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CHILDREN'S MUSEUMS, ART MUSEUMS, SCIENCE MUSEUMS
Chapel Hill - Durham - Raleigh, NC


 

CHillKids.com featured FAMILY OUTING:


Dinosaurs & Astronauts!!!
(and butterflies, and farmyard animals, and wolves and lemurs and rockets, and trains, and sail boats & water fun and so much more at the Museum of Life + Science . . . )

 

Museums and Art Galleries
North Carolina Children's Science & Discovery Museums
 
Museum of Life + Science
433 Murray Avenue, Durham, North Carolina 27704.  Map and directions.
(919) 220-5429.

The Museum of Life and Science in Durham is a wonderful place for children and families and an amazing treasure that everyone will enjoy.  The Museum features both outdoor and indoor fun, including a large playground area (Loblolly Park), train ride (Ellerbee Creek Railway), farmyard animals, Carolina wildlife nature park, water features including a FUN remote-control sailboat outdoor plaza, aerospace, geology, discovery rooms, small science, and the Magic Wings Butterfly House, a glass-enclosed tropical garden with butterflies from Asia, Africa, and Central and South America.


Click for Panoramic View

The Remote-controlled Sailboats are always a favorite activity at the Museum. (It seems like kids could while away the whole day adjusting the sails and racing one another at the remote control stations - each located under sunshade umbrellas.) Click on the photo above to see a panoramic view of the Museum of Life + Science sail boats and remote control stands.


Museum of Life + Science Wetland Exhibit Deck

Click here to see more thumbnail images of the wonderful indoor and outdoor activities at the Museum of Life + Science and plan your next visit!

From the Museum of Life and Science website: "Situated on 84-acres, the Museum is home to one of the largest butterfly conservatories in the southeast, more than sixty species of live animals, as well as beautifully landscaped outdoor exhibits which are save havens for rescued black bears, endangered red wolves and exotic lemurs. Other visitor favorites include the 5000 square foot remote controlled sailboat pond, the Ellerbee Creek Railway, Dinosaur Trail and the Fossil Dig Site and a lab where visitors can participate in a variety of hands-on experiments to discover the science behind health."

The Museum also features special exhibits throughout the year.  Check the Museum of Life + Science website for special exhibits and events.

Albertosaurus on the Musuem of Life + Science Dino Trail

Enlarge view

Admission charge; free for ages under 3.  Train rides require separate tickets - (purchase your train tickets when you arrive at the Museum; some time slots do sell out.)
Museum of Life + Science Hours
(As of April 2011:)
Monday-Saturday: 10am - 5pm (Members admitted at 9am)
Sunday: Noon - 5pm

The Museum is CLOSED on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day.

Click here for current Museum of Life + Science Days of Operation and Ticket & Membership information.

Museum of Life + Science Highlights:

* The much-anticipated, amazing Dinosaur Trail! is now open at the Museum of Life + Science! 

* Don't miss the cool soundSpace exhibit!  The soundSpace exhibit is an interactive music installation where movement is transformed into sound as people dance, walk, sway, and jump to the beat on a grid of multi-color squares on the floor.  As you move from one space to the next, a different musical percussion instrument and beat plays.

* Become the Captain of your own sail boat as you steer your boat and harness the wind's power to take your boat where you want it to go, skimming across the water to the other side and back again.  Kids and adults alike are captivated by this wonderful exhibit.  It would be easy to stay and play there all day long!  (But there are too many other wonderful things to do at the Museum of Life & Science to stop there.)

* Children enjoy visiting the Museum's farm yard animals after playing, jumping and running in the playground, and before heading on to the Butterfly House or the other outdoor exhibits.

* The Museum's Explore the Wild offers a lovely walk over wetlands on a beautiful boardwalk/deck path, and from there the path will lead you to the lemurs, bears, foxes and other wildlife at the Museum.


Explore the Wild at the Museum of Life + Science

* The Magic Wings Butterfly House is a magical, wonderful world filled with beautiful butterflies and exotic plants, running streams, and exotic birds.  Butterflies sometimes take a rest on your shoulder or your finger, and you can meander down the pathway to see butterflies emerging from their cocoons (behind a glass-fronted case.)  On the other side of the Butterfly House there is an amazing exhibit featuring all sorts of BUGS; you can zoom in to view a caterpillar crunching on a leaf and magnify the sound of the crunching too, so that you are watching the tiny caterpillar crunching on a leaf right in front of you, and you can also view the zoom video camera image of the caterpillar crunching on the video screen that you control, while listening to the caterpillar munching loudly on a leaf.  How fun!  (Check out this Museum of Life + Science "MunchCam" link to see a munching caterpillar and lots of other munching critters in action at the Museum. Our kids LOVED watching all of the Museum critters munching!).

Visit the Museum of Life + Science online at:

www.lifeandscience.org

www.ncmls.org

 

Kidzu Children's Museum,  123 W. Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27514.
(919) 933-1455

Founded in 2006 and located in downtown Chapel Hill, NC, Kidzu Children's Museum is an interactive museum, offering exceptional hands-on exhibits and weekly programs for young children (0-8 years) and families.  During the museum's first two years of operation, Kidzu featured fun & hands-on educational traveling exhibits rented from other children's museums. In the Summer of 2008, Kidzu unveiled its first original exhibit "KidZoom: The Power of Creativity" celebrating the local community's creativity. Kidzu also provides field trips for schools, preschools and child care centers and other groups and is a great location for birthday parties.

123 West Franklin Street in University Square now serves as Kidzu's location until the future (approx. 2015), much larger Kidzu facility will be built atop Wallace Plaza. Kidzu's 123 West location offers great interactive exhibit areas along with lots of fun and educational programming .

See Kidzu's Website for Museum Hours and to learn more about this wonderful children's museum located in the heart of Chapel Hill, NC.

 

(Monthly) 2nd Friday Art Walk in Chapel Hill and Carrboro
Every second Friday from 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm visit Chapel Hill and Carrboro art galleries and art display locations.  Enjoy live music and other art-related entertainment as you view a large variety of artwork; admission is free.
See www.2ndfridayartwalk.com for more details.

 

Ackland Art Museum
South Columbia and Fra
nklin Streets, UNC-Chapel Hill Campus.
(919) 966-5737

www.ackland.org
The Ackland Art Museum's permanent collection of over 15,000 objects includes the art of Asia, Africa, Europe and America, with works ranging from ancient times to the 21st century, including the works by masters such as Degas, Rubens and Pissaro.  In addition to its permanent collection and featured exhibitions, the Ackland Art Museum offers specialized programs for school-aged children grades K-12.  Hours: Wed. - Sat. 10 am - 5 pm, Sun. 1-5 pm.

Special Exhibit at the Ackland Art Museum through July 18:  "Converse: Big Words Mysterious Characters."

 

Carrboro ArtsCenter Gallery
300-G East Main St., Carrboro.
(919) 929-2787.
www.artscenterlive.org
Located in the center of the ArtsCenter building, the Gallery features the work of local and regional artists.  Monthly exhibits; free admission; purchase prices may be obtained by inquiring at the box office.

 

Chapel Hill Museum
523 E. Franklin St., Chapel Hill
(919) 967-1400.
www.chapelhillmuseum.org
Features interactive and educational exhibits focusing on Chapel Hill's history.
Wed-Sat. 10 am - 4 pm.  Sun. 1-4 pm. 

 

Chatham County Courthouse (ca. 1881 ) and Historical Museum
12 E St., Pittsboro, NC 27312.
(919) 542-3240.
www.chathamhistory.org/museum.html  Hours:  Wednesdays, 12-3pm, closed holidays.  A 1907 monument to the Confederate soldier stands guard outside the courthouse; the museum is located inside the courthouse.  Current exhibit includes artifacts from the now-closed Pittsboro silk mill, including a sample book of labels from famous manufacturers that were made at Chatham Mills.  Permanent collection includes handmade bricks from the former store and post office at St. Lawrence, an iron mortar and pestle used by Dr. Hanner, a letter written by Governor Charles Manly, a set of letters written by members of the Hadley family during the Civil War and another set sent from Indiana in the 1840s, a bowler hat owned by Judge Walter Siler, tapes from concerts given for the Pittsboro Arts Council, bound volumes of several early years of the Chatham Record, and an original copy of the Ramsey 1870 map of Chatham County.  Also housed in the museum are books from the John London collection and photographs used in The Architectural Heritage of Chatham County, North Carolina.  26-volume set of State and Colonial Records is also available for researc; the index volumes are in the Pittsboro Memorial Library, two blocks away, where most of the research tools for genealogical investigation are kept. Cemetery and gravesite data are available on the museum computer, and correspondence related to Chatham families can be accessed through a cross-indexed file of inquiries. All publications of the Chatham County Historical Association are available for sale.

 

Marbles Museum (fka Exploris), 201 E. Hargett St., Raleigh, NC. www.marbleskidsmuseum.org
(919) 834-4040.

Features hands-on exhibits, global-themed activities and events, and an IMAX theater.  IMAX big screen movies (some examples of past offerings are "The Polar Express," "Space Station 3D," "Amazing Caves," and "Lewis and Clark"), exhibits, activities, summer camps and more.  As described on its website, "Marbles Kids Museum is a hands-on, interactive museum that inspires children to be creative thinkers, active learners and confident individuals in today's world."  See the Exploris calendar of events for information about upcoming events.

 

Greensboro Children's Museum (further afield)
220 North Church St., Greensboro,
NC 27401
www.gcmuseum.com/
(336) 574-2898.
Open Mondays for Members Only from 9:00 AM - Noon; Tues ? Sat 9am - 5pm; Family Friday Nights 5:00 PM ? 8:00 PM; Sun 1pm ? 5pm.  Before you go, check out the website for parent/teacher guides outlining learning activities for pre-kindergarten through fourth graders and which are designed to be coupled with a visit to the Greensboro Children's Museum.  Admission charged.

 

North Carolina Railroad Museum & New Hope Valley Railway
Old U.S. 1, Bonsal, N.C.
(919) 362-5416
www.nhvry.org
50-minute train ride through Chatham and Wake counties.  Train Ride Days are the first Sunday of each month from May through November. In December, the Railway offers Christmas Train Weekends.  2005 Schedule:  May 1, June 5, July 4, August 7, September 4, October 2, November 6.  Departures at 11am, 12:15pm, 1:30pm, 2:45pm, and 4pm.  Children ages 1-12, $6; others, $8.

Directions: Take US 15-501 South, turn left onto Mt. Carmel Church Road, travel south to Wilsonville, cross US 64 and continue south on Beaver Creek Road. Bonsal is 23 miles from Chapel Hill. Beaver Creek Road leads right to the museum. Park in the Bonsal road lot across old US 1 on train ride days.

 

North Carolina Museum of Art
2110 Blue Ridge Road, Raleigh
(919) 839-6262
www.ncartmuseum.org
The permanent collection includes numerous diverse art collections spanning spans more than 5,000 years, from ancient Egypt to the present (open Wednesday-Sunday, free admissions); also check out the fun kids' learning center area.  Through July 8 is "Temples and Tombs" (tickets required).  In the summer the Museum Park offers great outdoor entertainment, including the ?Movies on the Lawn? series.  The Museum also hosts weekly summer camps for kids ages 6-10 years.  One Saturday a month, fall through spring, the Museum's Children's Performance Series offers puppetry, music, storytelling, dance or drama, and short films, including some based on award-winning children's literature.  For more info call (919) 839-6262.

 

North Carolina Museum of History
5 East Edenton St., Raleigh, NC.  
(919) 807-7900
www.ncmuseumofhistory.org
Tues. - Sat. 9 am to 5 pm; Sun. Noon to 5 pm.  Exhibits focus on state history including NC Folk Life, Pioneers of Aviation, North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame, Tar Heel Junior Historian Association exhibit (award-winning history projects by North Carolina students) among many others.

 

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
11 W. Jones St., (at the corner of Jones and Salisbury Streets), Raleigh, NC  27601-1029.
(919) 733-7450 or toll-free (877) 4NATSCI
www.naturalsciences.org
Museum Hours:  Mon. - Sat. 9am - 5pm; Sun. - noon - 5pm.  First Friday of each month: 9am - 9pm.

Exhibits include dinosaur fossils, whale skeletons, and re-creations of North Carolina habitats.  Highlights include Willo, "the world's only dinosaur with a fossilized heart"; the "Terror of the South,"the only Acrocanthosaurus skeleton displayed anywhere in the world; "Mountains to the Sea," an exhibit re-creating five North Carolina habitats, complete with live animals and a 20-foot high waterfall; great whale skeletons; and numerous special exhibits throughout the year.

Visit www.naturalsciences.org for more details about the following fun events throughout the year.  September: Bugfest; October: Chemistry Day, Natural History Halloween; November: Archaeology Days; December: Governor's Tree Lighting, First Night; January: Astronomy Days; February: Groundhog Day; March: Reptile and Amphibian Day; April: Earth Day; May: Meet the Animals Week.

First Fridays after 5pm.  On the first Friday of each month the Museum hosts a "First Friday" event, including a free "Natural Horror Picture Show," along with exhibits, shopping, and food from 5 - 9 pm.  (Movie starts at 7 pm).  Visit the Museum's calendar of special events for children for more family fun.

 

N.C Collection Gallery 
(University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Wilson Library, 2nd Floor)
(919) 962-1172.
www.lib.unc.edu/ncc/gallery.html

Mon-Fri. 9 am-5 pm, Sat. 9am-1 pm, Sun 1-5 pm.  Tours, Wednesdays at 2 pm.  Features state and university history displayed through books, maps, photographs, furniture, prints, and more. 

 

Orange County Historical Museum
201 N. Churton St., Hillsborough.
(919) 732-2201
www.historichillsborough.org. The Museum collections span the pre-Colonial, Revolutionary War, and Civil War through the early 1900s.  Exhibits include "A Time of Hard Living:  The Rip Van Winkle Period 1790-1850" and "The Road to Orange," covering the period from 1740-1760.  The museum also is the home of a second-floor gallery featuring different artists' work every month.

 

Patterson's Mill Country Store
5109 Farrington Rd., Chapel Hill, NC  27514.  (Between Hwy. 54 and Old Chapel Hill Road)
(919) 493-8149.
Beautiful old country store serving the community in the same spirit as the original  Patterson & Company Store of the 1870's.  Patterson's Mill is a haven for those seeking a moment from an earlier age!  (You may feel as though you just walked into the General Store from Little House on the Prairie days!)  Contains some of the finest collections of mercantile American in the country, including a nationally recognized pharmaceutical collection and tobacco memorabilia collection.  The rambling store building houses a furnished early twentieth century doctor's office, early artifacts from the Patterson's Mill community, and aisle after aisle of memorabilia, much of which has remained in the same farming and merchant family since R.S. Leigh opened the store on his plantation over 100 years ago.  Admission is free.  Permanent collections are not for sale, but a large selection of local and regional crafts and many antiques and collectibles are offered for sale.  (Patterson's Mill also hosts a wonderful Christmas Tree and Greenery sale during the holidays.)  HOURS:  Tues.-Sat. 10-5:00pm, Sun. 2-5:00pm, closed Mondays.
  (CALL BEFORE VISITING FOR UPDATED HOURS!)

 

Playspace Children's Museum
410 Glenwood Ave., Suite 150, (behind the Creamery), Raleigh, NC 27603
www.playspacemuseum.com/
(919) 832-1212
Fun and educational museum for children ages 6 months-7 years.  Interactive, hands-on exhibits include a play bank, pretend cafe, pretend grocery store, art room, castle, computer lab, fire truck and car, pretend hospital, pretend train depot, stage and dress-up play (with a close-circuit camera and TV), waterfront for water play and splashing, an infant area for babies to crawl and play, and much more.  Adults must accompany children.  The Museum also offers Movement classes, Tumbling classes, Ballet and Jazz classes.  Call for details.  
Make-n-Take crafts daily, 2 pm.
  
Hours: Tues.-Sat. 9 am - 5 pm; Sun, 1-5 pm.

 

Sanford Railroad House Museum (further 1/2 hour from Pittsboro)
Located approximately 30 minutes from Pittsboro, south on 15-501.
www.downtownsanford.com/railroad_house.htm
(919) 776-7479
Museum includes displays and artifacts and pictures detailing life in the area from the 1874 to the present. Visitors can see the Old Steam Locomotive #12 located behind the building.  Hours: various hours Monday through Friday.  Call (919) 776-7479 for more information.

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For more Chapel Hill - Durham - Raleigh NC Year Round Fun activities, please click on individual categories below, or scroll down.

 

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