Nature Research Center

1st Floor Exhibits

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Exploratory Gallery

Discover some of the coolest projects and breakthroughs in engineering, health and modeling, from a topless Chevy Volt to robotic bats to new medical imaging techniques.

Protecting Freshwater

Discover how urban and wild habitats can co-exist and how you can help protect nearby wetlands. Or check out live crayfish and learn how bugs can help scientists determine stream water quality.

SECU Daily Planet Theater

This unique three-story theater with a 45 X 45-foot HD screen and multi-channel surround sound plays host to cutting-edge science presentations and spectacular scenes from nature.

Our Changing Ocean

This 10,000-gallon aquarium replicates a typical hardbottom habitat off the North Carolina coast. Live animals include Atlantic stingrays, invasive lionfish and a variety of native fishes.

Exploring the Deep Sea

Climb into a model submersible and take a virtual dive 2,000 feet to the ocean floor off the coast of North Carolina to study deep-sea coral called Lophelia.

Investigating Right Whales

See and touch the skeleton of Stumpy, a North Atlantic right whale whose death led to laws that require slower cargo ship speeds in whale migration routes.

North Carolina’s Green Gems

See four of the largest emeralds ever found in North America, including three uncut specimens discovered in western North Carolina in 2011. The collection also includes North America’s largest cut emerald, the famed 64.8-carat Carolina Emperor.

Local-Global Connections

Monarch butterflies fly up to 2,000 miles in a migration that crosses many borders. See how scientists and citizens work together to monitor and preserve habitats for these fragile travelers.

Citizen Science Center

Learn how to get involved in scientific research and try your hand at being a citizen scientist. Visitors can watch the birdfeeders at Prairie Ridge via live video feed and record which species they see.

Building a Greener Future

Learn about all the green building features of the NRC, including systems that provide water, heat, energy and light. The NRC is on track to be a LEED Gold certified building.

Science News – Your Views

In collaboration with the News & Observer, this exhibit highlights the coolest stories of the Monday Science & Technology pages and gives visitors a chance to voice their opinion on current issues.

DENR Today

Learn how the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources works to protect our air, water and land, and how they work to provide solutions to environmental health problems.