Dr. Koster's story
As one of the nation's earliest state museums, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences has a long tradition of teaching generations how to view and interact with the natural environment. It should come as no surprise, then, that the man at the helm of this hallowed institution has spent a lot of time exploring the planet.
Dr. Emlyn Koster's journey began and is rooted in geology, and his path eventually led him to Raleigh, N.C., where, impressed by the city’s friendliness, museum culture and natural beauty, he accepted the job of museum director and has been integral in creating an accessible, enriching experience for visitors of all ages.
The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences offers an enticing experience that’s part-children’s museum, science center, aquarium, zoo and natural history museum. You could easily justify spending more than one day visiting, which is easy to do since general admission is free.
As N.C.’s most popular museum, the downtown Raleigh building is impossible to miss, with a gigantic three-story globe located at the entrance. Known as the SECU Daily Planet, it’s an iconic reminder of the global horizons that Dr. Koster and other scientists on staff share.
Make a trip
Between the more than 25 permanent exhibitions plus featured and traveling exhibitions, there's always a world to explore at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Start with the Nature Exploration Center, with a collection that dates all the way back to 1879. Highlights include: a massive blue whale skeleton; dioramas of N.C.'s Mountain, Piedmont and Coastal Plain regional habitats and wildlife; live animals across the center; movies at the WRAL 3D Theater; and the ever-popular "Terror of the South" exhibit, with the only real Acrocanthosaurus dinosaur skeleton on display in the world!
Grab a fresh, local bite to eat at the museum's Daily Planet Cafe, then explore the newer, state-of-the-art Nature Research Center. You can't miss: the three-story SECU Daily Planet theater with a 42-foot-tall screen rotating information; a virtual ride in a submersible thousands of feet under the Atlantic Ocean; the hands-on Naturalist Center and Natural World Investigate Lab where you can see scientists at work; a T. rex fossil; and more!
“There might be a perception that all natural science museums are for children—but we are all children at one point. We all should be extra curious and, in many ways, concerned as to what humanity's relationship is with nature.”