Plan a Visit

84 Acres to Discover

Located less than five miles from downtown Durham, the Museum of Life and Science is one of North Carolina’s top family destinations. Our interactive science park includes a two-story science center, one of the largest butterfly conservatories on the East Coast and beautifully landscaped outdoor exhibits which are safe havens for rescued black bears, lemurs, and endangered red wolves. With over 84-acres of outdoor exhibits and over 60 species of live animals, there is always more to explore.


433 W. Murray Avenue
Durham, NC 27704
Phone: (919) 220­-5429

View Campus Map


Want to know what's happening today, tomorrow, or two weeks from now? Click on the button below to find our pop-up exhibits, camps, classes, AfterHours events and much more!

View Our Calendar


summer hours:
march 13 – september

monday – Saturday

10am - ­5pm*


12 - ­5pm

winter hours:
September 12 – March 12

Tuesday – Saturday

10am - ­5pm*


12 - ­5pm

*Open to Members at 9am

2017 schedule: 
 Monday, Jan. 2  New Year's Day - Sunday, Jan. 1
 Martin Luther King Day - Monday, Jan. 16  Presidents' Day - Monday, Feb. 20
 Easter Weekend - Friday, Apr. 14 – Sunday, Apr. 16  Columbus Day - Monday, Oct. 9
 Memorial Day - Monday, May 29  Thanksgiving Day - Thursday, Nov. 23
 Independence Day - Tuesday, July 4  Christmas Day - Monday, Dec. 25
 Labor Day - Monday, Sept. 4  
 Veterans Day - Friday, Nov. 10 (observed) & Saturday, Nov. 11  
 Christmas Eve (close at 3pm) - Sunday, Dec. 24  
 New Year's Eve - Sunday, Dec. 31  


General Admission $16
Senior/Military $14
Children ages 3­-12 $11
Non-school groups of 10+ (48-hr notice required; learn more) $10
Children age 2 and under FREE
Member Train Ride
General Train Ride

*Subject to 7.5% sales tax on admission fees

Before You Visit FAQs


To accommodate overflow, complimentary offsite parking with shuttle service will be available entire year on Saturdays, select Sundays, and holidays. Shuttles run on a first-come, first-served basis.  

There are multiple racks that accommodate up to 15 bicycles located on the front entry plaza.

Two electric car chargers are located in the main lot.

Food and Drink

We offer an onsite full-service cafe and a coffee bar. Beverage vending machines (cash-only) are also located throughout campus. See Museum map for cafe and vending locations.

We understand that visitors may need a beverage or snack in order to fully enjoy a day at the Museum, so we allow the following outside food or beverages beyond entry into the Museum:

  • Spill-proof and re-usable sippy cups, travel mugs, and water bottles.
  • Light snacks for children in single-serving, re-sealable containers (for example, small bags of grapes, baby carrots, or goldfish crackers).

We ask that these are served on benches or other seating adjacent to exhibits. Cafe tables are for Sprout Cafe customers only. 

Coolers and picnics are only allowed at the Picnic Dome, conveniently located across the street from the main Museum building. 

For the safety of our animals, disposable straws are prohibited on campus – including juice boxes. 


The Museum strives to be accessible to everyone. In addition to barrier-free exhibit experiences throughout, there are 15 accessible parking spaces, all restrooms are accessible, and the train accommodates one wheelchair at a time. Wheelchairs are complimentary and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Visitors will be asked to leave an ID as a deposit when borrowing a wheelchair.

The Museum offers resources specifically for guests on the autism spectrum, their families, and caregivers. Visitors who have similar social-communication challenges, or even typically developing guests may also find these resources helpful.

To access our social narratives, visual schedules, activity systems, or cool-down cards, please click here. We offer noise-cancelling headphones and sunglasses at the front desk. Staff members who wear a blue "Helper" badge can assist you or a family member if you or someone in your group needs extra assistance.

And please tell us how we can make the Museum more accessible! We value your participation and information.


There are restrooms located throughout campus and two single-occupant restrooms on the second floor of the main building. Everyone is welcome to use the restroom they feel comfortable using. Changing tables are available in all of our restrooms. See Museum map for restroom locations.

Service Animals and Pets

Service dogs are welcome at the Museum. Please inform the Admissions Desk if a service dog is accompanying you.

Animals, other than service dogs, are not allowed anywhere on Museum grounds. North Carolina state law prohibits owners from leaving dogs unattended in a vehicle under conditions that are likely to cause suffering, injury or death to the animal due to heat. Animal Control will be called if pets are noticed to be left unattended on Museum grounds and deemed to be in unsafe conditions.

Stroller Rentals

Strollers are available for rent on a first-come, first-served basis from the admissions desk. Visitors will be asked to leave an ID as a deposit when renting a stroller.

Single strollers: $2 per day
Double strollers: $4 per day

Coat Room and Lockers

Coin-operated lockers are available for $0.25 and are located behind the admissions desk in the coat room. Valuables should not be left in the coat room, unless locked in lockers.

Free Wi-Fi

Free Wi-Fi is available in our main building and inside Magic Wings Butterfly House and Bayer Insectarium.

Smoking Policy

According to Durham County Ordinance, the Museum grounds are smoke-free including electronic/vapor cigarettes.

Caregiver Areas

We have three designated semi-private areas for nursing mothers or families who need to take a break (see Museum map for locations). 

Photo Policy

You are welcome to take photos and/or video for personal use only; commercial photography requires written permission from the Museum’s Marketing Department. To discuss your commercial photography/videography needs please contact

The Museum occasionally photographs and/or records exhibits and programs for advertising and promotional use. Should you have objection to the Museum using photographs/recordings of you or your children, please notify an admissions desk staff member when you notice photography or filming being conducted for the above-mentioned reasons and we will make all reasonable accommodations for your family.

Dining and Shopping

Sprout Cafe is our onsite full-service cafe featuring local ingredients and unique, healthy on-the-go options.

Make a stop in Elements Museum Store and Coffee Bar for gourmet coffee drinks, grab and go snacks for all ages, and a variety of handmade gifts and unique toys. Looking for the perfect souvenir from your visit? Explore Gizmo Garage Gift Shop for gifts $15.00 and under.

Durham Community Days

Durham Community Days is one of the ways we provide access for all families in our community. Admission is waived for Durham County residents with ID.

Proper identification (preferably NC driver's license) showing proof of Durham County residence for each adult is required to receive free admission.

Limit 5 children per adult resident.


2016–2017 Durham Community Days

June  Wednesday, June 8 
  Monday, June 27
September Wednesday, September 7
  Sunday, September 25
October Wednesday, October 12
  Thursday, October 27
November Thursday, November 10
  Sunday, November 20
December Thursday, December 1
  Sunday, December 11
January Thursday, January 12, 2017 
  Thursday, January 26
February Wednesday, February 1
  Friday, February 17
  Sunday, February 26
March Sunday, March 5
April Sunday, April 9
May Sunday, May 7 
  Tuesday, May 16
  Monday, May 22

Members receive UNLIMITED admission all year long!