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North Carolina Science Museums

Science is fun for the whole family at North Carolina’s educational centers – whether your interest is ocean life or physics, there is something here for you. The Greensboro Science Center is a major attraction in town and highly recommended by visitors. You’ll find a 12-acre zoo, an aquarium, a museum full of hands-on exhibits, and a theater with a four-story screen.

In Hickory, the Catawba Science Center is the place to go to see sharks, stingrays, and other sea life you could encounter along North Carolina’s shoreline. There is also a fascinating display of Amazonian animals, including fish, frogs, snakes, turtles, and crabs. Check out the iridescent poison dart frogs!

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh has exhibits on the state’s geology, animals, and plants, plus a huge collection of fossils. Kids love the 3D films and live-animal programs and there are special events going on almost every day.

Headed to Rocky Mount? Check out the Imperial Center for the Arts and Sciences. There is a planetarium, a full calendar of special programs, and special exhibits on regional wildlife – you can compare alligator skulls, search for sea urchins, and explore a sea turtle nest.

Schiele Museum of Natural History

Make the most of your next visit to North Carolina with the whole family. While there are certainly a number of impressive ways to experience the Tar Heel State – Civil War sites, anyone? – few can match the edifying tone you'll find at the Schiele Museum of Natural History.

Head for the southwestern are of the Piedmont region and set up shop in the charming city of Gastonia. You can find the Schiele Museum southeast of downtown, along Garrison Boulevard, and next to the Grier Middle School. Open each day of the week, the Schiele Museum offers a blend of education with hands-on fun – don't miss the James H. Lynn Planetarium Science Theater.

Children’s Museum of Winston-Salem

Located in Winston-Salem in North Carolina’s Piedmont region, the Children’s Museum of Winston-Salem is a delightful destination for any and all Piedmont region visitors. Take the entire family and enjoy over 10 exhibits, including Climbing Lobby, Amazing Library, the Enchanted Forest, and much more.

The museum is two stories of fun, featuring plenty to do and see. Contact the Children’s Museum of Winston-Salem for one-of-a-kind parties, rentals, and private get-togethers.

Museum of Life & Science

Plan your next visit to Durham. The Museum of Life and Science offers a wealth of hands-on exploratory exhibits that make learning about science fun. The indoor museum exhibits include Contraptions, Magic Wings Butterfly House, Bayer CropScience Insectarium and SoundSpace: Hear Motion. Step outside to explore the Wetlands, Farmyard, Catch the Wind and Dinosaur Trail exhibits.

The Daily programs at the museum include Feeding Frenzies, Butterfly Releases, Meet the Keeper, and Experiments in the Lab. Best Western hotels in Raleigh, offer convenient lodging choices while in the Raleigh-Durham area. Have fun on your journey through the North Carolina coastal region.

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

The Capital City of Raleigh is home to the oldest museum in the state. The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences was established in 1879 from early geological and agricultural collections. Throughout the years, this incredible museum has grown to become the largest of its kind in the southeastern United States.

While in the Piedmont Triangle region, be among the 700,000 annual visitors to experience all the museum has to offer. Schedule plenty of time to explore the museum's four floors of exhibits, including live animals, live programs, hands-on activities and educational films, while learning about the natural world.

Exhibits include, the "North Carolina's Natural Treasures," "Coastal North Carolina," "Mountains to the Sea," "Nature's Explorers," and the "Prehistoric North Carolina." The Arthropod Zoo, Living Conservatory, Naturalist Center and Nature Research Center are also popular museum features.

Discovery Place

Located in Charlotte, Discovery Place is an outstanding museum dedicated to showcasing science and technology in the Piedmont Region. The museum features a wealth of informative exhibits and displays, perhaps none more entertaining than the on-site IMAX Dome Theatre, playing educational films and dazzling documentaries.

Other exhibits at Discovery Place include Fantastic Frogs, Alien Worlds and Androids, Dinosaurs in Motion, and more. The museum also hosts frequent fun-filled events and educational workshops.

Greensboro Children's Museum

Spend your days exploring North Carolina wrapped up in edifying adventures. Head for the Piedmont region and enjoy a stay in Greensboro – it makes for quick and easy trips to the always fun and always educational Greensboro Children's Museum. You can find this impressive children's museum near the heart of downtown, along Church Street and Lindsay Street.

The Greensboro Children's Museum seeks to engage and educate families with exceptional, hands-on learning experiences. Easily spend a full day exploring this family-first attraction – don't miss the Gizmos & Gadgets area, Our Town Theater, where the kids can join in on live staged productions, and the Train Depot is especially great for the little tykes.

Catawba Science Center

Set along the Salt Block, the Catawba Science Center is located in downtown Hickory in the Piedmont Region of western North Carolina. Closed on Mondays, the CSC features traveling and permanent exhibits, and the Millholland Planetarium.

Permanent exhibits include the Saltwater Gallery, Hall of Astronomy, Energy Avenue, Inventor's Workshop, and many more. The 30-foot digital dome of the Catawba Science Center planetarium offers features shows like Into the "Deep," "Secret of the Cardboard Rocket," and simply "Astronaut."

Colburn Earth Science Museum

Preserving the legacy of Asheville's mineral resources, this North Carolina Mountains attraction offers general tours, hundreds of exhibitions, school programs, special events, a gift shop, and more.

Explore more than 4,500 mineral specimens at the Hall of Minerals, educate yourself on the history of mining in North Carolina, see the museum's Gemstone Collection, and check out the developing fossil exhibit. The museum is open from Tuesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Morehead Planetarium & Science Center

Blow your mind with science in Chapel Hill. The Morehead Planetarium & Science Center, opened in 1949, on the Chapel Hill campus of the University of North Carolina. It was used by the Gemini and Apollo program astronauts to train in celestial navigation. It remains one of the largest and oldest planetariums in America. The planetarium features a fulldome measuring 68 feet in diameter and 44 feet tall, a Zeiss Model VI Star Projector and seats for 240 people. Several "Live" star shows and multimedia shows are available at the Planetarium.

The center features interactive exhibits including, Zoom In: Science at the Extremes and Bring the Universe to Light. The Science Stage features Science LIVE!, educator-led programs. The observation decks, art galleries, gardens and visitor center round out a visit. The North Carolina Botanical Gardens and Ackland Art Museum are also popular attractions in Chapel Hill. Visit from nearby Cary near Chapel Hill in the coastal region of North Carolina.


Located in North Carolina’s Piedmont region, SciWorks is a science museum in Winston-Salem primarily dedicated to the education of families and children. The museum is comprised of a 30,000 square foot museum with a 15-acre environmental park and planetarium.

Exhibits at SciWorks include extensive displays like the BioWorks exhibit, which showcases wildlife habitats and exotic animals. Don’t miss the environmental park, featuring a variety of animals and wildlife as well.

Khan Planetarium

Located on the ECSU campus in Elizabeth City on the North Carolina coast, the Khan Planetarium offers education and exhibits on the solar system and the myriad galaxies and starts beyond.

Port Discover

A place where kids can indulge the scientists in them, Port Discover in Elizabeth City offers plenty of opportunities for kids to work experiments, create, or explore. They can even pet live animals, check out aquariums, and experience a flight simulator.

It is open to the public Tuesday-Friday afternoons from 1-5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free, but of course they happily accept donations from North Carolina coast visitors.