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Museum of Life and Science opens Play to Learn exhibit

For Immediate Release – March 21, 2023 | 2 pm

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

Photo gallery



DURHAM, NC – Today, the Museum of Life and Science opened its newest and biggest exhibit in years, Play to Learn.

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 redesigned and rebuilt Play to Learn exhibit offers 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 is 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 unique opportunities for our youngest visitors to have hours of fun while learning and developing skills.”

  • A adult and kid blowing a ball to make it roll
  • A boy at the interactive wall
  • A child in the building zone with large blocks
  • A girl in the pattern play area
  • girl on slide
  • A mother and son playing in the ball area
  • A girl and her mom inside Play to Learn
  • It’s ok to be a baby in here! In fact, it’s encouraged!
  • A wide view of the inside of the exhibit
  • A wide view of the inside of the exhibit
  • A wide view of the inside of the exhibit
  • A wide view of the inside of the exhibit
  • A wide view of the inside of the exhibit
  • Kids and a parent in the ball area

Play to Learn 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: Children will learn about the physical world as they bounce, roll, and drop balls in exhibits designed to explore gravity and other forces. It’s a crash course in cause and effect.
  • 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.

“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