The Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best time to visit?

The Museum is least crowded from October through February.

What can my group do at the Museum?

  • The Museum offers free, hands-on programs daily. No registration required, but seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Daily program schedule
  • Download, print and bring the Museum’s Treasure Hunt (PDF) or a curriculum-based Chaperone Guide for your group to use during your visit. These materials are in PDF format and you will need the free Acrobat Reader to view and print them.

How long does it take to tour the Museum?

Two and a half hours are recommended to visit the Museum’s nine exhibit halls and the Nature Research Center.

How many chaperones does my group need?

A minimum of one adult per 10 children is required. Chaperones must be at least 18 years old. Failure to provide adequate adult supervision may mean your group will not be allowed to visit the Museum. Children must stay with chaperones at all times. Children under the age of 11 need a minimum of one adult for every four children to attend any of our Investigate Labs.

Directions to the Museum

The Museum is located at 11 West Jones Street, Raleigh, NC 27601. Google maps link

What parking facilities are available and where are they located?

Parking for cars is available weekdays in several public parking decks within walking distance of the Museum. Limited metered parking is available along Jones, Salisbury and Edenton Streets. Parking is free and abundant on weekends. For parking choices within walking distance of the Museum, please see the downtown map (PDF).

Bus loading and unloading is available on Jones Street near the Museum entrance. The bus parking area is located on the corner of Jones and Blount Streets.

Overflow bus parking is available next to the North Carolina Museum of Art on Blue Ridge Road, approximately five miles from the Museum. It is strongly recommended that drivers and group leaders have radio or telephone contact with their bus driver for pick up. Contact Capital Area Visitor Services at 919.807.7950 for any additional information regarding bus parking.

What happens when my group arrives at the Museum?

If you are attending a program or a tour in the Nature Exploration Center (main building), please have your group wait outside.  The contact teacher or other adult will need to enter the Museum and sign in. Museum staff will greet the group outside to review the rules and other pertinent information. Chaperones will receive a chaperone badge.

If your group is attending a program or tour in the Nature Research Center, you will need to walk down Jones Street, and enter at this building’s entrance.  Inform our guest service staff at the front desk that you are here, and they will review the rules and other pertinent information to the group.  Chaperones will receive a chaperone badge.

Is the Museum accessible to persons with disabilities?

The Museum offers assistive devices, guided tours and other accommodations for persons with disabilities. For information, contact the Curator of Special Populations, at 919.707.9887. Requests for special accommodations should be made at least six weeks prior to your visit.

Where can my group purchase a meal?

The Museum’s Acro Café, on the 4th floor of the Nature Exploration Center (main building), serves food and drinks to individuals and family groups. To meet the needs of school groups, the Acro Café offers the opportunity to pre-order healthy take-out bag lunches at a discount. For menu options, prices and ordering information, contact Seth Howe at 919.707.8060.

Where can my group eat lunch?

The Museum does not have an indoor area where groups can eat. There is a non-secure area where closed containers (e.g. coolers, boxes or plastic tubs) containing lunches and drinks can be stored during your group’s visit; please ask Visitor Services staff for directions to the storage area when signing in your group. While group lunches cannot be eaten inside the Museum, groups are welcome to enjoy their lunches on the outdoor Bicentennial Plaza, which is located directly across from the Museum’s entrance. For additional information on the plaza or other picnic locations in the capital area, contact Capital Area Visitor Services.

Can my group purchase souvenirs?

Museum Store
Monday–Saturday, 9 am–4:45 pm
Sunday, noon–4:45 pm

The Museum Store and Center Store offer nature-related books, games, toys, and gifts. No time to shop? At least two weeks prior to your visit, order gift bags for your group. The Museum Store is operated by the Friends of the Museum; all proceeds benefit the Museum. For more information, contact the Museum Store at 919.707.9854.