clock 10 am – 5 pm
Holidays in the Park graphic

A celebration of the holiday season

Select nights in December (and January 2)

Join us at the Museum as we light up the park in celebration of the holiday season! Enjoy a memorable stroll with your loved ones through some of our outdoor and indoor spaces on evenings in December. Follow shimmering pathways and glowing trees from our gardens to the Dinosaur Trail. Enjoy the tropical temperatures inside our Magic Wings Butterfly House or stop by Sprout Café for a night-time snack. Take an illuminating train ride on the Ellerbe Creek Railway, passing colorful light displays along the way!

Event Schedule

At a glance schedule for Holidays in the Park

Ticket Prices:

Entry only: $16 per person
Entry plus train ride: $19 per person
Children 2 and under are free – if purchasing entry plus train: children under 2 are asked to sit on the lap of an adult ticket holder.

Entry Only tickets include:

  • An evening stroll through our campus from Butterfly House to Dino Trail.
  • Holiday music and light displays
  • Special family photo spots throughout the experience
  • Pop up Museum gift shop
  • Skate in your socks synthetic ice rink
  • Magic Wings Butterfly House with Buck Morgan display
  • Take-home activities
  • Sprout Café open for light snacks, hot cocoa, and coffee
  • Complimentary candy canes

Entry plus train ride:

All the above plus a seat on the Ellerbe Creek Railway taking one loop around the tracks to reveal a hidden woodland wonderland.

Please note each ticket has an entry time. If you purchased admission plus train, your train time is twenty minutes after your entry time. Trains depart from the station and run on a strict schedule.

Butterfly House with rainbow lights

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can/should buy a ticket?
Everyone three years of age and older. Children two and under enter for free, and if riding the train, must ride in the lap of a paid adult.

How many tickets can be purchased at once?
No restriction.

Is the event handicap accessible?
Yes. Please contact reservations if you need to purchase an accessible seat on the train. reservations@lifeandscience.org, Monday thru Friday between 9 am and 4:00 pm

When should I arrive?
At your purchased entry time. We will not give refunds if ticket holders are late and miss their trains or entry.

What do I need to check-in? Your confirmation email from Ticketleap.

Is the Museum’s main building open and where do I go when I arrive?

  • The main Museum building is closed. Outdoor Exhibits from Butterfly House to Dino Trail are open.
  • Please park in the main Museum parking lot
  • Enter through Gate #3.  (Look for ticket booth outside of the Butterfly House)

Are tickets for sale at the gate?
Most tickets are purchased in advance. We cannot guarantee any tickets will be available, but any remaining tickets will be available at the door.

What resources are available for guests with sensory processing needs?
On Wednesday, 12/1 entry times at 5:55 and 6:15 will cater to folks with sensory processing needs. The train will not blow the whistle or ring the bell. No music will play throughout the park during these times.

Cool down kits are available at the Train Station and the Butterfly House. If you need one, ask a staff member for assistance. Each kit offers relaxation strategies including deep breathing and sensory toys for muscle relaxation. These kits can be returned to any staff member or can be dropped off at the Admissions Desk on your way out.

Will Santa be at this event?
Due to safety and physical distancing measures, we aren’t hosting Santa experiences. However, the good news is that this year’s event will feature exciting, and memorable holiday experiences for the whole family.

Do we get off the train?
No, you do not get off the train for this event. The train will make one loop. Please stay on the train at all times until it returns to the station.

Family members who are not riding the train:
Family members who are not riding the train may attend with you by purchasing entry-only tickets.

Can I give my tickets to friends or family?
Yes, all tickets are transferable. To transfer your ticket you must contact our reservations office, reservations@lifeandscience.org at least 72 hours ahead of your ticket date and time. No transfers can happen on-site or on the day of your planned visit.

Can I change the date/time of my tickets?
We are happy to assist you in changing your admission date and time, changes must be made at least 72 hours in advance of your ticket date and time. All exchanges are based on availability and can be made by emailing reservations@lifeandscience.org during regular business hours M – F 9 am – 4 pm. Availability is not guaranteed. There is a $10 processing fee per transaction.

Are there any refunds?
Refunds will only be issued if the event is canceled. While this is an outdoor event, most weather conditions, including light rain, do not prevent us from running the train. Our highest priority is the safety and comfort of our guests. In the event the train is unable to operate due to high winds, mechanical issues, heavy rain, or thunderstorms, we will provide notice by 3:00 pm via email to the ticket buyer and leave a pre-recorded phone message at (919) 220-5429 ext. 344 and post a message to the main social media pages.

Should we have to cancel a full or partial day for safety concerns, your tickets are good for their original time on our dedicated rain date. If you prefer a refund, please contact reservations@lifeandscience.org

Please make your reservation and check your details carefully (before you check out) to ensure that you have booked the correct date and time. The Museum is not responsible for errors made during the registration process by the buyer.

What if the weather is bad and travel is difficult?
Please prepare for winter weather and traffic conditions.  The entry times are on a tight schedule to allow for the safest conditions possible. The Museum of Life and Science is not liable for road closures or delays that may make you miss your scheduled entry.

What if I miss my entry time or train?
The Museum is not responsible if ticketholders cannot make their scheduled entry or train time and cannot guarantee entry or seats at later times, as they are likely to be sold out.

Do I need to wear a mask?
In line with Durham County guidelines, we require all visitors five and older to wear masks while indoors. No exemptions or exceptions. Please stay six feet apart from other groups. Thank you for helping keep everyone safe.

Thank you to our sponsors

Strata Clean Energy, Publix Supermarket Charities, and Durham Coca-Cola

Children run through light tunnel