We’ve been waiting for the new Nature Research Center wing to open in the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Last week, my son and I dropped off the mister for a work function, and we did our favorite thing in downtown Raleigh: parked our car at Moore Square and walked down to dinner and all around the mall. We finished it off with a trip down to his favorite, the Museum of Natural Sciences. Since the final preparations were underway for the big globe, we got to see the artists scrambling to finish hand-painting it–in a huge cherry-picker. It was very cool. The Center opened last weekend for Earth Day, and yesterday was our first opportunity to have a tour.
First of all, people, it’s free. That’s right: F.R.E.E. Plus, it’s on the free R-Line bus line, so you can park anywhere in downtown Raleigh, step on the R-Line, and it’ll drop you off (and pick you up) outside the Center. For free.
I’m a big believer in free museums for the masses, and the City of Raleigh does not disappoint. What’s available to the public now is only a portion of the Nature Research Center. A state employee’s credit union is being built on the right connecting side (opposite the Museum of Natural History on the left), and when that’s complete in the fall the whole shebang will be accessible. For now, the different labs are coming online; as they’re outfitted and ready to go, they’ll be opening. And you and I, and your children, and their classes will all be able to go into the labs and have hands-on experiences with the scientists. I can’t wait to get into the labs!
Here are a few photos from our afternoon. I hope you’ll have a chance to visit. PS: the Cafe Carolina & Bakery in the Wachovia Center on Fayetteville Street is a great place to have breakfast or lunch when you’re in town for the sights!