Now on Exhibit

Rainforest Adventures (September 29, 2018-January 6, 2019)

Meet scientists and explore the ways they study a rainforest .Become a research assistant through assignments, costumes and props. Take a closer look at plant and material slides through an oversized microscope. Climb a kapok tree that’s 9 feet tall. Study plant and animal life in the different layers of the rainforest. Weave on a loom. Climb through a tree log to discover animals that make their homes there. Explore a gorilla nest. Discover products that come from a tropical rainforest. Visit children around the world and learn how their families help protect the rainforest. Learn about what you can do to help protect rainforest around the world.

Coming Soon

Be the Astronaut  (January 22 – May 19, 2019)

Experience the wonders of space when the state-of-the-art Be the Astronaut exhibit rockets into Rocky Mount. Plan a space mission, learn about the technology and math skills required to be an astronaut, and fly spaceships, pilot landers, and drive rovers. Do you have what it takes to Be the Astronaut?

Permanent Exhibits

PNC Live Animal Gallery

Experience first the natural elements that make life on Earth possible: air, water, and energy in the form of light and heat. Encounter the variety of animal life inhabiting our planet, including: reptiles, mammals, amphibians, birds, fish, and insects. Massive wall displays illustrate the diversity of fauna and flora right here in the Carolinas, from the mountains, down through the piedmont, and out to the coastal plain. Don’t be alarmed by the full sized black bear mother, cub, mountain lion, and other mounts waiting to greet you!

Venturing further, explore the range of habitats that make up our world, including: mountains, plains, wetlands, marshes, and rainforests. A simulated sea turtle nest depicts the early life cycle of these elusive marine reptiles. Look carefully to find red eyed tree frogs living in a display dedicated to rainforests. A combination of life-like and life-sized static exhibits and animatronics explores survival strategies and threats to large African fauna including hippos, rhinos and giraffes.

Willy’s Crab House overlooks the living marsh exhibit, a museum favorite featuring a 2,800 gallon salt water aquarium. Please don’t splash. But observe carefully and interact gently with a changing variety of Atlantic Ocean sea creatures including fish, spider crabs, hermit crabs, sea urchins and more.

Compare alligator and crocodile skulls in the wetland predator display, and take your picture with an incredibly life like gator mount. Nearby is a live alligator housed safely behind glass in an enclosure simulating the appearance of the natural environment. Also, learn to identify locally found snake species, both venomous and non-venomous, and the important role they play in the Carolina ecosystem.

Red Wolves, Loggerhead Turtles, and Peregrine Falcons are the subject of an exhibit looking at success stories of threatened and endangered species in our region. More intimate exhibits focus on what each of us can do to improve the world we share. Conserve energy. Protect and live with wildlife. Reduce, reuse, and recycle. And learn to stop pollution around your neighborhood and backyard, along area streams, and riverbanks.

Museum assistants are here to answer questions and conduct Live Animal Encounters for visiting groups. These allow visitors to interact with reptiles and other specimens from the Museum’s teaching collection.


Make your way around the curved wall of the Planetarium to find the Astronomy Exhibits, which include components designed for the Pacific Science Center’s nationally distributed Space Spot exhibition. Colorful interactive displays focus on space exploration, observational and stellar astronomy, planetary sciences, math, physics, cosmology and other celestial topics.

Exploring space in the Astronomy Exhibits you can:

  • Use familiar constellations (star pictures) to locate objects such as stars and galaxies.
  • Learn about the Lunar cycle by placing the Moon’s phases in correct order.
  • Match star patterns with their corresponding mythological characters.
  • Discover the true 3-dimensional nature of constellations seen from Earth.
  • Operate a working kinematoscope and see why some stars always remain above the horizon.
  • Adjust the energy output of a simulated star to see how temperature determines star color.
  • Sort planetary features such as craters and mountains according to where they are found.
  • Use a 3D model to discover the arrangement of planets in our solar system.
  • Notice surprising differences between the sizes of the Sun, Jupiter, and Earth.
  • Learn about gravity by lifting a 12 oz. soda can on Earth, the Moon, Jupiter, and the Sun.
  • Step on a specially programmed scale to discover your own weight on other worlds.
  • Appreciate truly astronomical numbers by advancing an electronic counter.
  • Experiment with a giant vapor filled tornado at the interactive vortex display.
  • Have your picture taken in a make believe Apollo spacesuit or rocket window.
  • Touch a 5,000 year old space rock and learn to tell a meteorite from a “meteorwrong.”

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