We're open. Welcome back!

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences will reopen to the public beginning September 22 with some new procedures, new hours and new plans in place to help ensure the safety of visitors and staff.

The biggest change is that free, timed-entry tickets will be required at the downtown location as the Museum will be opening at a limited capacity to start. Visitors can reserve tickets at the link below. We are unable, at this time, to accommodate organized groups such as schools, churches, or daycares.

Please check this page before visiting, and follow the Museum on social media (@naturalsciences) for the most up-to-date information. For additional questions email info@naturalsciences.org or see the FAQs. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Free timed-entry tickets

New temporary hours (downtown Raleigh)

We're open. Welcome back!

Estamos abiertos. ¡Bienvenidos!

New Safety Measures

Wear a mask to keep those near you safe. This simple act is an important gesture of kindness and respect and can help save lives by reducing the spread of COVID-19 in our community.
  • Per Gov. Cooper’s Executive Order 163, proper face coverings are required of all Museum staff and visitors (age 5 and up).
  • Cloth face coverings are available for purchase in the Museum Store.
  • Enhanced cleaning of the facilities will take place multiple times throughout the day.
  • Hand sanitizer stations are accessible throughout the Museum.
  • Water fountains will not be in use.
  • The Museum’s daily onsite programming is temporarily postponed for the health and safety of visitors.
  • Visitors are encouraged to follow the “Three Ws” as outlined by the N.C. Dept. of Health and Human Services — WEAR a cloth face covering; WAIT in line at least six feet away from others, and WASH hands frequently or use hand sanitizer.
  • If you are experiencing symptoms of illness, we ask that you postpone your visit.
WEAR a cloth face covering; WAIT in line at least six feet away from others, and WASH hands frequently or use hand sanitizer

What Can I Experience?

Six Floors of Exhibits
Visit our awe-inspiring exhibits from the coastal plains of North Carolina to meteors from space! Both buildings at our downtown Raleigh location are open, including three floors in the Nature Exploration Center and three floors in the Nature Research Center.

Download the Museum's Reopening Map

Temporarily Closed Areas

Areas within the downtown Museum that will remain closed during the initial opening period include:

  • WRAL 3D Theater (3D movies)
  • Windows on the World (Storytime and Meet the Animals)
  • Living Conservatory (aka “the butterfly room”)
  • Discovery Room
  • All hands-on Investigate Labs
  • The Naturalist Center
  • Additional small permanent exhibits (areas) where social distancing is not possible
  • Complete list of closed areas on the FAQ page
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Free Advance Timed-entry Tickets

For the health and safety of our downtown Raleigh guests we have made changes to our operations. Free timed-entry tickets will be required for all visitors.

Things to know about our new online ticketing process:

  • A limited number of tickets will be available daily. Entry times are scheduled every fifteen minutes from 10:00am – 3:15pm
  • Reserve your ticket today
  • After confirming your reservation, you’ll receive an email containing a barcode for each ticket.
  • To enter the Museum, present your device or a printout of your email with the barcode.
  • Guests will be able to enter the Museum through the main entrance (11 West Jones Street), with a reservation.
  • Once inside the Museum, guests may stay as long as they like, until closing time at 4:00pm. Please arrive 15 minutes early.
  • Reservations are not transferable to another day.
  • Reentry will require a new reservation.
  • Guests who do not have a timed reservation will be asked to acquire one prior to entry.
  • Members are also required to make a reservation.


  • Groups of 10 or below can make a reservation online.
  • Groups larger than 10 are not allowed within the first phase of reopening.
  • We are unable, at this time, to accommodate organized groups such as schools, churches, or daycares. For more information on group visitation, please call 919.707.9805.
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Prairie Ridge

Prairie Ridge Ecostation in west Raleigh will be open Tuesday through Saturday, 9:00am to 1:00pm (closed on Sunday and Monday). Tickets are not required, but capacity is limited. The Nature PlaySpace and Bird Blind will remain closed to the public.

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