comScore

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

#2 in Best Things To Do in Raleigh

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences picture in Raleigh
Courtesy North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

Key Info

Details

  • Museums Type
  • Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
4.8
Overall
US NEWS LOGO

Scorecard

  • Value
    5.0
  • Facilities
    5.0
  • Atmosphere
    5.0

Read about how we rank Things to Do.

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is Raleigh's most popular attraction for several reasons: it's free, its cafe features a menu of tasty and reasonably priced items and it contains plentiful exhibits that recent visitors say interest travelers of all ages. The museum teaches visitors about North Carolina through exhibits like "Coastal North Carolina," which features everything from whale skeletons to seahorse bioramas and the "Living Conservatory," which flutters with butterflies. There is also a wing of the museum dedicated to nature research, and this is where visitors can embrace their inner scientist in "Investigate Labs" or simply watch scientists work in the "Windows on Research" areas. 

Recent visitors "ooh" and "ahh" over the diverse displays and the free admission. One TripAdvisor user was also quite impressed by the museum staff: "I stopped in to ask for someone to answer some questions about preying mantis', these 2 ladies answered my questions and then some."

There is no fee for general admission to the museum, though there is a small charge for its special exhibits and 3-D movies. The hours of operation for the Nature Exploration Center (in the main building) are as follows: Monday through Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. On the first Friday of each month, the main building is open for extended hours until 9 p.m. On Sundays, the museum is open from noon until 5 p.m. The adjoining Nature Research Center has the same hours of operation, except on Thursdays, when it's open until 9 p.m. You'll find the building in the heart of downtown Raleigh, adjacent to the North Carolina State Capitol building. For more information, visit the website for the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.

Powered by Viator
Powered by Viator

Hotels Nearby

  • Thing to Do
  • Hotel
Days Inn Raleigh Downtown

Days Inn Raleigh Downtown ...

  • 0.2 Miles Away
  • 2.0-star Hotel Class
Holiday Inn Raleigh Downtown - Capital

Holiday Inn Raleigh Downtown - Capital ...

  • 0.3 Miles Away
  • 3.0-star Hotel Class
Sheraton Raleigh Hotel

Sheraton Raleigh Hotel ...

  • 0.5 Miles Away
  • 3.5-star Hotel Class
See all hotels in Raleigh »

More Best Things to Do in Raleigh

Neuse River Trail picture in Raleigh
Hiking, Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Sports Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences picture in Raleigh
Museums Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
Pullen Park picture in Raleigh
Parks and Gardens Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
North Carolina Museum of Art picture in Raleigh
Museums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
William B. Umstead State Park  picture in Raleigh
Parks and Gardens, Recreation Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
North Carolina Museum of History picture in Raleigh
Museums, Tours Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Marbles Kids Museum picture in Raleigh
Museums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
City Market picture in Raleigh
Shopping, Sightseeing, Neighborhood/Area Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
North Carolina State Capitol picture in Raleigh
Monuments and Memorials, Sightseeing Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
 Historic Yates Mill County Park picture in Raleigh
Parks and Gardens Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
|

#1 Neuse River Trail The Neuse River Trail (also known as the Raleigh Greenway) is a portion of a nearly 28-mile path that stretches from the Falls Lake Dam in Wake Forest, North Carolina ... Read more » Nathania Johnson / Flickr

#2 North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is Raleigh's most popular attraction for several reasons: it's free, its cafe features a menu of tasty and reasonably priced items ... Read more » Courtesy North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

#3 Pullen Park Pullen Park, which sits beside North Carolina State University, has a number of superlatives to its name. Not only is it the state's first public park, it's also ... Read more » ying / Shutterstock

#4 North Carolina Museum of Art The North Carolina Museum of Art's gleaming white galleries, which hang with paintings like Andrew Wyeth's "Winter 1946" and "The Holy Family with St. Anne" by Peter Paul ... Read more » Courtesy North Carolina Museum of Art

#5 William B. Umstead State Park In the between the cities of Raleigh, Cary and Durham is the William B. Umstead State Park and its 5,579 acres of wooded trails and picturesque lakes. You can ... Read more » Nathania Johnson / Flickr

#6 North Carolina Museum of History The North Carolina Museum of History is exactly what its name suggests — a museum about North Carolina's history. Exhibits include the 20,000-square-foot permanent "Story of North Carolina," which ... Read more » Courtesy North Carolina Museum of History

#7 Marbles Kids Museum You might wonder where this children's museum got its name, and the answer is two-fold. One, because the museum founders encourage kids to "use their marbles" (or brains) while ... Read more » Courtesy Marbles Kids Museum

#8 City Market Raleigh's City Market, which opened more than a century ago, is an ensemble of shops and boutiques, bars and restaurants, and it's a nice place to meander when ... Read more » Courtesy Historic City Market

#9 North Carolina State Capitol The North Carolina State Capitol, which was completed in 1840, is the center of activity for North Carolina state government. It also contains a host of curiosities — like its Greek ... Read more » Courtesy American Spirit

#10 Historic Yates Mill County Park The 174-acre Historic Yates Mill County Park is the last remaining water-powered gristmill in Wake County. It's also a nice place to stretch your legs: There are several miles ... Read more » CathyRL / Shutterstock

Neuse River Trail picture in Raleigh
North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences picture in Raleigh
Pullen Park picture in Raleigh
North Carolina Museum of Art picture in Raleigh
William B. Umstead State Park  picture in Raleigh
North Carolina Museum of History picture in Raleigh
Marbles Kids Museum picture in Raleigh
City Market picture in Raleigh
North Carolina State Capitol picture in Raleigh
 Historic Yates Mill County Park picture in Raleigh
Neuse River Trail picture in Raleigh
North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences picture in Raleigh
Pullen Park picture in Raleigh
North Carolina Museum of Art picture in Raleigh
William B. Umstead State Park  picture in Raleigh
North Carolina Museum of History picture in Raleigh
Marbles Kids Museum picture in Raleigh
City Market picture in Raleigh
North Carolina State Capitol picture in Raleigh
 Historic Yates Mill County Park picture in Raleigh

The Neuse River Trail is one way to get the lay of land in Raleigh. The trail winds along the Neuse River (even crossing over it a time or two) and also passes through wetlands and rolling pastures.  Nathania Johnson / Flickr

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences lures visitors to its doors with its interactive exhibits and its knowledgeable staff. Its free admission doesn't hurt either.  Courtesy North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

The pristinely landscaped Pullen Park also contains an old turn-of-the-century Gustave A. Dentzel carousel and other amusement park gems. ying / Shutterstock

The permanent collection at the North Carolina Museum of Art spans the globe and the ages, from Ancient Greece and Rome to 20th century America. The traveling exhibits are impressive as well. For instance, pieces by Rembrandt and Vermeer have been featured in the past.  Courtesy North Carolina Museum of Art

Umstead State Park is home to more than 5,000 acres of flora and fauna, and it's a popular place for locals to shake the city from their shoulders with a run, hike or bike ride. Nathania Johnson / Flickr

This museum, which tells the story of the state's past, is an affiliate of Smithsonian and contains exhibits that range from the Civil War to sports to agriculture. Courtesy North Carolina Museum of History

The Marbles Kids Museum contains much more than just marbles — though it does feature more than 1 million of them. It also contains an IMAX theater and interactive exhibits like "Around Town," which allows children to pretend they're farmers, firefighters, veterinarians and more.  Courtesy Marbles Kids Museum

City Market is a fun place to meander if you have an hour or so to kill. You'll find shops, art galleries and restaurants lining the streets of the historic market, which dates back to 1914. Courtesy Historic City Market

The Greek Revival architecture of the North Carolina State Capitol, which was completed in 1840, skirted the ravages of the Civil War. Visitors say a guided tour is the best way to get the Capitol's interesting backstory.  Courtesy American Spirit

The Historic Yates Mill County Park is a scenic way to spend a few hours hiking a trail or two, or casting a fishing line. CathyRL / Shutterstock

×

See full list of Best Things to Do in Raleigh »

Explore More of Raleigh

Find the Best Price

Enter your check in and check out dates to find the best price

PriceFinder powered by TripAdvisor Primary Logo