Plan Your Visit

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh is open Tuesday-Sunday, 10am–4pm, with some new procedures and new plans in place to help ensure the safety of visitors and staff. On a daily basis, health and safety guidelines are being rigorously followed and monitored by staff.

Reserved, timed tickets are no longer necessary, but the Museum will still be restricting the number of visitors within the building in accordance with the Governor’s Executive Order 181.

When is the best time to visit NCMNS in downtown Raleigh?

  • Tuesday through Friday is a great time to visit. Typically the Museum is less busy, and the only line you may experience is at 10:00am prior to the Museum opening.
  • We are busiest on Saturday and Sunday. Wait times are usual on weekends. Last entry is at 3:30pm. The building closes at 4:00pm.

Please note we do not have a space inside where guests can wait to enter. Lines form outside.

Please check this page before visiting, and follow the Museum on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram 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!

Hours (Downtown Raleigh)


New Safety Measures

Wear a mask to keep those near you safe.
  • 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

Download the Museum's new 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
  • The hands-on Investigate Labs and 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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Prairie Ridge

Prairie Ridge Ecostation in west Raleigh will be open Tuesday through Saturday, 9am to 4pm (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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Whiteville

Outdoor spaces at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences at Whiteville will be open Tuesday through Saturday, 9:00am–1:00pm (closed on Sunday and Monday). Tickets are not required, but capacity is limited. Restrooms available. Top of page

Contentnea Creek

Contentnea Creek is now open to the public Saturdays from 10am to 2pm. Groups are still welcome to book reservations. Please fill out the form on this page to arrange a group visit or contact Maria McDaniel, maria.mcdaniel@naturalsciences.org for more information. Keep an eye on our events calendar and our Facebook page for special events happening at NCMNS Contentnea Creek.

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