Also known as the “City of Oaks”, Raleigh is a relaxed, family-friendly city known for the towering Oak Trees that line many of its streets. As the capital of North Carolina, Raleigh is best known for its blossoming arts and culture scene. Particularly popular in the city is its downtown area, which is home to a good number of galleries and museums. Planning your next family trip to Raleigh? Why not enjoy a fun day out with the kids at one of the city’s museums? We’ve chosen the best children’s museums In Raleigh, North Carolina, just for you. Read on to learn more about these fun, family-friendly institutions.
1. Marbles Museum
As its quirky and playful name suggests, Marbles Museum is one of the most fun and engaging children’s museums in the city! This museum has plenty of activities and exhibitions that kids of all ages can enjoy. Creative kids are sure to love getting their hands dirty at the Art Loft, while athletic and energetic kids will have a blast at the Power2Play exhibition. Kids can also learn about practical life skills, like healthy money habits, at exhibitions like Moneypalooza. A day spent with your kids at Marbles Museum is sure to be a memorable one!
Address: 201 East Hargett Street, Raleigh, NC 27601
Website: Marbles Museum
Price: From 6 USD
2. North Carolina Museum of History
Are you a history buff? Do your kids love hearing stories? Then, the North Carolina Museum of History is a great place for you and your kids to visit! Here, you will learn more about the history of North Carolina, from its important figures and booming industries to landmark events across time. Though many of the exhibitions are for adults, the museum hosts plenty of child-friendly activities, as well! Their History Corner and History Hunter events help kids learn in an exciting, gamified way. The museum also hosts game nights and other events in collaboration with kid-oriented organizations like the Girl Scouts.
North Carolina Museum of History
Address: 5 East Edenton Street, Raleigh, North Carolina 27601
Website: North Carolina Museum of History
Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 9am - 5pm; Sun: 12pm - 5pm
3. North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
What better way to spark your little ones’ interest in the sciences than by taking them to an interactive science museum? The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences encourages kids to explore the world around them. At the Nature Exploration Center, kids can visit the Discovery Room to enjoy fun, guided sensory activities - digging up fossils, touching bird feathers, and watching how bees move in a beehive, just to name a few! Your kids are also sure to love the fossil displays, where they will find out how creatures of the past looked like.
North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
Address: 11 West Jones Street, Raleigh, NC 27601
Website: North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
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4. North Carolina Museum of Art
Encourage your kids’ creativity and love for the arts by taking them to the North Carolina Museum of Art! This museum features works by talented contemporary artists. The museum regularly hosts family-friendly activities, like art camps, weekend museum tours, family days, and even explore-on-your-own packs. On days when the museum is closed, your kids are still free to play at the museum’s park.
North Carolina Museum of Art
Address: 2110 Blue Ridge Road, Raleigh, NC
Website: North Carolina Museum of Art
Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 10am - 5pm (closed on Mon)
Nearby children's museums
5. Museum of Life and Science
Previously known as the NC Children’s Museum, the Museum of Life and Science is one of the largest on the East Coast. With over 84 acres (34 ha) of interactive space, the activities that you and your kids can enjoy at the museum are endless! There are numerous exhibits on wildlife, physics, the dinosaurs, and many other aspects of the natural world. Your kids are sure to enjoy each one, as all of the museum’s exhibits encourage kids to run, jump, and play while learning! If you’re visiting Raleigh in the summer, you can even get your kids - from pre-k to the 8th grade - to participate in the museum’s highly popular annual summer camp.
Museum of Life and Science
Address: 433 W. Murray Avenue, Durham, NC 27704
Website: Museum of Life and Science
Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 10am - 5pm (closed on Mon)
Price: 21 USD
6. Kidzu Children's Museum
The Kidzu Children’s Museum is another beloved children’s museum in North Carolina. Originally just a storefront along Franklin Street, the Kidzu Children’s Museum has grown to be an 8,500 sq ft multi-sensory, play-focused space where kids can be free to have fun while learning about science and the arts! The museum holds plenty of hands-on activities for kids 0 - 10 years old, where they can create their own art with paint, clay, and many other materials. Let your kids’ imagination run wild at the Kidzu Children’s Museum!
Kidzu Children's Museum
Website: The Kidzu Children’s Museum
Price: 8.50 USD
7. The Playhouse Children's Museum
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
Does your little one have a bit of an independent streak? Let them run free and learn practical life skills by spending a day at the Playhouse Children’s Museum! Owned and managed by a local husband and wife duo, the Playhouse Children’s Museum is specially designed to encourage pretend play. With its playhouses that simulate a mechanic shop, a grocery, a barn, and other “grown-up” settings, kids can play, learn important skills, and interact with other kids, at the same time.
The Playhouse Children's Museum
Address: 1520 Broad St., Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina
Website: The Playhouse Children’s Museum
Opening hours: Hours may vary per season
Price: From 9 USD for non-members
8. Children’s Museum Of Alamance County
Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account
Children’s Museum Of Alamance County aims to help kids bring out their inner leaders. The museum boasts a very colorful, child-friendly play area that allows kids (and kids-at-heart) to learn, discover, and explore within a safe and highly engaging space. It features various play areas, such as the Building Zone, Science Adventure, Wobble and Roll, and Jane’s Cafe, which lets kids move, play, and pretend. The museum also aims to develop kids’ physical, intellectual, social, emotional and interpersonal skills through their exhibitions and programs.
Children’s Museum Of Alamance County
Address: 217 South Main Street, Graham, NC 27253
Website: Children’s Museum Of Alamance County
Opening hours: Tue - Sat: 10am - 5pm (closed on Sun & Mon)
Price: 5 USD
9. Imagination Station Science & History Museum
As the name suggests, Imagination Station Science & History Museum is a great place to let your kids’ imaginations run wild! The museum features eight hands-on exhibits that allow kids to interact, play, and learn. Just to name a few, in the Science on a Sphere exhibit, kids are sure to be mesmerized by the projections of the planets and stars. Meanwhile, kids can be active and learn more about how their bodies work at the high-energy Body-ology exhibit. In addition to their exhibitions, the museum also offers educational programs, specifically for home-schooled kids and pre-schoolers, which your child will thoroughly enjoy.
Imagination Station Science & History Museum
Address: 224 Nash St. SE, historic downtown Wilson
Website: Imagination Station Science & History Museum
Opening hours: Tue - Sat: 9am - 5pm; Sun: 1pm - 4pm (closed on Mon)
Price: 5.5 USD
10. Ackland Art Museum
For older kids and teens, a trip to the Ackland Art Museum would be a great way to learn more about world history and modern art. The Ackland Art Museum houses a rich collection of art and artifacts from all over the world. In fact, there are over 19,000 pieces that you can view! The museum also holds a good number of educational programs, as well as guided or self-guided tour options available. If you visit on a Sunday, you and your kids will also take part in the free art classes and other family-friendly activities that are regularly held.
Ackland Art Museum
Address: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 101 S. Columbia Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27514
Website: Ackland Art Museum
Opening hours: Tue - Sat: 10am - 5pm; Sun: 1pm - 5pm (closed on Mon)
Family fun in Raleigh
Although many might think of museums as more appropriate for adults, there are many museums that cater to kids and families. Museums made especially for kids are excellent spaces to encourage learning, fuel creativity, and even keep kids active and playful! We hope that these excellent children’s museums will help you and your little ones enjoy some family fun on your next trip to Raleigh.
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