Community Outreach Program Topics

The Museum comes to you with interactive programs that incorporate live animals and natural objects to teach participants about the natural sciences. Presentations are flexible and can be adapted for a variety of ages and locations including but not limited to: early childhood centers, k-12 schools, scout groups, public libraries, after-school programs, civic groups, and large-scale community gatherings.

Topics highlight different portions of the science curriculum standards for grades k-12 including ecosystems, life cycles, body systems, earth history, and classification of living organisms.

These programs can be tailored for special populations such as Spanish speakers, persons with mental or physical disabilities, at-risk youth, senior centers, and pediatric patients and their families.

En Español

Note: Programs using live animals have limited availability on Saturdays and Sundays.

Maximum group size: 30; for more than 30 participants, you must schedule additional programs.
Fee: $110; $90 per additional program scheduled on the same day.
Program length: 60 minutes
To register: Contact Martha Fisk, coordinator of community outreach, at 919.707.9883 at least 6 weeks prior to the requested program date.

Note: An adult representative of the host group must be present during programs.

Story Time

Ages 4 and up
Children’s literature comes to life when you combine story time with the natural sciences. Each program features a storybook accompanied by live animals and specimens related to the theme.

Growing Up in the Animal World

Ages 4 and up
A variety of live animals are presented to illustrate the lifecycles and adaptations of different animal groups including invertebrates, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals.

Arthropods are Everywhere

Ages 4 and up
Meet live invertebrates such as millipedes and tarantulas in this up-close, safe look at the animals without backbones.

Reptiles and Amphibians

Ages 5 and up
What characteristics do these two animal groups share and what features make them unique? Participants will meet live animals that are native to North Carolina and other regions around the world.

Dinosaur Discovery

Ages 4 and up
Explore fossil specimens and replicas to learn more about paleontology and the prehistoric world of dinosaurs.

Birds of a Feather*

Ages 4 and up
Discover the world of birds using replicas and study specimens to learn about their adaptations and become familiar with the songs and behaviors of common North Carolina species.

*Note: this program does not include live animals.

Marvelous Mammals

Ages 4 and up
What do all mammals have in common? Explore the fascinating characteristics of the animal group to which humans belong. This program has limited availability.

Animal Tracks and Signs

Ages 4 and up
Learn how to use your senses to interpret the different clues left behind by animals. Meet some of the live animals you might encounter in your own backyard.

Wading through Wetlands

Ages 4 and up
Few places are as important to our ecological health as wetlands. Learn about North Carolina’s unique wetland habitats, and meet the animals that live there.

Rocks and Minerals

Ages 4 and up
Investigate the properties of rocks and minerals through hands-on activities and observations.

Tropical Connections

Ages 4 and up
Find out about North Carolina’s connection to the tropics and how our actions here impact tropical regions. Meet some of the Museum’s exotic tropical animals.

Animals of the Constellations

Ages 4 and up
Discover some of the common animal constellations and learn about the names and legends of the stars in the sky.

Terrific Turtles

Ages 5 and up
Meet the state reptile of North Carolina and learn about the adaptations of these vertebrate animals. A variety of live turtles and natural specimens are included in this presentation.


Ages 5 and up
Explore the world of the slithering reptiles by observing live, nonvenomous snakes and other related natural objects. What species are native to North Carolina and what is their role in an ecosystem?

Fossils and Prehistoric Life

Ages 8 and up
Learn about fossil formation and paleontology. How do scientists use fossil clues to uncover the world of the distant past?

Exploring DNA

Ages 8 and up
Investigate the molecule responsible for life as we know it in this hands-on program. This program culminates with participants extracting DNA molecules – millions of them – from wheat germ.

Tools of the (Scientific) Trade

Ages 8 and up
Participants will learn about and work with a variety of measuring tools used every day by scientists around the world. Students will complete a variety of measurements as they explore how to choose the right tools for an experiment.

North Carolina Treasures*

Discover unique North Carolina habitats and meet the plants and animals that call them home.

*This program can be adapted for larger audiences. Maximum group size is 150 participants.

Venomous Snakes and Spiders of North Carolina*

Discover the differences between venomous and harmless species of snakes and spiders. Examine live, non-venomous snakes as well as various types of spiders to learn about the species commonly encountered in North Carolina.

*This program can be adapted for larger audiences. Maximum group size is 150 participants.

Programs for Festivals & Community Gatherings

Maximum group size: not applicable
Fee: $110 per hour.
Program length: 2-hour minimum
To register: Contact Martha Fisk, coordinator of community outreach, at 919.707.9883 at least 6 weeks prior to the desired program date.
Note: This is not a structured lecture for large groups.

Meet the Museum

All ages
Museum educators bring a variety of materials to provide an interactive educational experience for your event. Choose from one of the two options below.

1. Meet the Animals. Educators bring live animals and natural objects to teach participants about the natural world. The theme of the display can be flexible and can be correlated with any of the topics currently listed.

2. Scientific Tools. Educators bring natural objects and measuring instruments to allow participants to experiment with different tools used in scientific research, including micro-pipettes, digital calipers, and scales.