Visitor Info

Hours & Admissions

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

Nature Research Center Hours

Monday–Wednesday, Friday & Saturday: 9 am–5 pm
Thursdays and First Fridays: 9am-9pm
Sunday: Noon–5 pm

Nature Exploration Center Hours

Monday–Wednesday, Friday & Saturday: 9 am–5 pm
Thursdays: 9am-5pm
First Fridays: 9am-9pm
Sunday: Noon–5 pm

Notes: The Living Conservatory is closed on Mondays

Dates Closed 2015

Thursday, January 1
Monday, October 26
Thursday, November 26
Thursday, December 24 & Friday, December 25 


General Admission is free, although donations are cheerfully accepted. There is a cover charge for the World's Largest Dinosaurs special exhibit and 3D movies. Discounts are available!
Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

Nature Research Center


Same as the Nature Exploration Center (above), except as noted.
The Naturalist Center and Labs close an hour before the rest of the NRC.


Prairie Ridge Ecostation


Monday–Saturday: 9 am–4:30 pm
Sunday: noon–4:30 pm
The main gate on Gold Star Dr. is locked at 5 pm daily.

Closed on state holidays.  You can find a list of state holidays on the State Office of Human Resources site



Rules and Regulations

Prairie Ridge was established to protect wildlife, provide outdoor learning opportunities and promote respect for natural resources.


  • Carry out all trash and litter
  • Enjoy the natural sounds
  • Park in designated areas only
  • Leave your bike in the racks provided
  • Leave plants, animals, and minerals as you find them


  • Bring dogs or other pets
  • Play amplified music
  • Use campfires, firearms or fireworks
  • Bring or consume alcoholic beverages on premises
  • Smoke on property