and see one of the biggest collections of whale skeletons on display in the U.S. There are even more sections about mountainous habitats, the tropics, prehistoric North Carolina, as well as a rainforest conservatory and arthropod zoo.

The Nature Research Center gives even more info about natural sciences in North Carolina, focusing on scientific methods, tools, and techniques. You can explore the deep sea, learn how researchers predict weather patterns, watch veterinary experts give the museum’s animals a checkup, or become a scientist yourself in one of the hands-on laboratories.

The Nature Exploration Center and Nature Science Center are only the permanent exhibitions at the museum – don’t forget to check out the featured collections as well!


As Raleigh’s hub of natural sciences, the museum also houses many animals. At the Arthropod Zoo, you can discover living arachnids, crustaceans, millipedes, centipedes, and insects that originate from all over the world. If bugs aren’t your thing, then you can check out the nine freshwater and five saltwater exhibits at the Museum to see fish and invertebrates.

In addition to bugs and fish, you can spot over 50 species of live reptiles and amphibians at the Museum of Natural Sciences. If you want to transport yourself to a tropical rainforest, you can also stop by the living conservatory. A tropical dry rainforest in Central America has been recreated in the museum, with several plant and animal species living inside.

Animal-lovers are sure to feel at home at Raleigh’s NC Museum of Natural Sciences!

Educational Programs and Events

As more than just a museum, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is also committed to research and education. The museum sponsors several events, workshops, and programs open to the public to teach people about biodiversity in North Carolina. It’s also possible to rent event space at the museum for birthday parties or other gatherings.

Some of the museum’s most popular events are screenings of 3D movies. They show films about natural habitats and the animals that exist in them. For another immersive theatre experience, you can also visit the museum’s Secu Daily Planet, which shows detailed representations of Earth’s nature.

A visit to the Raleigh North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is a no-brainer. With so much to discover at this premier research museum, you could easily spend an entire day (or more!) looking around at one of the best places in Raleigh!