A Trip to the Museum: North Carolina Museums you and your family will love

History buffs, science fanatics, art enthusiasts and people simply interested in North Carolina’s past need to look no further than the list below. North Carolina has much to offer in the way of cultural and educational institutions, and we’ve gathered a group you and your family are sure to enjoy. As an added bonus, a day at these museums won’t break the bank. Some are even free!

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

11 West Jones Street, Raleigh, NC 27601


Hours: Tuesday–Sunday, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Cost: Free General Admission 

The southeast’s largest natural history museum features dinosaurs, whale skeletons, live animals, walk-through dioramas, special exhibits, hands-on science education and accessible scientists. Make sure to see the Dueling Dinosaurs exhibit which is an incredible fossil containing the skeletons of two extinct animals – a tyrannosaur and a triceratops. This museum was an IMLS (Institute of Museum and Library Science) National Medal Finalist in 2014.

North Carolina Museum of Art

2110 Blue Ridge Road, Raleigh, NC 27607


Hours: Wednesday–Sunday, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Cost: Free General Admission 

Since the initial acquisition in February 1952 of 158 paintings, two sculptures and 25 pieces of furniture and other decorative arts objects, purchased with a $1 million appropriation of state funds, the collection of the North Carolina Museum of Art has grown steadily. It includes major holdings in European painting from the Renaissance to the 19th century (enhanced in 1960 and 1962 by an extraordinary gift from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation of 71 works dating primarily from the Italian Renaissance and baroque periods), Egyptian funerary art, sculpture and vase painting from ancient Greece and Rome, American art of the 18th through 20th centuries and international contemporary art. In addition, the museum offers multiple events, programs and performing art exhibitions as well as a park featuring both permanent and temporary art installations, environmentally sustainable landscapes, colorful and contemporary gardens, 4.7 miles of recreational trails and a terraced pond.

International Civil Rights Center & Museum 

134 S Elm Street, Greensboro, NC 27401


Hours: Monday – Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Cost: $20 Adults; $15 Students (K-12)

The International Civil Rights Center & Museum (ICRCM), located in Greensboro, is an archival center, collecting museum and teaching facility devoted to the international struggle for civil and human rights. This national landmark and national site of conscience celebrates the nonviolent protests of the 1960 Greensboro sit-ins that served as a catalyst in the civil rights movement. Our vision is to memorialize the courageous stand of the Greensboro Four as they launched, for posterity, the sit-in movement on February 1, 1960.

North Carolina Transportation Museum 

1 Samuel Spencer Drive, Spencer, NC 28159



April – Labor Day

Tuesday – Saturday: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Sunday: 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Memorial Day, Monday, May 27

9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Cost for Admission & Train Ride: $12 for Adults; $10 for Seniors (65+)/Military; $8 for Children 3-12 years of age

The NC Transportation Museum is a historic site, once home to Southern Railway’s largest steam locomotive repair facility in the southeast, and a museum featuring all types of transportation history – railroading, automotive, aviation and more.

This is a great place to visit to see historical cars, trains and fire engines, and even an old Piedmont plane being restored. Well worth the trip if you love history and have an interest in how we get things from here to there! Of special interest for kids are old train cars, a hospital car, mail car and an old steam engine where you can take the driver’s seat. 

North Carolina Museum of History (A Smithsonian Affiliate)

5 East Edenton Street, Raleigh, NC 27601



Tuesday–Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Sunday: 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Cost: Free General Admission 

A fascinating place to learn about the history of North Carolina. This museum features the impressive 20,000-square-foot permanent exhibition called “The Story of North Carolina,” which traces the state’s history more than 14,000 years. Visitors can explore everything from historic houses to a life-size replica of the Wright brothers’ plane, the “Wright Flyer.” Other exhibits focus on themes like sports and the Civil War, with rotating temporary exhibits.


120 West 3rd Street, Winston Salem, NC 27101 (Downtown)



Monday-Friday: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Sunday: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Cost: $15 Adults; $12 Youth (Ages 1-19): $13 Seniors (Ages 62+); $2 Off Admission During School Year for Military Personnel (with valid military ID); Free Ages 11 Months and Under, Members & Educators; Group Rates Available

Kaleideum was created from the July 2016 merger of the Children’s Museum of Winston-Salem and SciWorks, the Science Center and Environmental Park of Forsyth County. Currently, the museum operates two locations – Kaleideum Downtown (formerly The Children’s Museum of Winston-Salem) and Kaleideum North (formerly SciWorks). See website for more information on the history and impact these organizations have had in the Winston-Salem area and beyond. From events and programs like Kids’ Night Out, Invention Convention and Exceptional Night at the Museum, Kaleideum offers something for everyone and new learning opportunities for every child. 


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