Archives for category: Lifelong Learner

Historic Yates Mill in Raleigh NCBy Leigh Hines; above photo by @OutaboutNC 

Greater Raleigh is modern in so many ways, and there is also a lot of history in the destination to see. With the help of N.C. Cultural Resources and Raleigh Historic, we put together a list of Greater Raleigh’s oldest sites. Many are open to the public for tours, and those that are not open to the public still make for great photo opps (think Instagram).

Yates Mill
Historic Yates Mill stands on a mill site in operation since ca. 1761 and part of the current mill may date to that time. The frame mill includes a number of generations of construction throughout the 19th and 20th centuries and gets its name from Phares Yates, who operated the mill from 1869 to 1948. The mill has been restored and now sits on a 174-acre county park. Learn more.

Joel Lane House in Raleigh

Photo by Leigh Hines

Joel Lane House
Built ca. 1770 by Joel Lane, an early settler of Wake County, the house is known as the birthplace of Raleigh as Joel Lane sold to the State of N.C. 1,000 acres of his plantation for the establishment of the capital city. The house was moved one-half block to its current site in 1913. In the winter months, the Joel Lane Museum House is open for tours on Sat. afternoons, with set times on the hour from 1-3pm. Beginning in Mar., tours are available Wed.-Sat. with special group tours on Sun. Learn more.

Lane-Bennett House
The Lane-Bennett House, also known as the Joe Bennett House, is a small, beautifully-finished Georgian-style house constructed in 1775 for Joseph Lane, the brother of Joel Lane, and was home to the Bennett family after the Civil War. In recent years it was enlarged with a small wing on the east gable end of the house. This house is now a private residence.

Photo by B.Fullington for N.C. Cultural Resources

Photo by B.Fullington for N.C. Cultural Resources

Mordecai House
This home is in the heart of downtown Raleigh and was once the site of Greater Raleigh’s largest plantations. It is also the birthplace of 17th President Andrew Johnson. Joel Lane built a one-and-a-half-story hall-parlor plan house for his son Henry in 1775, and in 1826, Henry’s daughter, Nancy Lane Mordecai, added the two-story Greek Revival-style section featuring a handsome two-tiered front porch designed by William Nichols, the English-born architect who had designed the State House (predecessor to the current North Carolina State Capitol). This is also the site of the Ellen Mordecai Garden. Learn more.

Haywood Hall House and Gardens
John Haywood, a long-time Treasurer of the State of N.C. during the late 18th and early 19th century, began construction of this fine Federal-style house ca. 1800 and its elaborate interior woodwork showcases the early architecture of the state. The house museum contains family portraits, original furnishings and a permanent doll collection. The gardens are open all year, and the house is open Mar.-Dec. and is a popular site for weddings. Learn more.

Crabtree Jones House
Built ca. 1810, the Crabtree Jones House, home of the influential Wake County Jones family, is one of the few remaining early Federal-style plantation houses left in the county. It is distinguished by its well-executed exterior and interior detailing, including marbleized baseboards and a Federal-style mantel with a landscape panel. The house was moved from its original site nearby to the north by Preservation North Carolina in 2014 to save it from demolition. The house is not open to the public.

State Bank of N.C.
The main branch of the State Bank of N.C., constructed in 1814 to house the bank as well as the banker’s residence, is Raleigh’s only surviving early 19th-century commercial building. The Federal-style building was executed in Flemish-bond brick with matching two-tiered classical porticos. In 1968, it was turned 90 degrees and moved 100 feet southeast from its original site to its current location. The bank is open during normal operating hours of the State Employees Credit Union.

Elmwood
Elmwood, built ca. 1813, is a Federal-style side-hall plan dwelling, two rooms deep and two-and-one-half stories tall, with a number of mid-nineteenth-century additions. It was built for John Louis Taylor, chief justice of the state’s first supreme court, and his wife Jane. Originally, the land between the house and Hillsborough St., now occupied by two buildings, was Elmwood’s front lawn. Elmood now serves as private offices.

White-Holman House
The original portion of the White-Holman House, built ca. 1798, is two stories in a side-hall plan and features stone foundations, modillion cornice and molded weatherboards and window sills that mark it as one of the best houses of its era in the area. In 1896 it was enlarged with the addition of the two-story gable-front wing on the east side of the house. It was moved from 209 E. Morgan St. in 1985. It is private and not open to the public.

Photo by: Leigh Hines

Photo by Leigh Hines


Click here to see a list of even more historic sites in Greater Raleigh
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Leigh Powell Hines is founder of the N.C. travel community #outaboutnc on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Follow her the lifestyle and travel blog, Hinessightblog.

Marbles Kids Museum in Raleigh NCBy Kristy Stevenson

There’s no “Shhhh,” or “Don’t touch,” at this museum! Delivering purposeful play in a big way, Marbles Kids Museum is an interactive experience in downtown Raleigh with themed exhibits for kids ages 10 and under. The setup allows children to imagine, discover and learn through daily educational programs, special events and giant-screen IMAX films. Through core initiatives and rotating exhibits, the museum is never the same place twice! Kids are excited to learn through play, and there’s something for the whole family. Here are the nine exhibits your little ones can explore:

Kid Grid
Powerful play at work; this is an energy exhibit where kids are in charge. So energize your electricity smarts and take charge to power a bright future.

Marbles Kids Museum in Raleigh NCAround Town
Exploring a pint-size version of a community–bringing a child’s world down to size–where kids take charge with opportunities to imagine and explore how people work, live and play together. Includes Speed Zone; Let’s Fight Fire; Get Well; Peek-a-boo Bay; On The Farm; My Market; Let’s Eat; Act I; All Aboard!; Pet Vet; Exploration Station; Backstage Studio; Ready, Set, School; and News Around Town.

Check out Around Town’s new fire truck coming Feb. 28th. Visitors may remember that the current truck is one of the last remaining pieces from the museum’s merger with Playspace. Marbles is excited to unveil the new vehicle.

Splash!
Discovering the power and fun of water, both indoors and out, this is overflowing with hands-on experiences and experiments. Includes The Lighthouse; Hideaway Grove; Under the Waves; Science Submarine; The Blue Marble; Castaway Cove Kids Garden; and Power Flower.

The popular Kids Garden will be undergoing a transformation; look for new fruits and vegetables soon.

Marbles Kids Museum in Raleigh NCIdeaWorks
Dream, Design, Do! Your child’s imagination takes center stage as kids design, create and build structures, vehicles, simple machines and everyday products. Includes Go Zone; Super Structures; Work Bench; Studio Style; and Toddler Tools.

Art Loft
Encouraging free expression and creativity through painting, drawing, sculpting and exploring different types of artwork. Includes Exploring Fine Art Techniques; and Displaying Your Work.

Marbles Kids Museum in Raleigh NCBB&T Toddlers Hollow
A special place where little ones under the age of three are invited to discover the magic of the woods and explore at their own pace. A great place to practice crawling, walking and balancing on the meandering bridge; uncovering a pixie hideaway; or dressing up as a favorite forest critter.

Moneypalooza
Bringing to life the importance of establishing healthy money habits through innovative and high-energy activities. Kids play with smart ways to spend and save while having a wealth of fun learning to earn. Includes Pay Day; Banker Ben & Betty’s Money Movers; and Freddie Frugal’s Spending Smarts.

Power2Play
Providing play environments that promote physical activity and healthy choices for kids and families. Includes Center Ice; Workout Zone; Little Leaguers; Healthy Kitchen; Tumble ‘n Twirl; and Center Court.

STEMosphere
Hands-on play with colorful learning about science, technology, engineering and math. Includes brain teasers, science challenges, puzzles, math games and more.

Family fun (it’s our go-to spot on particularly hot or inclement weather days), and makes a great field trip or birthday party!

Follow Kristy on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, or visit her website here: Kristy Stevenson Creative.

The World's Largest Dinosaurs exhibition in Raleigh NCBy Leigh Hines

There’s something BIG in town, and you don’t want to miss it. I took the kids to the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences recently to see The World’s Largest Dinosaurs, a new exhibition about the super-sized sauropods, the most colossal animals to walk the earth.

I’m not well-educated on dinosaurs at all. In fact, most of my knowledge comes from the public television show, Dinosaur Train. I knew dinosaurs were big, but man, that sauropod is BIG. Some sauropods reached lengths of 130 feet. This is a fun, educational exhibit that the whole family can enjoy. It’s not scary for little children at all, but I do think elementary-aged children would enjoy this exhibit the most. I have a five-year-old daughter, and she almost wanted to run through the exhibit quickly, however, the museum does an excellent job of keeping younger children engaged through interactive play areas. It’s fun to see if you can fit in the gigantic dinosaur footprint.

I personally got a big kick out of seeing how many greens the sauropods ate daily.

They weren’t kidding when they said BIG. Talk about an enormous salad bar.

The BIG highlight of the exhibition is the detailed model of a 60-foot-long Mamenchisaurus. You actually see this fellow breathe and watch him digest food. The World’s Largest Dinosaurs takes visitors beyond the bones and into the bodies of these titans, shedding light on how heart rate, respiration, metabolism and reproduction are linked to size.

Your future paleontologists (your kids!) will enjoy digging in the exhibition’s fossil pit before heading into the gift store where they can take home their own baby dinosaur (the soft and cuddly kind).

This is a ticketed-admission exhibition in the museum. Get $4 off adult tickets here! Tickets are free for museum members.

The World’s Largest Dinosaurs will run through Apr. 12. In conjunction with the exhibit, the museum is holding a special lecture series through Mar.

Follow Leigh Hines on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, or visit her blog here: HinesSightBlog

 

Wake Forest Historical Museum in Wake Forest NCBy Kristy Stevenson

The Wake Forest Historical Museum, on North Main St. in Greater Raleigh’s Wake Forest, is adjacent to the Calvin Jones House and provides an innovative look at the history of a quaint town, its college and subsequent university.

Calvin Jones was a physician, founder of the N.C. Medical Society and mayor of Raleigh who moved to northern Wake County around 1820, purchasing the farmhouse on 615 acres of land and calling what had previously been known as the Forest District: Wake Forest. The two-story Greek Revival house is the birthplace of Wake Forest College (now Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C.) and the town’s oldest dwelling. Here he saw patients, performed surgeries and even established the area’s first post office. Dr. Jones was the first to use “Wake Forest” as an address on a letter sent through the U.S. mail.

Wake Forest Historical Museum in Wake Forest NCThe property was sold in 1832 to the N.C. Baptist Convention, which was seeking a suitable location to educate young ministers by way of a manual labor institute. By 1834, students as young as 12 could work the land in exchange for a religious education. Under the guidance of first president Samuel Wait, the college began to develop a flourishing student body (eliminating the farm chores), advanced curriculum including Schools of Law and Medicine and a new brick campus. The college even transitioned to co-ed during the war.

Wake Forest was born as a college town populated with shops, pharmacies, restaurants, department stores, pool halls and movie theaters. For more than a century, the town and the college grew up together. It acquired new residents, businesses and even a railroad.

Wake Forest Historical Museum in Wake Forest NCThe Wake Forest Historical Museum depicts it as “five towns in one” back then: the Business District, the college area/North Main St., Mill Village, East End and the Harricane.

The Wake Forest College Birthplace Society, the museum operators, have spent more than half a century working to keep the story of Old Wake Forest alive, collecting more than 15,000 pages of documents, 5,000 photographs, 1,000 books and hundreds of artifacts.

Today, the Calvin Jones House is part of a four-acre campus that includes gardens, pathways, an old well and a museum annex. The house is furnished to reflect the period of its various residents and the museum’s extensive exhibits depict the history of the college and town.

Follow Kristy on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, or visit her website here: Kristy Stevenson Creative.

Wake County Libraries Annual Book Sale in Raleigh NCBy Kristy Stevenson

Calling all bibliophiles!

Want to get a really good deal on an amazing selection of reading material? The Book Sale and Festival of Reading hosted by Wake County Public Libraries, an annual event featuring more than 350,000 books for sale, is coming Dec. 11-14 to the Jim Graham Building at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds in Raleigh.

Wake County Libraries Annual Book Sale in Raleigh NCHours of operation and prices:

  • Thurs., 5-9pm
    Hardbound books: $4 each
    Paperback books, children’s books and CDs: $2 each
  • Fri., 9am-9pm
    Hardbound books: $4 each
    Paperback books, children’s books and CDs: $2 each
  • Sat., 9am-9pm
    Hardbound books: $2 each
    Paperback books, children’s books and CDs: $1 each
  • Sun., 9am-7pm
    Boxes of books: $5
    Bags of books: $2

Wake County Libraries Annual Book Sale in Raleigh NCSat. is the best day to go with your kids.

Sat. will feature family-friendly activities with entertainment and crafts to make the day festive and exciting for children–including a holiday magic show, “Rock Star Magic!” with Chris & Neal, family band Baron von Rumblebuss and Barefoot Juggling.

Cash, checks and credit cards are accepted for payment. It’s recommended that you bring your own bags, wagons or strollers. Boxes will be provided while they last: the customer packs.

Wake County Libraries Annual Book Sale in Raleigh NCStock up for yourself and also stuff stockings.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for all book lovers,” said Raleigh’s Don Vaughan. He and his wife attend ever year; they collect books in a variety of genres and always go home with a huge stack in great condition. “A few years ago, I added big-time to my Edgar Rice Burroughs collection,” Vaughan said. “And you can’t beat the prices.”

“One year, I did almost all of my Christmas shopping there,” said Katie A. Gailes of Holly Springs.

All funds generated from the sale return to Wake County’s General Fund, which in turn funds services offered in Wake County agencies, schools and public libraries.

Click here for more information.

Follow Kristy Stevenson, the writer of this article, here.

page walkerPage Walker Arts & History Center

If you have a creative interest in putting pen to paper, Cary has a unique “meet and learn” opportunity for writers (and wannabe writers) in the form of four free writing workshops offered by Piedmont Laureates. Jaki Shelton Green (poetry), Ian Finley (theatre/playwriting), Scott Huler (non-fiction) and Carrie Knowles (short fiction) share their expertise at the Page-Walker Arts & History Center.

“Climbing Down the Ladder of Writing Head First…” with Jaki Shelton Green, 2009 Piedmont Laureate. Poems often get stuck inside our stories, fiction, non-fiction and our folklore. How do we reclaim voice and revision? How do sensory, detail, metaphor and imagery serve as bridges between the story of the poem and the unleashing of the poem? Participants will play around with their own narrative memories/cerebral lore and create poems in this excavation. Prior to class, email your poems to: wildwoman46@hotmail.com. Course code: 79801

“How to Tell a True Story in a True Way: Non-Fiction Workshop” with Scott Huler, 2011 Piedmont Laureate. Do we live in a golden age of non-fiction, with radio enterprises like StoryCorps making the telling of true stories a legitimate art form? Or do we live in the non-fiction End Times, with “reality” TV and a tide of faked memoirs? We live in both. Learn how to tell the difference–and how to tell a true story in a true way. Course code: 79803

HulerScott Huler

“How to Begin: Theatre / Playwriting Workshop” with Ian Finley, 2012 Piedmont Laureate. An introduction to dramatic structure and the tools to prevent writer’s block and the fear of the blank page. Course code: 79804

“No Problem, No Story: Short Fiction Workshop” with Carrie Knowles, 2014 Piedmont Laureate. You need a main character and a problem…when you’ve got those two things, you can begin to build a story. Designed to get your main character knee deep in a plot that’s ready to unfold, this workshop will help you develop a believable main character, find the problem, let the character make decisions both good and bad, and talk. Course code: 79805

All workshops are provided at no cost and will be held Sun., Sept. 14, 3-5pm, at the Page-Walker Arts & History Center. To register, please call 919.460.4963.

Following the workshops there will be a 6pm panel discussion at The Cary Theater where Laureates will read from their latest works and answer your questions about writing and the writing life. Books will be available for sale and signing during a light reception. No registration is necessary for this program.

Looking for more? Then mark your calendar for a Writing Workshop & Train Trip with Carrie Knowles on Sat., Oct. 4. Get away for the day on the train and see where your writing muse takes you. Board in Cary; talk about where stories come from and how place and time play a role in the development of both characters and the story line. Travel to Burlington, N.C., have an hour to write, then back on the train to talk about where your story is going. The adventure begins at 11:30am at the Cary Depot. Course code: 79807

belleBelle at the Historic Jones House

And in Nov., Knowles will also present a Short Story Writing Workshop. Take a look around Belle at the historic Jones House, view old photographs and talk about the structure of a short story and the power of setting to create an interesting narrative. Share a page from your work and receive feedback. Mon., Nov. 10, 2pm. Course code: 79808

These offerings are brought to you by the Town of Cary’s Recreation and Cultural Resources Department–they look forward to seeing you!

Written by Creative Genius Kristy Stevenson. Follow her online.

Nestled in downtown Raleigh is a true gem for families to experience. In my opinion, Marbles Kids Museum, a place where kids can imagine, discover and learn, is one of the best kids museums in the U.S., and I’m so glad it’s in my hometown because my kids can enjoy it often.

Marbles Kids' MuseumMarbles is a place where families can spend hours and feel as if they only touched the surface on all there is to do.

With a low entry cost of just $5 for age one and up, it’s one of the best bargains out there in family travel. If you are coming to Raleigh and have children under the age of 10, then you can’t leave town without a visit.

Marbles Kids Kid GridI also have a local travel tip for you if it will work for your family’s schedule. The museum is quite busy from 10am to 1pm, but after lunch, the museum clears out because, well, you guessed it…all the younger children need to nap. Typically, I plan about three hours to explore and we hit most everything, but between us, we could stay even longer. There is so much fun there.

Marbles Kids MuseumThis spring, Marbles welcomed the new multimillion-dollar Kid Grid exhibit, presented by ABB. This hands-on energy exhibit promotes early learning in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, inspiring the next generation of great minds through interaction and energy simulation to power up a bright future.

Around Town is always a blast for my kids. There is now a great new classroom section to help preschoolers prepare for school.

Marbles Kids Museum 2The new WTVD News Channel Helicopter has kids waiting in line for the controls.

Marbles Kids Museum HelicopterIt’s good to be a kid at Marbles. And parents, you’ll love seeing how much fun your kids can have learning through hands-on play.

With every twist and turn, there is something new for your children to explore.

There are plenty of restrooms, a picnic area for you to bring your own lunch, a coffee and snack shop plus Pogo, a kid-friendly restaurant on museum grounds.

If your day allows, you can also catch an IMAX feature movie or documentary at the Wells Fargo IMAX Theatre at Marbles. IMAX admission is separate, but you can include museum admission with the purchase of a movie ticket for an extra $3.

Marbles Kids Museum is located at 201 East Hargett St. There is a parking lot adjacent to the museum and plenty of parking decks nearby.

Marbles Kids Museum FunI look forward to seeing you and your kids having fun at Marbles Kids Museum!

Follow Leigh Hines on Twitter and Facebook, or visit her blog here:HinesSightBlog.

This is a continuation of “Picture This: Greater Raleigh Wall Murals, Part I.” Have we named your favorite version of urban art yet? Be sure to tell us if we’ve missed one!

The side of Side Street Restaurant & Catering Service: A tour of quaint Historic Oakwood will bring you to the long running Side Street Restaurant & Catering Service, which features an old Coca-Cola mural on the side of its building. The restaurant is also open for Dec.’s Candlelight Tour of the neighborhood.

cokeHidden Mural at Edna Metz Wells Park: Off the beaten path in a park on the edge of Cameron Village lies a striking mural, supposedly of Edie Sedgewick the original Warhol Factory Girl. Walking trails meander through the mature trees and over the stream.

edna metzNorth Carolina State University’s Free Expression Tunnel: Built in 1939, this tunnel was made accessible and rededicated by the university in 2006 with a plaque that says, “Express Yourself!”

free expression2The Color Wall: North Carolina State University’s kinetic light sculpture Color Wall was first installed in 1972. Described as a “symphony in light,” the mural projects from behind a glass wall facing Hillsborough St. on the first floor of D. H. Hill Library.

color wallMission Valley Cinemas: The Avent Ferry Rd. side of the movie theater at Mission Valley was painted by a high school art teacher who is said to have painted himself into it somewhere.

P1150773“Cary, Then and Now”: Once a grocery store, Sorrell Paint and Wallpaper in downtown Cary (at the intersection of Harrison and W. Chatham) has a wall that is covered with all things Cary. Singer Clay Aiken was added as the mural was created during the time of his American Idol appearance. Cary residents are known to point and share parts of the piece during downtown events, and CaryCitizen featured the wall in its Scavenger Hunt a couple of years ago.

p1150773History of Wake Forest: Created by Franklin Academy High School at The Cotton Company, a refurbished cotton warehouse turned shopping center that offers more than 50 specialty shops and an art gallery showcasing the work of local artists and designers.

wake forestWake Forest: Another public art piece from Franklin Academy comes from senior Marissa Banks who wanted to show how public art can enrich a community. Her work also includes contributions to the pastoral scene outside of Franklin Academy Elementary School and the firefighting mural inside Fire Station #3 on Forestville Rd.

photo 1

Written by Free Spirit, Kristy (who can be a Creative Genius, Fashionista or Lifelong Learner, depending upon the day of the week). Follow her online.

Art comes in all shapes and sizes. And downtown Raleigh features some of the coolest–on a grand scale. I’m talking about murals and other visual “urban art” that adorn the sides of area buildings and other landmarks. Over the years, these striking works transformed the landscape and provided eye-catching attention to what may have otherwise been just ordinary spaces. Some have been removed, while others stood the test of time. How many of these have you spotted?

The Cree Shimmer Wall: A reflective LED tree mural displayed on the side of the Raleigh Convention Center. The wall depicts an image of an oak tree and has become a symbol for Raleigh, the City of Oaks. The piece is made up of 79,464 light and dark aluminum squares that change shape and disappear as the squares flap in the wind. When the Barenaked Ladies played the Red Hat Amphitheater, they did a rap about the nearby Shimmer Wall.

Shimmering-wall-21Education Wall: Vernon Pratt’s 1992 piece, part of the Artworks for State Buildings (Education Building, Government Mall, off Wilmington and Lane Sts. in downtown Raleigh).

education wallArtspace: Once the city’s livery and later the Sanders Ford dealership, this 30,000-square-foot garage has been converted into artist studios where established and emerging craftsmen inspire and engage visitors in the visual arts process. It’s also the hub of First Fridays.

artspace

Butterfly Mural: This little building on Blount St. just sits in the middle of downtown amongst its larger counterparts. The design has faded over the years, but it’s still an interesting talking point.

butterfliesLincoln Theatre: The west-facing wall of Cabarrus St.’s Lincoln Theatre features a mural of Honest Abe behind the wheel of a Lincoln.

lincolnJohnson St. Mural: This piece was created on Raleigh’s Johnson St., across from the now defunct Hi 5 pizza place and sports bar.

johnsonCity Market: This mural on the edge of the City Market (Davie and Person Sts.) seems to be an ode to the agriculture of N.C. Check out the faces drawn into the fruits and vegetables.

city market“The Fantastic Sky Race”: The Raleigh Appearance Commission and the City of Raleigh approved a project in which students at the North Carolina State University College of Design created panel art for the parking garage at the corner of Davie and McDowell.

balloon boysTriangle Transit: The Dillon Supply Company building at the west end of Martin St. has been selected as the replacement for the current Amtrak station. The building features a 200-foot transportation-themed mural (including Trolley Pub) spanning the east and south facing walls of the property. A sign on the front car of the train reads, “Together we will place tracks to a future beyond anyone’s imagination.”

trainWatch for Picture This: Greater Raleigh Wall Murals, Part II coming soon…

Written by Free Spirit, Kristy (who can be a Creative Genius, Fashionista or Lifelong Learner, depending upon the day of the week). Follow her online.

 

So you’re looking for something educational and really, really fun to do with the kids (or maybe just the kid in you)? Look no further than the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh. Sometimes referred to as the “dinosaur museum” by kids (because it has a kickin’ dinosaur exhibit), it’s also about so much more. Named the Southeast’s largest natural history museum and one of the state’s most visited attractions, it features an array of permanent and special exhibits, live programs and educational films that appeal to audiences of all ages. The museum encourages visitors to explore the natural world and their connections to it. Here are some of my favorite parts:

1.  Nature Research Center: The new 80,000-square-foot wing, with state-of-the-art laboratories, research opportunities, interactive exhibits and live presentations given by top scientists. The goal of this addition is to make science a tangible and enjoyable experience while helping visitors understand the practical applications of it in their daily lives.

nature research center2.  Living Conservatory of Live Butterflies: Filled with tropical plants and animals, the fourth-floor Conservatory recreates the sights, sounds and smells of a dry tropical forest where butterflies flutter freely and feed on sweet nectar.

DSC_32133.  The Two-Toed Sloth: And speaking of the Conservatory, be sure to hunt for the sloth while you’re there. He seems to be a bit of a lazy fellow. “Is he awake? Is he alive? I want to know!” said Kelly Luter of Clayton. He doesn’t have a name, but he is very real. Can you catch him out and eating?

sloth4.  Siren Salamander: “We like the Eastern Lesser Siren; it’s a cool salamander-type animal with the lungs on the outside,” said Jenni Hart of Raleigh. “We can never leave the museum until we see him!”

Lesser siren5.  Emerald Tree Boas: Joyce Almond and George Fore of Raleigh said, “There are about five of these, all perfectly posed like this one in the Tropical Connections exhibition in the east building. Saw them for the first time this weekend.”

IMG_41306.  Gemstones: See beautiful gems and minerals, soil and seismic displays in the Underground North Carolina exhibit. “This one’s my favorite,” said Raleigh’s Roxie Comer. N.C. is the only state where the four most valuable gems—rubies, emeralds, sapphires and diamonds—have been found.

 

7.  Whale Bones: Comer’s daughter, Rachel, loves the two-story-high and half-block-long Coastal North Carolina exhibit hall. Home to N.C.’s entire ocean spectrum: from whales to wetlands, seahorses to sargassum, with giant whale skeletons hanging overhead.

DSC_32298.  Discovery Room: Young children and families share the fascination of exploring, filled with touchable objects and specimens from the museum’s collections. It’s an interactive atmosphere as you’re invited to touch, smell, hear and see real animals, fossils and other natural objects.

IMG_06309.  North Carolina Geological Map: Prominently displayed on the floor of the museum’s street level, this map illustrates broad groupings of rock with similar geologic histories (from Ancestral North America, Suspect Terranes, Exotic Terranes and Sedimentary Rocks). It also makes a great photo opportunity.

DSC_325410.  Dinosaurs: The museum’s Acrocanthosaurus skeleton is the most complete specimen of its kind on display in the world, seen pursuing a 50-foot-long prey. The dramatic Terror of the South exhibit is lit from above and enclosed by a stunning glass dome. Your kids will be talking about this one for weeks.

DSC_3227Get up close and personal with science and nature on your next visit to Greater Raleigh, and create your own list of “must see” elements. The museum is located at 11 W. Jones St. Hours: Mon.-Sat., 9am-5pm (open until 9pm every Thurs. and on First Fridays); Sun., noon-5pm. General admission is free.

Written by Kristy. Follow her online.

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