Starting March 27, there will be a 24-day countdown to the highly anticipated 24-hour grand opening of a new wing at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. In honor of the “Raleigh’s New World” countdown, we’re diligently sticking to the theme and offering up 24 fun factoids and insider secrets about Raleigh’s almost-complete Nature Research Center.

1) The Nature Research Center will attract an estimated 75,000 visitors its first day!

2) If you ever wondered what it’s like to ride a submersible 2,000 feet below the ocean’s surface, you can find out at the Center.

3) Visitors can observe science in action through floor-to-ceiling glass walls overlooking research.

4) The Center’s Opening Gala invitation featured a taste test experiment. Say what?

5) An invitation to the Opening Gala (one week before the free grand opening) is not required to attend! Tickets, however, are.

6) The Opening Gala After Party will feature test tube shooters.

7) In 2010, Dr. Meg Lowman was named Director of the Nature Research Center.

8) Dr. Lowman has helped design hot-air balloons and walkways for treetop exploration.

9) She has also authored more than 100 peer-reviewed publications!

10) Spider silk is five times stronger than steel.

11) One-quarter of animals are beetles.

12) Dinosaurs taste like chicken. Maybe.

13) Gila monsters might cure diabetes.  Find out more about all of these factoids at the Center.

14) The Center will be 80,000 square feet! It stretches from the current museum wing into another city block and is connected by skywalk.

15) The SECU Daily Planet has a 40x40-foot, high-definition screen. Now that’s a multimedia experience.

16) You can learn how to use scientific tools through hands-on activities at the Center.

17) The super cool Science Immersion Theater will provide a 360-degree view of natural science phenomena happening to the Earth.

18) And it’s 3-D!

19) The aquarium on the first floor is 10,000 gallons, perfect for showcasing the large fish inside.

20) Sometimes shrimp puke glows. Yep.

21) You can volunteer at the April 20 grand opening for an ultimate hands-on experience.

22) The Milky Way tastes like raspberries. Don’t you want to be an astronaut now?

23) Aliens have invaded our coast. And by aliens, we mean Indo-Pacific lionfish. Find out more April 20!

24) Yes, the grand opening is actually 24 hours.

We bet there are tons of things on this list that you didn’t already know, and we guarantee that there are at least 24 things you’ll get to know by attending the opening event for the Nature Research Center! Stay the whole weekend; plan your trip now.