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Museum of Life and Science announces opening of new Play to Learn experience

For Immediate Release – March 10, 2023 | 2 pm

Media Contact:
Matt Pusateri, Senior Director of Marketing
(919) 220-5429 x390 

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DURHAM, NC – The Museum of Life and Science today announced that its newest and biggest exhibit in years, Play to Learn, will open on Tuesday, March 21.

This reinvented and reimagined early-childhood experience is almost three times the size of the previous exhibit, which was one of the Museum’s most popular attractions. More than four years in the making, the Museum redesigned and rebuilt Play to Learn to offer babies, toddlers, and preschoolers a rich, creative, engaging experience that encourages them to explore, create, and experiment alongside caregivers and other children.

“Play to Learn isn’t just a play area. It’s a space that invites children to practice new skills, flex their imaginations, and engage with others,” said Matt Pusateri, the Museum’s Senior Director of Marketing and Communications. “The exhibit offers a unique opportunity for our youngest visitors to have hours of fun while learning and developing skills.”

The new exhibit features multiple areas for kids to explore, including:

  • The Gentle Zone: A safe, designated infant and toddler space for the Museum’s smallest learners to explore, practice rolling, crawling, and walking, and engage with sensory activities.
  • Ball Play: This reimagining of its popular ball track experience allows for a crash course in cause and effect. Children will learn about the physical world as they bounce, roll, and drop balls in exhibits designed to explore gravity and other forces.
  • Building: An open-ended zone for kids to manipulate, construct, and use objects for pretend play, featuring large foam blocks, small builders, tiny blocks for younger children, and a small stage for story times and special programs. Kids will learn math and science concepts through sorting, nesting, comparison, and cause and effect.
  • Pattern Play: An area for children to experiment with light and shadow, exploring pattern, shape, form, color, opacity, and color mixing, while developing self-awareness through interaction with the space and seeing the impact of their changes.

Museum members will have the chance to preview the exhibit on March 14 and 15 before it officially opens to the public on March 21.

“We can’t wait for kids and their caregivers to experience Play to Learn,” Pusateri said. “For years, we’ve been eager to provide a new and improved indoor experience for our youngest guests, and now, it’s finally here.”


About the Museum of Life and Science

Located less than five miles from downtown Durham, the Museum of Life and Science is one of North Carolina’s top family destinations. Our 84-acre campus includes a two-story science center, one of the largest butterfly conservatories on the East Coast, and beautifully landscaped outdoor exhibits. Our interactive experiences include Dinosaur TrailEllerbe Creek RailwayHideaway WoodsInto the MistEarth Moves, and Aerospace, which features one of the largest collections of Apollo-era NASA artifacts in the state. The Museum is also an AZA-accredited zoo, home to rescued black bears, lemurs, endangered red wolves, and more than 60 species of live animals. Last year, the Museum celebrated its 75th anniversary and its ongoing commitment to the communities of Durham, the Triangle, and North Carolina. To learn more, visit