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“Skip this place in the summer!”

Museum of Life + Science
Ranked #6 of 87 things to do in Durham
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: The Museum of Life and Science is one of North Carolina’s top attractions. Situated on 84-acres, our interactive science park includes a science center, a butterfly conservatory which is one of the largest in the world and beautifully-landscaped outdoor exhibits which are safe havens for rescued black bears, lemurs, and endangered red wolves. The Museum's Dinosaur Trail takes visitors on a journey through the Late Cretaceous period. Other attractions include a Farmyard, Ellerbe Creek Railway, Contraptions – a hands-on exhibit for older children and adults, a sailboat pond, The Lab in Investigate Health!, Play to Learn – an exhibit for children under six, more than 60 species of live animals and so much more. The Museum of Life and Science is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities, Food available for purchase, Activities for older children, Lockers / storage, Baby buggy parking, Wheelchair access, Activities for young children, Stairs / lift
Reviewed 4 August 2014 via mobile

We have visited much nicer museums with more engaging and better maintained exhibits and activities. Very expensive for what you get. More than several exhibits needed repair.

We visited today and if your child is not part of one of their summer camps, expect them to be ostracized and forced to fight for the scraps. The museum staff seemed to cater to the camp children, setting aside large areas and copious amounts of materials for these "special" kids. My children had to leave feeling hurt and left-out. Royal bummer, especially considering the cost of admission.

2  Thank TroisFils27
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lori B, Public Relations Manager at Museum of Life + Science, responded to this reviewResponded 20 August 2014

Thanks for taking time to share your experience with this community TroisFils27. While we strive to offer the best guest experience possible we’re always looking for areas where we can improve. Your experience with our summer camp participants has been forwarded to our camp administrators as a training opportunity. Thanks again for taking the time to share your experience with us!

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"butterfly house"
in 210 reviews
"train ride"
in 69 reviews
"dinosaur trail"
in 50 reviews
"all ages"
in 117 reviews
"farm animals"
in 30 reviews
"hands on activities"
in 28 reviews
"interactive exhibits"
in 26 reviews
"red wolves"
in 14 reviews
"live animals"
in 14 reviews
"great for kids"
in 29 reviews
"family membership"
in 9 reviews
"petting zoo"
in 10 reviews
"outdoor activities"
in 9 reviews
"black beans"
in 17 reviews
"outside area"
in 11 reviews
"indoors and outdoors"
in 8 reviews
"kids love"
in 20 reviews
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472 - 476 of 784 reviews

Reviewed 3 August 2014

The Museum of Life and Science is a wonderful place to visit. There is so much to see and do. There are lots of hands on exhibits for the kids and big kids alike from weather to sound. They really found a way to make science fun. Most of the museum is outside and there are walking paths. One of the paths has some farm animals, a bear exhibit, and a lemur exhibit. One of the popular trails was the dinosaur one. The size of the dinosaurs was impressive. My favorite part of the museum was the butterflies as they just fly freely around and there are many varieties. There are some benches in the building if you just want to sit and watch for a while. They also have a small cafe with indoor and outdoor seating if you want a bite to eat. This is a fun place to spend the day!

Thank NCTraveler2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 July 2014

The indoor exhibits/interactives are great, but the Dinosaur Trail and the Butterfly House are terrific. There are also really great bear enclosures and fun things to do along the various trails.

We spent 4 hours there and could have stayed longer.

Thank seatrekkie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 July 2014 via mobile

I know nature is technically science, but this museum has so much to offer and it no where near as crowded at Marbles in Raleigh. The outdoor section is fun for the kids with life - size models of dinosaurs, a black bear enclosure and lemurs. The butterfly exhibit was the climax of our visit with butterflies landing on my children. The food in the cafe is a little pricey, but they have a surprising selection. This is a must see while in Durham.

1  Thank alomd11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lori B, Public Relations Manager at Museum of Life + Science, responded to this reviewResponded 25 August 2014

What kind words, alomd11. Thank you for taking a moment to share them with this community.

We love hearing what our visitors enjoyed most while visiting - so we're elated that Magic Wings Butterfly House met your approval. Next time you visit, we highly recommend attending one of our daily butterfly releases. Led by our resident butterfly experts, these free daily programs give you a behind-the-scenes, up close and personal look at the life cycles of our butterflies and you even get the opportunity to help release the newly hatched specimens into the conservatory. You can find more information about these daily programs and others on the events calendar on our website.

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Reviewed 7 July 2014

We spent the day at the Museum of Life and Science with our 10 year old and 7 year old. Our party also had a grandmother that utilized the complimentary wheelchair and got along just fine. Kids LOVED the outdoor experiences with the playground, train, dinosaur walk. Kids had a great time digging for fossils. Don’t skip the insect exhibit in the butterfly house--it was awesome.

Saw lots of cool animals and spent just as long inside creating paper airplanes, making things fly, investigating weather, making tornados and creating a cool contraptions. Loved this museum!

Kids loved the ME sized sinks, petting zoo, insect exhibits and all the hands on activities.
Parents loved the shaded umbrellas at each exhibit, healthy choices in the cafe and plenty to do to keep all entertained.

Tip-may want to wear tennis shoes for kids and adults --there is some walking outside and lots of play structures. Also wear hat/sunscreen :) we forgot ours!

Thank A_Roswell_Family
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lori B, Public Relations Manager at Museum of Life + Science, responded to this reviewResponded 25 August 2014

Wow A_Roswell_Family! It sounds like you guys wrote our brochure!

We're so happy to hear that you were able to experience the wide range of exhibit offerings we have from our 2 story indoor science center to our 85+ acre campus.

Since you loved the Insectarium, next time you visit, consider attending one of our free daily programs like Feeding Frenzy in the Insectarium, daily at 2:30pm or a butterfly release in the Magic Wings Butterfly House conservatory daily at 11am and 3pm. These programs are led by our insect and butterfly experts and give you the opportunity to get up close and personal with our resident critters. You can learn more about these free daily programs on our events calendar on our website.

Thank you for taking a moment to share such kind words. We can't wait to hear what you discover next time you visit!

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