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Museum of Life and Science, Durham

North Carolina
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Museum of Life and Science, Durham, North Carolina NC

Description

The Museum of Life and Science in Durham is an amazing museum with extensive grounds full of fun exploring for kids. Come on a day with good weather because the outdoor area is the best part. Buy tickets with the mini-train ride because it's fun! You go twice around the track, which takes ten minutes, right in the middle of the forest and there are things for kids to spot like animal-shaped hedges or shiny silver fish sculptures. An incredible part of the outdoor area is the Dinosaur Trail. Here there are sculptures of dinosaurs in the middle of the woods, with plaques providing information about the dinosaurs! Their scales look so real and they are gigantic! It is a joy to walk around checking out each one! There is a dusty fossil dig area at the end of the Dinosaur Trail with dirt from a mine in Eastern Carolina that used to be the ocean floor- your kids will find real fossils and can then identify them on the board.
A farmyard area is a cute (and stinky) place to see alpacas, pigs, goats, cows, and rabbits.
A long boardwalk leads you around a wetland to enclosures of bears, wolves, and lemurs, and the Into the Mist exhibit. Don't miss this area! It's a half hour walk around the entire area, plus add time to stop at each exhibit (one and a half hours total is good). There is a water play area on a patio over the wetlands, and buttons kids can press to hear the sounds of animals. At the bear exhibit, sometimes you can't see the bears but you can track them on a screen. You can also see bear and wolf poo!- kids always love potty humor.  The lemurs have a cute exhibit with little houses on poles. They love to swing from house to house. The wolves are interesting to watch, walking slowly along the top of the hill in their forest exhibit. There is a tall yellow contraption where kids can play Catch the Wind. And best of all, Into the Mist! This is an incredible area with remote control sailboats, a hilly spot where cool mist rises up in the tiny valleys, a sunken area with mist, a geometric area with mist, and tunnels under the grass. 
Another amazing part of the outdoor area is the treehouse playground called Hideaway Woods! Wow what a playground! Here a bunch of treehouses connected by rope bridges provide hours of fun! What a blast! There is also a stream lined by rocks with clear water that kids love to play in.
The butterfly  house is a conservatory with pretty, tropical flowers, and some colorful butterflies. There are also pinned (dead) butterflies, and an insectarium with some amusing creatures. I love the blue poison dart frogs here. 
Nearby is the cafeteria, which is very crowded and unpleasant at lunchtime and smells pretty greasy- bring a packed lunch if you can. The cafeteria is not bad around 11:15am though.
Directly behind the museum building is a rope and wood playground called Gateway Park that is a ton of fun.
Inside the museum, there are two-storeys of hands-on science exhibits. These could use a little more explanation on what to do. There's plenty of room to roam and kids enjoy jumping around on the two big square areas where shapes are projected on the ground. There are also air pipes you shoot balls and parachutes up. There are exhibits about shadows, stop-motion film-making, pulleys and pipes, and more. In the middle is an area of tanks filled with fish, screech owls, and reptiles.
In the entry building is a coffee shop inside a gift shop where you can buy many different science sets. It's an attractive shop!

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Photo Gallery

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Rocket ship at the entrance.
Rocket ship at the entrance.
Decorations in the lobby.
Decorations in the lobby.
Outdoor play area.
Outdoor play area.
Old Durham Southern train car.
Old Durham Southern train car.
You can touch one of the dinosaurs.
You can touch one of the dinosaurs.
Dinosaur Walk!
Dinosaur Walk!
It's so fun to explore the Dinosaur Walk!
It's so fun to explore the Dinosaur Walk!
Scary dinosaur!
Scary dinosaur!
A boy looks at Leptoceratops dinosaurs!
A boy looks at Leptoceratops dinosaurs!
Small dinosaur running out from a bush.
Small dinosaur running out from a bush.
Alamosaurus, a huge one!
Alamosaurus, a huge one!
Stygimoloch dinosaurs.
Stygimoloch dinosaurs.
Plaques tell you about each dinosaur type.
Plaques tell you about each dinosaur type.
Troodon dinosaurs had air-filled bones like birds.
Troodon dinosaurs had air-filled bones like birds.
Styracosaurus had impressive horns and frills.
Styracosaurus had impressive horns and frills.
Kids digging like paleontologists.
Kids digging like paleontologists.
Albertosaurus upper jaw.
Albertosaurus upper jaw.
The long boardwalk that leads past the bears and lemurs.
The long boardwalk that leads past the bears and lemurs.
Long boardwalk- great for a stroll.
Long boardwalk- great for a stroll.
Male rhino beetle, in the insect area.
Male rhino beetle, in the insect area.
Tropical flowers in the butterfly conservatory.
Tropical flowers in the butterfly conservatory.
Butterfly conservatory.
Butterfly conservatory.
Where must you stand to make your shadow bigger?
Where must you stand to make your shadow bigger?
Baby alligator.
Baby alligator.
Snakes!
Snakes!
Painted turtle.
Painted turtle.
Rock-climbing wall for little ones, and roll the ball down the zig zag.
Rock-climbing wall for little ones, and roll the ball down the zig zag.
Stand on the bubbles!
Stand on the bubbles!
Make a parachute!
Make a parachute!
Interesting things to experiment with.
Interesting things to experiment with.
How do you scale shapes?
How do you scale shapes?
Balance and imbalance.
Balance and imbalance.
Shadow fractions.
Shadow fractions.
Comparing frequencies.
Comparing frequencies.
Building with Keva blocks.
Building with Keva blocks.
Stand in different positions and make the pieces fall differently on the screen.
Stand in different positions and make the pieces fall differently on the screen.
Yellow slide at Hideaway Woods.
Yellow slide at Hideaway Woods.
The stream to play in.
The stream to play in.
Boy climbing up rope climbey to a fort.
Boy climbing up rope climbey to a fort.
Kids climbing the ropes.
Kids climbing the ropes.
The creek, as seen from the tree house.
The creek, as seen from the tree house.
Climbing a wooden plank.
Climbing a wooden plank.
Yellow slide and rope bridge.
Yellow slide and rope bridge.
Hideaway Woods is a ton of fun!
Hideaway Woods is a ton of fun!
The high heights of Hideaway Woods.
The high heights of Hideaway Woods.
Little house, and tunnel to crawl through, in Into the Mist.
Little house, and tunnel to crawl through, in Into the Mist.
Into the Mist area is a ton of fun!
Into the Mist area is a ton of fun!
Little hills with mist at Into the Mist.
Little hills with mist at Into the Mist.
Run under a rock, at Into the Mist.
Run under a rock, at Into the Mist.
A boy delights in Into the Mist.
A boy delights in Into the Mist.
Boys playing at Into the Mist.
Boys playing at Into the Mist.
Air canon that makes ripples in the sequins.
Air canon that makes ripples in the sequins.
Make water vapor rings!
Make water vapor rings!
Catch the Wind.
Catch the Wind.
A boy watching the remote control sailboats.
A boy watching the remote control sailboats.
Pretty water at the remote control sailboats.
Pretty water at the remote control sailboats.
Lemur exhibit.
Lemur exhibit.
The wolf walks atop the hill.
The wolf walks atop the hill.
Kids playing with water, at the boardwalk area.
Kids playing with water, at the boardwalk area.
Listen to the sounds of animals at the boardwalk area.
Listen to the sounds of animals at the boardwalk area.
Gift shop with coffee area.
Gift shop with coffee area.
Play area as you exit the Science building.
Play area as you exit the Science building.
Goat!
Goat!
Boy looking at a pig.
Boy looking at a pig.
Pig!
Pig!
Cows!
Cows!
Incredible beetle.
Incredible beetle.
Blue frogs!
Blue frogs!
Speckled frog!
Speckled frog!
Friendly dinosaur head.
Friendly dinosaur head.
Bee hive.
Bee hive.
The butterfly area with its vines.
The butterfly area with its vines.
Tree house!
Tree house!
Amazing playground up in the trees.
Amazing playground up in the trees.
Ropes to climb.
Ropes to climb.
Climbing between the tree houses.
Climbing between the tree houses.
   

Directions

Museum of Life and Science is located at 433 W Murray Ave, Durham, NC 27704.
Open 10-5. Closed Mondays. 
Admission is $20 for adults, $18 for seniors and military, $15 for children, and free for children 2 and under. Train rides are $5 each and $3.50 for members. Parking is free. On Durham community days, residents of Durham with ID enter for free. Membership is $130 a year for two people, and allows 9am entry- this is definitely worth it.

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Last Updated: Mon, 03 Sep 2018 19:29:11 GMT