Programs & Events

Science Thursdays at the Museum

The Nature Research Center is open late every Thursday until 9pm.  Science cafes, beginner science classes, special programming and much more!

The NC Museum of North Carolina’s Daily Planet Café, located at 121 West Jones Street, will be closed September 2-30 for renovations. The Acro Café, located on the fourth floor of the main building at 11 West Jones Street, will be open and offering an expanded menu during that time. Catering will also still be available through Rocky Top Hospitality – contact Kaitlin Briggs, Catering Sales Manager, at (919) 707-8057 for details.

There will be no Science Cafés and Science Trivia during the month of September. 



August 28

Science Cafe

Fermented Foods, Beneficial Bacteria
7:00pm, NRC - The Daily Planet Café

The Science Behind Fermented Foods and Beneficial Bacteria

Although most information about bacteria is focused on food outbreaks, infections and diseases, the large majority of bacteria are safe, and many bacteria can be beneficial. A combination of Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Genetics and Genomics is shedding new light on the many benefits of bacteria used as starter cultures in fermented foods and as health-promoting probiotics. With ever-increasing knowledge about their roles in food fermentation, gut health and their contribution to the gut microbiome, this Science Café will change the way you think about bacteria and their benefits. Join us as we discuss what foods contain beneficial bacteria, or probiotics, and how these bacteria contribute to human health.

About Our Speaker

Dr. Rodolphe Barrangou is an Associate Professor of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences at North Carolina State University, who specializes in the genomic analysis of bacteria used in foods. Dr Barrangou earned a BS in Biological Sciences from the Rene Descartes University in Paris, France, an MS in Biological Engineering from the University of Technology in Compiegne, France, an MS in Food Science from NC State University, a PhD in Genomics from NC State University, and an MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He also worked for nine years in the food industry, in Research and Development at Danisco and DuPont.


Robot Lab
6:30pm, NRC - Visual World Investigate Lab - 3rd floor

Like robots? Ever wanted to make one? This beginner’s level class is for any scientist eleven years old and older who wants to learn how to make their own real robot. You will learn how to build an autonomous, Arduino powered robot from scratch, program it using a computer, and then compete against all of the other participants. This is a great way to be introduced to the exciting world of electronics and computer programming!

Program Instructor: Matthew Faerber, Coordinator of the Visual World Investigate Lab

Registration information: Online Registration. *Please note our registration system is not compatible with smartphones.

For more information contact Debbie Huston, scheduling coordinator, at 919.707.9840.

Please Note: This program is subject to cancellation if a minimum number of participants is not met. Refunds will only be given if this program is canceled by the Museum. Notice of cancellation will be given via email, at least 48 hours in advance.

Getting Started in AstronomySky Watching
7pm, NRC - Environmental Conference Center - 4th floor

We cover the basic areas of getting started in Astronomy. Targeted to adults of any age with a interest in learning more about astronomy. We will specifically address the following areas:

  • What to expect from amateur astronomy.
  • What equipment is needed.
  • What resources are available.
  • Common pitfalls for beginners.
  • Q&A session

Preregistration is required. For more information or to register, please contact Debbie Huston at, or 919.707.9840

Enjoy a Night Out!
Nature Explorers' Drop-Off Program: The Science of Sound and Music

5:30pm, Museum of Natural Sciences, Outside at Main Entrance 

Need to catch up on some errands, go shopping, or have a date night? Been meaning to check out the Museum’s Thursday night hours, but haven’t had a chance? Give yourselves a night out and the kids a chance to learn about cool topics, play games, and make recycled crafts at the Museum with our Nature Explorers' Drop-off Program.

Science Thursday programming is subject to change.

September 4


Stinkbug Stitches
6:30pm, NRC - Natural World Investigate Lab - 2nd floor

Bring a suitable shirt (or bandana or random fabric object which needs a stinkbug on it) and we'll have everything else you need. We'll be using water soluble canvas to cross stitch a Harlequin Stinkbug directly onto your suitable object. No need to have ever done this before, and if you don't have a suitable object, we'll have some spare canvas for you.



The Chemistry of Twinkies
6:30pm, NRC - Micro World Investigate Lab - 3rd floor

Did you know that the original Twinkie was born during the Depression in 1930, had banana cream filling and cost a nickel for 2 of them? Have you ever wondered what’s in the current version and if there is such a thing as a “healthy Twinkie”?





Thursday night classes: Every Week at the Nature Research Center

Science Thursdays are presented in collaboration with Time Warner Cable.

Time Warner Cable: Connect a Million Minds