Visitor Info

Rent the Museum

Rent the Museum: Reserve your space for 2015

Looking for a memorable place to host a meeting, corporate party, wedding reception or other special occasion?

Imagine conversing among dinosaurs and mingling amid live animals as you enjoy a special evening at the largest natural science museum in the Southeast. Your guests will enjoy relaxing among the Museum’s spectacular exhibits, which include a dramatic two-story waterfall, a scenic mountain cove, a variety of live animals, fascinating whale skeletons and impressive dinosaurs. With a variety of spaces available at the Museum, rental clients can host evening events for up to 2,300 guests. 

Main building

Nature's Treasures Hall set up for a formal dinnerFirst Floor

  • Coastal North Carolina — While islands move and hurricanes blow, the daily lives of tiny shrimp and great whales go on. Look in on sea creatures from salt marshes to the Atlantic’s great depths.
  • North Carolina’s Natural Treasures — Emeralds, Venus flytraps, tiger beetles, giant fossil shark teeth and a scarlet tanager are a few of the state’s natural treasures on display.
  • Auditorium — A state-of-the-art presentation area with a variety of media amenities. View presentations on a high-definition broadcast system by projector or video. Available in the evening only.

Second Floor

  • Special Exhibit Gallery — This lofty space accommodates up to 350 guests for a gracious reception. This is rented with the second floor. Due to the many special exhibits we host, availability is limited.
  • Mountains to the Sea — Walk through North Carolina’s natural habitats in this two-story diorama, complete with native plants, live animals and a mountain waterfall.

The Acro skull set up for a wedding receptionThird Floor

  • Prehistoric North Carolina — A giant ground sloth, dinosaurs and a host of prehistoric creatures inhabit six ancient environments.

Fourth Floor

  • Acro Café — Dine beneath the stars and against the ever-changing backdrop of the Living Conservatory, which is filled with live butterflies and tropical plants.
  • Living Conservatory — Live plants, butterflies, a tarantula and a two-toed sloth inhabit a re-created dry topical forest.
  • Arthropod Zoo — Become acquainted with venomous spiders, hordes of termites, scuttling centipedes, mysterious mantises and gigantic cockroaches.

Fifth Floor

  • Board Room and Bicentennial Terrace — Raleigh spreads out beneath you as you stand on the Bicentennial Terrace. Rooftop views of the State Legislative Building and State Capitol lend an elegant tone. It’s a great daytime meeting space.
  • Level A Meeting Room — Ideal for meetings and classes, this room accommodates 55 seated individuals.

The SECU Daily Planet at the NRC the night of the Grand Opening.

Nature Research Center

First Floor

Includes access to the SECU Daily Planet, a unique three-story theater with a 45x45-foot HD screen and multi-channel surround sound. Other exhibits include “Our Changing Ocean,” a 10,000-gallon aquarium containing the beautiful but invasive lionfish and a variety of native fishes; plus a stunning North Carolina gem and mineral collection that includes four of the largest uncut emeralds ever found in North America, as well as the famed 64.8-carat Carolina Emperor, the continent’s largest cut emerald.

SECU Daily Planet 2nd floor overlookSecond Floor

Comes with a view of the Daily Planet from the 2nd floor balcony plus exhibits ranging from “WRAL Storm Central,” where you can use meteorological data to make your own weather forecast, to “Diversity of Life,” which looks at how the relationships between humans and horseshoe crabs, or wolves and elk, or fish and mussels, are all important to biodiversity.

Meteorite exhibitThird Floor

See the Daily Planet from the 3rd floor balcony or roam exhibits including “Dinosaurs to DNA,” which highlights new tools and techniques that are helping scientists change the way we understand the natural world and everything in it; and “Ice Age Giants,” which looks at the mammoths, saber-toothed cats, giant wolves and other mega-fauna that once roamed our state.

Dining tables in the Environmental Conference CenterFourth Floor

Includes the expansive William G. Ross Jr. Environmental Conference Center, filled with custom-made reclaimed wood. This space can be one large room or divided into three smaller sections and can be used for day conferences or lavish evening events. Three projectors are included in this space as well as a catering kitchen with a refrigerator and sink. Includes a vestibule and an outdoor rooftop terrace.

For rental details, please consult the following:

By choosing one or more of the Museum’s one-of-a-kind spaces, you not only select a unique and beautiful location for your special event, you also help support important exhibits, research and educational programs.

For more information or to schedule a site visit, please contact the Museum rental coordinator at or 919.707.9845.