The 24-hour grand opening of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences’ new wing (Nature Research Center) is approaching, and we’re counting the days to the April 20 event. When you attend the grand opening yourself, you’ll enjoy interactive exhibits, cutting-edge multimedia experiences and hands-on activities, but what about the less obvious knowledge you can gather from the Nature Research Center (NRC), like the facts behind the exhibits and the features of the wing itself?
We’ve got 24 fun facts that will take you deeper into the science and construction of Raleigh’s new research and education gem—each involving a number.
1) There is more than one mile of track lighting in the new wing.
2) Ninety-five percent of the lighting system is LED.
3) LED lamps in the wing run on only 12 watts, instead of 100 watts for an equivalent halogen lamp.
4) The first floor’s articulated right whale, Stumpy, is 52 feet long and weighs 495 pounds.
5) Each of Stumpy the Whale’s jawbones is 14 feet long.
6) There are 400 sheets of baleen in the mouth of a right whale.
7) The main floor to the top of the atrium is 86-feet high.
8) The granite at the front entrance of the NRC was mined 250 miles away in Culpeper, Va.
9) The SECU Daily Planet is approximately 72 feet in diameter.
10) 472 stainless steel plates cover the outside of the Daily Planet.
11) 479 tons of soil were removed from the build site of the NRC, cleaned and reused elsewhere.
12) There are 3,600 5.3-inch glass squares in the Atrium Ribbon sculpture.
13) Each glass square can display 256 shades of gray when charged with pulses of DC voltage.
14) It takes less than 60 watts to power the entire Atrium Ribbon display.
15) There are 10,000 gallons of saltwater in the reef exhibit and aquarium on the first floor.
16) There are 80,000 square feet in the new wing.
17) There have been roughly 1,100 “seen to fall” meteorites recorded worldwide.
18) The NRC’s collection of meteorites includes 10 percent of this total.
19) The “Postcards from Space” exhibit displays a meteorite that is 5,200,000,000 years old.
20) The meteorite is 400,000,000 years older than our Solar System.
21) There are 30,000 pop rivets in the screen of the Daily Planet theater.
22) Each rivet had to be hand-painted white after instillation.
23) There are 29,930,472 red, green and blue pixels in the Daily Planet’s theater screen.
24) 150,000 gallons of water can potentially collect in the cistern below the NRC for use in irrigation.
Impress your friends and family at the grand opening (or anytime this Spring) with these fun facts, and you’ll appreciate the Nature Research Center even more because you’re a Lifelong Learner.