Holidays in the Park
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Holidays in the Park

Holidays in the Park

Join us at the Museum as we light up the park in celebration of the holiday season!

December 2–6, 9–1316–20, and 26–27 


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 through our garden, Farmyard, and 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! We designed this year’s experience for fun, celebration, and safe physical distancing between groups.

Tickets for this experience with a train ride included are $19 per person. Tickets excluding a train ride are $16 per person. We want to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience, so each ticket has an entry and exit time to the Museum.


Thank you to our sponsor: Publix Super Markets Charities
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Thank you to our sponsor: Durham Coca Cola
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Holidays in the Park FAQ

If you don't find your answer here, please send an email to for more information

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. , Monday thru Friday between 8:30 am and 4:00 pm

When should I arrive?
At your purchased entry time. Early admission is not allowed. Late arrivals are not guaranteed entry or train ride if applicable. We will not give refunds if ticket holders are late and miss entry.

If you purchased a ticket including train ride remember that trains depart the station 20 minutes after your park entry time. We operate on a strict schedule so please allow time to park and make your way to the train station.

What do I need to check-in?
Your confirmation email — it can be printed or shown on your mobile device.

Will there be food and drink?
Yes. Sprout Café will be open with a limited menu for purchase.

What is the cost?
Entry only: $16 per person
Entry plus train ride: $19 per person

What resources are available for guests with sensory-processing needs?
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.

What does my ticket purchase include?
Entry-only tickets include:
A 75-minute evening stroll through our campus from Farmyard to Dino Trail
Holiday music and light displays
Special family photo spots throughout the experience
Pop up Museum gift shop
Magic Wings Butterfly House
Take-home activities
Sprout Café open for light snacks, hot cocoa, and coffee
Complimentary candy canes

Entry plus train ride tickets include:
All the above plus a seat on the Ellerbe Creek Railway taking one loop around the tracks to reveal a hidden gem.

Is the Museum’s main building open and where do I go when I arrive?
• The main Museum building is CLOSED. Outdoor Exhibits from Farmyard to Dino Trail are OPEN, including the Butterfly House.
• Please park in the main Museum parking lot 
• Enter through Gate #2.  (Look for the Snowman windsocks to the right of the Main Building)

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 entrance.

Will Santa be at this event?
Unfortunately, no, we will not get a visit from Santa this year. Due to safety and physical distancing requirements, we can’t do the up-close Santa experiences as in the past. However, the good news is that this year’s event will feature all-new, 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.

What about family members who are not riding the train?
Family members who are not riding the train may attend with you by purchasing the entry-only tickets.

Are tickets transferable?
Yes, but only by emailing reservations at least 48 hours before your purchased event date.

Can I change the date/time of my tickets? 
We are happy to assist you in changing your event date and time. We will make the first change at no charge, but subsequent changes will result in a $10.00 processing fee per transaction. All exchanges are based on availability and must be made by 4:00 pm the Monday before your scheduled train date. Changes can be made by emailing the Museum Reservations Office at, Monday through Friday, between 8:30 am and 4:00 pm. Availability is not guaranteed. 

Are there any refunds?
While this is an outdoor event, most weather conditions, including light rain, do not prevent us from running the event, and refunds will only be offered if we cancel. Our highest priority is the safety and comfort of our guests. If we cannot operate due to high winds, mechanical issues, heavy rain, thunderstorms/snowstorms, 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. Should we have to cancel a full or partial day for safety concerns, we will offer to reschedule you for another day, fully refund your ticket, or gratefully accept your donation. 

Please make your reservation and check your confirmation carefully to ensure you have booked the correct date and time. The Museum is not responsible for errors made during the registration process by the buyer. Please see above regarding changes if an error is made.

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 ticket holders 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?
Yes, masks must be worn by all guests age five and older at all times unless actively eating or drinking.

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Members receive UNLIMITED admission all year long!