Nature Research Center

3rd Floor Exhibits

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Paleontology and Geology Research Laboratory

This laboratory will explore the morphology, evolutionary relationships and paleoecology of theropod dinosaurs — a group that includes the iconic megapredator Tyrannosaurus rex as well as living birds.

From Dinosaurs to DNA

New tools and techniques are helping scientists change the way we understand the natural world and everything in it, from dinosaurs to DNA.

Ice Age Giants

Though glaciers never reached North Carolina, climate changes may have spelled doom for the mammoths, saber-toothed cats, giant wolves and other Ice Age Giants that roamed our state.

Genomics and Microbiology Research Laboratory

This laboratory will conduct a wide spectrum of molecular genetic studies to examine DNA-based relationships among primates (called comparative evolutionary genomics) and more.

Unraveling DNA

Learn about DNA replication and “model organisms” — the animals we study in genetics labs most often. Try the “Light Bright” interactive to see how much DNA you share with other animals.

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.

Postcards from Space

Peruse a rare collection of meteorites that includes relics from our Solar System’s formation and even a piece of the planet Mars.

Beyond Our Planet

Learn about NASA’s latest telescopes, see a moon rock and meteorites, or find an astronomy-related citizen science projects to participate in.

Astronomy and Astrophysics Research Laboratory

This laboratory will use large telescopes around the world to investigate the origins of the solar system by studying the chemical composition of gas clouds around forming stars.

Visual World Investigate Lab

Learn about and try out some of the latest modeling and simulation technologies scientists are using to help them visualize nature in new ways.

Early Life Explosion

Ediacaran fossils represent some of the earliest complex life on our planet (542-635 million years ago). Find out more about these unusually shaped, soft-bodied, ocean-dwelling animals.

Triassic Revolution

The Triassic period spanned 44 million years and marked the presence of the first dinosaurs, turtles, crocodiles and mammals. Find out more about this pivotal time in the evolution of prehistoric animals.

Planet Micro

View models of microbes, rendered 10,000 times their normal size. The largest include paramecium and rotifer, while the smallest is the virus, which is just a bead of light.

Micro World Investigate Lab

Enter the world of the future in this biotechnology- and microbiology-focused education lab. From genetic engineering to protozoa, perform and learn the techniques that create tomorrow’s breakthrough discoveries.

Barbara Page Tiles

Nationally acclaimed artist Barbara Page created tiles to line the top floor of the bridge connecting the Museum to its new wing. Visitors can pass through 500 million years of “fossils” as they cross.