Friday, April 16, 2010

Museum of Life + Science

Blogs can not convey how much C and I both loved this place. But since this is a blog, I will give it a whirl.

Really, though, it's easier to ask what's not to love?! A huge facility with everything for everyone and every age. We started in the indoor play area specifically restricted to toddlers and infants. Nice and padded, age appropriate toys, and no older kids to tromp over the wee ones! The older kids have their own indoor play area right next door.

We then got our entourage together and dined al fresco at the museum cafe (called Grayson's). The food really wasn't great, and they aren't very flexible with their ordering (don't ask for special orders, modifications, or to buy specific side items a la carte). But they have loads of high chairs and a lot of tables outside. It was very comfortable and kid-friendly.

We decided to bypass a lot of the indoor exhibits, the farmyard animals, and the outdoor play equipment simply because of time. Instead, we chose one of the three paths to meander on, and took the babies to see the wolves, black bears, and lemurs (by the by, the lemurs were a smash hit although all I could think of was Madagascar).

And as if it couldn't get better, we made our way through the butterfly house. Fluttering colors everywhere. It was simply beautiful. If I am ever filthy rich, I will be building one of those things. It was also a real "mom" moment to enjoy it with my son. He watched, with wonder, and pointed at all the butterflies as they swirled overhead and by his stroller.

I want to take C back soon to hit the train, and also walk through the Dinosaur trail. It may just be, too, that I go through some of the exhibits and learn something as well (gasp!).

This place truly is great, but let's get down to the brass tacks about some issues people have mentioned:

- It can get crowded. Because this museum has everything, it is a popular place to be. I felt, though, that the place is big enough that it can easily amuse everyone without feeling too terribly crowded. (Of course, I haven't been on free Wednesdays.) I suggest timing your visit to get out of the madding crowd, or just roll with it and be braced, trying to remember that other children and families can add to the experience.

- It costs to get in, unless you have a friend who is a member and you can ride on their coattails.

The break down is as follows:
Adults are $12.50
Children (3 -12) are $9.50
Children under 3 are free
**If you are a Durham County resident, it is free for you Wednesdays 1-5 pm.**

I, personally, think it is worth it (provided you don't also pay to eat lunch at their cafeteria. And I am fairly certain you can picnic on the premises but call ahead to confirm if you want to take advantage of that option.). There really is so much here that you can't find anywhere else. But you have to determine your own threshold for price per hour for entertainment. We were there for over 3 hours. So when you look at cost per hour, not too bad in my opinion. But it's your wallet and your call.

Plenty of free parking. Stroller accessible. Lots of changing tables around.

This is good for a beautiful day or a rainy day; with the family or with friends; with out of town guests or just because you have lived here for years and never been. Enjoy the splendor in your own backyard and go!

North Carolina Museum of Life + Science
http://www.ncmls.org/
433 West Murray Avenue
Durham, NC 27704
Phone: (919) 220-5429

Monday-Saturday: 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Sunday: Noon - 5:00 p.m.

1 Comments:

At July 23, 2010 at 2:57 PM , Anonymous Laura Roe said...

JOIN! It's the best value. We go from CH about once a week and there's so much to do that you can do different parts each week (and some parts over and over). Plus, I think part is tax-deductible and members get first dibs at Santa Train tickets (also a blast). The biggest perk is that members enter at 9 AM! This is the absolute best time at the museum - on the weekends it's more crowded than week days and definitely Wed PM is very busy. As a member you also get visitation projection reports where they let you know how many field trippers are scheduled for the upcoming week, which can help with planning. But even when I've been there with loads of field trips, there's enough stuff to do that you can always divert. The dino trail rocks, although I have a lot of sentiment for the old one on the other side of the street that's no longer open. You can picnic on the "old side" of the museum under the cover. I do think you should try Grayson's again. They typically have a great selection of fresh fruits and their sides of fruit for the kids meals are "real" and yummy. It's definitely not gourmet but it's decent.

You can also adventure over to the great playground and water feature at Edison Johnson next door.

 

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