The 4 Best Museums to Visit in Raleigh, NC
Known unofficially as the “Smithsonian of the South,” Raleigh has some incredible museums. Museums of all kinds are spread around the city, and we’ve come up with a list of the best four. Whether you’re a resident or a tourist, each of these is absolutely worth a stop.
North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
Located in downtown Raleigh, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is for the young and young at heart. With some of the finest examples of dinosaur fossils in North Carolina, this museum boasts the most complete skeleton of an Acrocanthosaurus in the world.
The Discovery Room is always a hit with both kids and adults: it consists of different pieces of the museum’s extensive collection that patrons are free to touch and handle, including live animals, fossils, and other artifacts. The butterfly conservatory is also a favorite among guests, as well as the 80,000-square-foot Nature Research Center, which includes laboratories, research opportunities, exhibits, and presentations by some of the top nature scientists in the country.
Marbles Kids Museum
With tons of exhibits, field trips, educational programs, special events, and daily IMAX screenings, this museum is a parent’s dream come true. The Marbles Kids Museum’s interactive exhibits are designed to encourage learning in a variety of ways, as well as to emphasize innovation and creativity.
Play environments keep kids active and healthy by encouraging them to use their bodies to learn about and explore the world around them. An on-site garden has fresh herbs and produce that change with the seasons, teaching kids about ecosystems and how to enjoy the outdoors. Over the summer, the museum hosts educational camps for kids of all ages — a great way for your children to spend their summer in a productive, fun way.
North Carolina Museum of History
Affiliated with the Smithsonian, the North Carolina Museum of History was founded in 1902 and is dedicated to preserving the history of not just Raleigh, but the state as a whole. A rotating cycle of exhibits range from military artifacts to historic fashion and everything in between. Exhibits have included items from the archives of North Carolina, to paintings done by North Carolina’s best artists.
The museum also hosts the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame, which celebrated its 50th year in 2013. History of the Harvest is another year-round exhibit, which is used to demonstrate North Carolina’s agricultural history.
Contemporary Art Museum (CAM Raleigh)
The Contemporary Art Museum, or CAM Raleigh, is dedicated to contemporary art forms from both well-known and more obscure artists. Featuring all forms of art, including sculpture, photography, and paintings, the CAM Raleigh is great for outings with friends, significant others, and family. The museum also hosts a number of educational programs for middle and high school students, as well as community programs that include First Friday events and sketching groups.
Raleigh’s museums are host to some of the best exhibits in the southeastern United States. Whether you’re seeking to learn more about history or art, or you want to provide an educational experience for your children, Raleigh is home to museums to suit every taste and purpose.