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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


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. It's a very long walk for kids and sometimes the animals are not visible, but it's a very pleasant walk for adults to do just for the nature.
The best part of the outdoor area is the treehouse 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.



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, 11 Jun 2018 17:35:16 GMT