Whether it’s because of all the universities in the area or it’s just a coincidence, Raleigh is an excellent location for scientists and science lovers. The city is full of museums and science centers. If you’re in the area, put these five attractions on your list.
Nature Exploration Center
Use Hotel Planner to book a room in one of the downtown Raleigh hotels to make it easy to visit the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences Nature Exploration Center. Admission is free to the museum although donations are gladly accepted. Visitors most enjoy the Living Conservatory and the Discovery Room. The Living Conservatory is filled with butterflies, turtles, snakes, a two-toed sloth, and tropical plants.
The Discovery Room allows visitors to touch fossils, watch a beehive up close, and smell tropical plants. All your senses are incorporated into this neat experience. The Exploration Center is perfect for kids and adults and is open every day of the week with a few exceptions throughout the year.
Prairie Ridge Ecostation
Science-lovers will enjoy visiting the Prairie Ridge Ecostation, which is part of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. During your visit, you can walk the mile-long trails, bird watch, learn about the various plants and animals in the facility, or volunteer to assist at the Ecostation. It is open every day of the week, and admission is free. Just make sure you leave all plants, animals, and minerals as you found them.
Museum of Life and Science
Located about 35 minutes from Raleigh by car, you’ll be in awe at the 84 acres of this interactive museum. The Museum of Life and Science has over 60 species of animals. Exhibits include a dinosaur trail, where you can dig for fossils and take a selfie with a Parasaurolophus, and the lab where you can put on some safety goggles and complete hands-on experiments.
Check out the Carolina Wildlife exhibits and see striped skunks, alligators, and muskrats or take a 10-minute ride on Ellerbe Creek Railway with two laps around the nature park. Admission is $18 for general admission and $13 for kids ages 3 to 12. The train ride is an added $5 per person.
Walnut Creek Wetland Center
Opened in 2009, this 58-acre wetland center encourages human interaction with nature while preserving the clean water and a safe habitat for all creatures. You can enjoy wildlife watching during your visit and see butterflies, hummingbirds, waterfowl, and reptiles. The park has trails to walk, hike, or ride your bike. The park is also equipped with a bike repair station and a rest stop with a picnic area, so don’t forget to bring a lunch to enjoy the outdoors. This center is open to the public and is free of charge.
If you love animals, plants, outer space, or all of the above, there’s a museum or science center in Raleigh for you to enjoy. You can go by yourself or take the family to enjoy and experience the vibrant science community in Raleigh.