Science for a Family: The Nature Research Center

by Jennifer on March 5, 2012

Have you been to the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh before? My family and I have and enjoyed a morning exploring the displays, and then we walked to some lunch. That was a few years ago & it was fine, but perhaps a bit tame/dry.

This past January I was in the Raleigh area for a conference (ScienceOnline2012) and had the pleasure of an evening at the museum, complete with a tour of their new wing. The wing is multiple stories high, and is partially housed in what looks like a huge globe from the outside of the building. Inside the globe will be a state of the art theater. The new wing will be the home of The Nature Research Center, and will be headed by Dr. Meg Lowman. Yes, THE Dr. Meg Lowman known as the “mother of canopy research” for her pioneering research in forest canopy ecology.

And the director isn’t the only totally cool thing about the new center – it is aimed at being very “hands-on”, and includes Investigate Lab spaces,  “How Do We Know?” features, and a Citizen Science Center, as you can read from their ABOUT THE CENTER page.

At the time that I toured the NRC, it took a bit of imagination to “see” what was coming because it was a lot of scafolding, a few holes still in the floor, plaster dust everywhere & we had to wear low, closed-toe shoes to be able to enter the wing. Since then the crews have been hard at work and are preparing for the grand opening of the wing in April. I saw a notice on their site today that “The Museum will be closed April 8 through April 20 at 5pm to prepare for the new wing”, and for their 24 hour grand opening events that will occur from Friday, April 20, 5pm to Saturday, April 21, 5pm.

Even if you can’t get out to the opening events, you may want to take your family, friends, or self over to the new NRC wing of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (after April 21st) for some sciencey fun!

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