You have probably noticed, if you have been to downtown Raleigh anytime in the last 14 months, the presence of a significant new construction project on Jones St. taking up the full city block between Dawson and Wilmington Sts.

It’s the new 80,000-square-foot wing of the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences, including its centerpiece, the hard-to-miss SECU Daily Planet. Well, the construction is winding to a close, the museum is preparing to open the doors and Greater Raleigh is gearing up to celebrate. The doors of the new wing will officially open for the first time on at 5pm on Friday, April 20, 2012 and stay open until 5pm on Saturday, April 21, making for the biggest all-night party downtown Raleigh has seen in years. is launching its own celebration and in keeping with the 24-hour opening, starting its countdown clock 24 days before the opening event, giving away great prizes and offering deals on hotels, food and attractions.

We want to invite you to join us! Make plans now to come to downtown Raleigh opening weekend, experience the new wing and everything it has to offer.

Or better yet, make plans to stay all weekend and take advantage of deals and discounts to make your stay more affordable. Be watching for more information about the opening and 24 reasons why it won't be the same without you!

To learn more about the opening, go to