Field Trip FAQs

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Making your registration

What information do I need to make a reservation?

How many chaperones should I plan to bring?

What is your cancellation policy?

Do I have to pay anything when I make a reservation?

Before your visit

Can my group experience everything at the Museum?

What should we wear?

What's the policy on inclement weather?

How do I purchase train tickets?

Getting here and checking in

When can we arrive?

How do I get to the Museum?

About my field trip experience

How much time does it take to see everything?

What are the most popular exhibits?

Where do we eat lunch?

Is there a gift shop? 

About school programs

Where can I view programs available at my school or at the Museum?

Where can I view a program list by grade level?

Are Museum programs aligned with my students' essential standards?

How many students can participate in one school program?


What information do I need to make a reservation?
We ask that you have your specific date and time of arrival and an alternate date, your school name, billing address, and telephone number; name of your school district; names and email addresses of teachers in charge on day of visit; grade level and number of students, teachers and chaperones.

If you would like to book a program, please include the name of program you wish to book.

How many chaperones should I plan to bring?
• For students in Pre-K–grade 2, we suggest a minimum of 1 adult per every 5 students.
• For grades 3–8, we suggest a minimum of 1 adult per every 8 students. 

Is there a cancellation policy? 
We are happy to cancel or reschedule reservations for visits more than two weeks away. Visits that are cancelled or rescheduled without two weeks’ notice result in forfeiture of the $100 pre-payment due at time of reservation as a cancellation fee. Notification of cancellations must be made in writing and emailed to reservations@ncmls.org

Do I have to pay anything when I make a reservation?
a pre-payment of $100 towards the total visit amount is due to the Museum by September 15th for Fall reservations, January 15th for Spring reservations or within 14 days of reservation. Payments may be made by phone to 919-220-5429 x313 or via check by mail. Failure to remit payment by deadline may result in cancellation of the reservation. If trip is cancelled or rescheduled for any reason within two weeks of visit date, $100 pre-payment is forfeited as cancellation fee.

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Can my group experience everything at the Museum?
School groups have access to all parts of the Museum - indoors and outdoors. This means you can play and learn in our two-story interactive science center and then head outdoors to wander our 84-acre campus full of life-size dinosaur replicas, 8 treehouses, a field full of mist, and black bear, red wolf, and lemur environments. 

What should we wear?
Since the Museum provides indoor and outdoor exploration options, we recommend dressing for both indoor and outdoor play. Closed-toe shoes are always our recommended choice (especially as you head outside). 

What's the policy on inclement weather? In the case of severe inclement weather impacting your trip, please contact our Reservations department via email at reservations@ncmls.org. We will do our best to reschedule your visit and/or program if needed, as our calendar permits. For information on Museum weather delays and/or closures, please call 919-220-5429 or visit our website at lifeandscience.org.

How do I purchase train tickets?
Train tickets are purchased at check-in, based on availability. The cost of a train ticket is $5 per student, teacher and chaperone. A minimum of one adult must ride per five children. There are no refunds for missed or unused train tickets

When can we arrive?
Check-in for groups begins at 9:30am. This is the time when you will get chaperone stickers, make your payment, store your lunches if you brought them, and get your group ready to explore. 

Where do I park?
Buses will arrive and unload where group check-in is located across the street from the Main Museum. Chaperones should park and meet with your group there. You can find a map for chaperone parking locations here.

After your group has checked-in, your bus will be directed to an offsite parking location for the duration of your visit. Bus drivers are welcome to return to the Museum via a Museum-provided shuttle until it is time to retrieve your bus for departure.

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How much time does it take to see everything?
It's easy to spend the whole day with us and explore every indoor/outdoor experience! Our outdoor experiences may take more time, especially factoring in the time to get to different parts of our campus. We generally recommend about an hour per outdoor exhibit and a half-hour for each indoor exhibit. 

What are the most popular exhibits?
Every exhibit is worth visiting - but we do have a few favorites by our visiting school groups! 

Catch the Wind is the perfect place to get outdoors and get an interactive look at how wind affects our environment. Whether you're sailing a boat, experimenting with mist, or exploring how to make the most efficient flying seed, there's a part of this exhibit for you!

Launch Lab is another favorite for upper ages. Located on the first floor of the Museum, this space features wind tubes for testing flying objects, and a mechanical paper airplane launcher to help your students perfect the best airplane design. 

Finally, don't miss out on Magic Wings Butterfly House! Walk into a 3-story tall glass conservatory featuring over one hundred tropical plants and hundreds of exotic butterflies. Time your visit just right and you can experience one of our daily butterfly releases of newly hatched butterflies into the conservatory. See our full daily program schedule here.

Where do we eat lunch?
Lunch takes place at the Picnic Dome next to group check-in and across from the Museum. Picnic tables are available first-come, first-served. An unmonitored non-climate-controlled space is available for group lunch storage--ask a Museum staff member for the location near the Picnic Dome.

Is there a gift shop?
Yes! You can visit our school group store, Gizmo Garage, located next to Soundspace just beyond the main lobby. Prices in Gizmo Garage range from $0.50 to $15.00, including tax, to make shopping fast and easy for kids. Storage of your group's purchases is available upon request. Save some time for a quick trip to Gizmo Garage, our kid’s souvenir store. Prices include the tax, and with all items under $15, it’s simple for even the youngest student to choose a special item to remember their trip. 

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Where can I view programs available at my school or at the Museum?
For our field trip special programs that can be done at your school or at the Museum, click here and then navigate to Step 2.

Are Museum programs aligned with my students' essential standards?
Yes, they are. Just look for the pencil icon to see the NC Essential Standard Strands that align with each program.

How many students can participate in one school program?
Each program is designed to accommodate a maximum of 30 students. However, we can accommodate larger groups—just ask our Reservations team.

The minimum for a 30 minute program is 12 students. The minimum for a 50 minute program is 20 students. Programs can be booked with fewer students for an additional fee to meet minimum requirements.

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