Programs & Events

Science Thursdays at the Museum

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


April 17

Science Cafe

Beneficial Tobacco?
7pm, NRC, The Daily Planet Cafe
When is tobacco good for you? When it is used to prevent diseases! Biopharmaceutical company Medicago is using wild tobacco plants to make proteins that are part of a new influenza vaccine. These plants serve as natural bioreactors that can make immunogenic nanoparticles, which have been shown to produce a robust immune response in people. Medicago has also developed a method to quickly produce the vaccine in response to a pandemic threat, leading the US government to fund construction of a production center in Research Triangle Park. Come hear more about Medicago’s innovative methods and state-of-the-art facility, which is targeted to produce 10 million doses of pandemic influenza vaccine per month.


Earth Month: Sustainability
5-9pm, NRC
Green Tours of the Nature Research Center: The Nature Research Center was built to be cleaner, better, and healthier to bring us all a brighter future.  Join us for a tour of the many green technologies featured in this building with Exhibit Designer Jenny Profet.  Meet in the lobby at 6pm.

April 24

Science Cafe

Invasive Lionfish
7pm, NRC, The Daily Planet Cafe

Lion FishLionfish, a popular aquarium fish native to the Indo-Pacific, have spread across the entire Caribbean region and to the coast of North Carolina in little over a decade. Some have identified the invasion as one of the foremost global environmental challenges in the marine realm. Lionfish have few predators, display a novel feeding strategy, and prey do not recognize them as a threat — all of these factors result in decimated fish populations in areas where lionfish are abundant. Pressure through human fishing is likely the only means to control lionfish numbers, although even this approach presents some paradoxical conservation challenges. Should you eat lionfish? Maybe, maybe not. Either way, this fish is here to stay.


Butterfly Pinning and Backyard Bug Collecting — Spring
6-8 pm, NRC
Cost: $35 (includes insect resource manual, pinning board, butterfly display box, numerous exotic butterfly specimens)

Prepare, pin and mount a variety of spectacular tropical butterflies. Learn the various techniques used to catch, preserve and mount these and other fascinating arthropods. Explore the possibilities of insect collecting in your own backyard.


Earth Month: Biodiversity & Conservation
5-9pm, NRC
Biodiversity & Conservation exhibitors will include Capital Group Sierra Club, Ball Energy Services, Arthropod Zoo.  PLUS:  Meet some live animals and learn about the Museum’s upcoming exhibit Rainforest Adventure, opening April 26!

Drop off your CFLs! Did you know that throwing away Compact Fluorescent Bulbs (CFLs) is illegal and can cause mercury to enter our water sources?  Drop your CFLs off tonight and learn more about disposing of them the proper way!

Enjoy a Night Out!

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. 

Programs will provide your children with opportunities to explore the Museum, learn about different subjects, create nature-centered art using natural and recycled materials, and enjoy stories and games with other children their age. Classes are divided in to two age groups, so that the educational activities will be engaging for children ages 3–11.

May 1

Science Trivia!
7pm, NRC, The Daily Planet Cafe
What’s cooler than absolute zero? Find out at Science Trivia nights at the Museum, where questions feature a mix of science facts, current news, pop culture and scientific discoveries. Held in the new wing's Daily Planet Cafe on the first Thursday of every month, this is a great opportunity to mingle with friends, compete for prizes and bragging rights ... and perhaps even learn something cool.

May 8

Poetry Scope
7pm, NRC, The Daily Planet Cafe
Join us for Poetry Scope, an evening of science through the lens of poetry. Triangle-area poets will read and discuss their poems inspired by the Earth Month themes of climate change, water, sustainability and biodiversity.


The Science of Jewelry
6:30pm & 8:30pm,
NRC - Natural World Investigate Lab - 2nd Floor
Cost: $18 ($15 Friends of the Museum). Minors must be accompanied by a registerred paying adult.
Registration information: Fill out online, print and mail the Museum’s Registration Form with payment.

How do gemstones form? What makes an emerald green and a ruby red? Why are diamonds only found in certain parts of the world? What is the difference between 14K and 24K gold? What exactly is "Sterling" silver? Discover the science behind your favorite piece of jewelry, and learn how to make your very own! The workshop will begin with a presentation on a wide variety of gemstones, including many that can be found right here in North Carolina, as well as the precious metals and their alloys used to make jewelry. Participants will then learn how to make their own gemstone necklace or bracelet in a basic stringing class. Mother’s Day is May 11th so sign-up and make a gift for mom!  Cost of class includes supplies for one necklace or two bracelets.

May 15

Science Cafe

Explaining Health Disparities:  Is It All in the Innate Immunity Genes?
7pm, NRC, The Daily Planet Cafe
African Americans are more likely to die from highly aggressive and less curable forms of prostate and breast cancers than their European-American counterparts.  Learn about the genetic and environmental factors that may contribute to this phenomenon.  Our speaker will describe the unique environment to which the geographical ancestors of African Americans were exposed and how ancient genetic adaptations to that environment may explain some of the biological differences that result in the devastating health disparities afflicting African Americans today. We will discuss the role of genetic signatures in the innate immune programs of modern African Americans that likely predispose this population to cancer and other chronic diseases that involve inflammation.

Science Thursday programming is subject to change.

Science Thursdays are presented in collaboration with Time Warner Cable.

Time Warner Cable: Connect a Million Minds