Charlotte Nature Museum

Charlotte Nature Museum

One of the top hands-on science museums in the nation, Discovery Place provides ever-changing, entertaining facilities that foster experiences in areas that range from life science to space exploration. The Nature Museum, a Queen City tradition for more than 50 years, provides a place to explore nature at its unique location near Freedom Park. Discovery Place and the Charlotte Nature Museum, offer on a continual basis, workshops for people of all ages and even for parents and children to enjoy together. During the summer we conduct a variety of hands-on science summer camps.


Discover and join

Creatures of the Night:

Who is up and about in the night when we are fast asleep? Find out as you listen to the sounds of the nocturnal creatures, and let Grandpa Tree introduce you to our hidden visitors as we sit around a "campfire" at night. Museum specimens enhance this experience.

Woods in Winter

Sit around a cozy “campfire” and listen to the sounds of animals that not only survive but also prosper in this cold, winter season. Grandpa Tree calls them in for a close-up view. Animals from the museum collection make “let’s pretend” seem so real.

Puppet Shows

Don't Make a Pet of Me

People think they are rescuing baby animals when they make pets of them. Actually, they may be robbing them of their natural life. Get the story first hand from the wild animals, and find out what animals do make good pets.

The Unlovables

What animals make you holler "Yuck!", Eeeek!" or send you hopping onto the nearest chair? Our cast of characters includes some of the creatures you love to hate the most. Some of them are very useful and most are quite harmless. Join us to learn more about slugs, bats and bugs - if you dare.

Wake Up, Bear

The forest animals are busy getting ready for winter while Bear is preparing for a winter's sleep. Find out how his forest friends plan to wake him up for his first experience with this joyful holiday season.

In Honor of Pets

Pets provide us with much love and comfort. Come meet the different types of pets with whom people share their homes. Learn what type of pet is right for you and what pets are available from your local humane society or animal shelter. Turtle at Charlotte Nature Museum, NC

Bugs! Bugs! Bugs!

Did you know that there are more kinds of insects than all other kinds of animals combined? Come learn about these animals from a real entomologist (insect biologist) and see how we benefit from their presence.

Amazing Arachnids

What is an arachnid? Are all arachnids spiders? Learn the answers to these questions and more by looking at some of the most creepy (or beautiful depending on your opinion) spiders, scorpions and arachnids in the world.

Turkey Talk

Come see a live turkey. Learn about the Eastern Wild Turkey and why Ben Franklin wanted it to be our national symbol.

Raving Reptiles, Amazing Amphibians

Hundreds of reptiles and amphibians will be on exhibit in addition to the museum’s usual collection. Live presentations about reptiles and amphibians are also highlights of this special day.

Groundhog Day

Celebrate Groundhog Day with Queen Charlotte. Will it be an early spring or six more weeks of winter weather? Join us tat 4 p.m. for a shadow check.

Hip Hopping Hares and Bouncing Bunnie

Here comes Peter Cottontail and many of his furry friends. Learn the differences between rabbits and hares. Many varieties of live rabbits make the day special.

Earth Day Festival

Join and other environmentally conscious organizations for our annual Earth Day celebration. There will be special demonstrations, make and takes, face painting and storytelling.

International Migratory Bird Day

Expert “birders” will share information about bird watching and the magnificent journey that migratory birds undertake. Join our environmental partners and us and learn all about birds that live in our big backyard.

Down on the Farm

Several types of farm animals will be on display giving those who have grown up in cities the chance to experience some country living. Horses, goats, chickens and more will join us for this fun event.


The Great Hall

The Great Hall displays native animals from our region. It is the information center for all our visitors and is adjacent to the Gift Shop that offers items related to our natural environment.

Nature Nook

Nature Nook provides an opportunity to delve into books about the natural world, explore an activity kit or pause and watch Texas Pete, the Texas tortoise.

Grandpa Tree

The Nature Dome takes on the ambiance of a night in the forest around a campfire as Grandpa Tree tells about the nocturnal creatures. Mounted specimens are illuminated to reveal who is making those sounds you hear at night.

Dragonfly Theater

The fascinating puppet theater educates and entertains people of all ages with special programs and puppet shows on science and nature. The theater is a professional hand and shadow stage equipped with lighting and a sound system. It doubles as a theater for nature films and other presentations. Flexible seating allows this space to be used for meetings and workshops.

Beautiful Owls at Charlotte Nature Museum, NC

Creature Cavern

Naturalists of all ages can watch turtles swim, see snakes slither and listen to birds sing as they observe our North Carolina animals.

Butterfly Pavilion

The Butterfly Pavilion provides a profusion of color and motion as these delicate and beautiful insects flutter in the sunlight and sip nectar from an array of plants. A display of chryslides allows you to witness butterflies emerging from the pupa stage into the adult and final stage of their fascinating life cycle.

Insect Alley

Insect Alley allows young visitors to become part of the creepy, crawly world of insects. The exhibit contains models, live specimens, habitats and graphics that deomonstrate anatomy, life cycles, diversity, defences and senses of insects.

Paw Paw Trail

A ramp accessible from the deck meanders through the tree canopy, past the gardens and ends on the forest floor on the Paw Paw Nature Trail. Visitors experience the seasonal flora and fauna present in the hardwood forest.

IMAX Dome Theatre at Charlotte Nature Museum, NC

IMAX Dome Theatre:

The giant-screen theatre surrounds you with larger-than-life images and amazing sound while providing a new look at the world in which we live. Aquatic life, natural wonders and modern scientific research are presented in the ultimate film experience that is sure to grab your attention, stimulate awareness and encourage a life-long interest in science at IMAX Dome Theatre in Discovery Place.

Imax Technology

The uses a 15,000-watt lamp. Because there is tremendous heat associated with the lamp, both air and water-cooling are necessary. Film stock for the IMAX® Dome is 70mm, but the width of each frame is four times wider than 70mm film shown in some conventional theaters. The projection booth is located below the seating area. In order to project up to the screen above, the projector must rise 24 feet on a specialized elevator system.

Through the magic of IMAX technology, audiences will be transported below the ocean surface to swim with some of the planet’s most unique, dangerous and colorful creatures, from the unusual Wolf Eel to the Giant Pacific Octopus. Deep Sea brings moviegoers face to face with these underwater inhabitants to witness their peculiar and amazing behavior as they rely on one another for survival.

For thousands of years, man has been drawn to the Nile, known as “the Mt. Everest of rivers.” Over the past century, dozens of explorers have attempted to run the mighty river in a single expedition, but all have failed. Astonishingly, this epic journey has eluded humankind for centuries—until now. For 114 days, a team of explorers faced nearly insurmountable challenges as they made their way 3,260 miles down the Blue Nile and Nile river, traversing three countries in some of the world’s remotest regions. Deadly crocodiles and hippos, the world’s most dangerous whitewater rapids, gunfire from bandits, malaria, and temperatures topping 120°F are just some of the obstacles they faced---all while capturing theirexperience in IMAX at Charlotte Nature Museum, NC


Discovery Place and the Charlotte Nature Museum relys on the support of members to continue it educational programs and exhibits. Membership is the most convenient – not to mention least expensive – way to experience Discovery Place and the Charlotte Nature Museum.

Gift Shop

The Nature Museum provides a gift shop for your convenience. The shop offers a unique selection of merchandise to enhance your classroom and provide resource materials. Each student will find items to take home that will reflect the museum experience.

Location and direction:

Located at 1658 Sterling Road, the Charlotte Nature Museum is an urban science center that exhibits the animals and plants of the Piedmont including an ever-changing Butterfly Garden. The Nature Museum is located adjacent to Freedom Park, in Charlotte, North Carolina.           

To reach the museum from Discovery Place, take 7th Street east. Turn right on Kings Drive. Kings Drive becomes Queens Road West at a traffic intersection. Continue on Queens Road West. Turn right onto Princeton Avenue and right onto Sterling Road. Watch for the Nature Museum sign on your left.

From I-77, exit onto Woodlawn Road (Exit 6A). Bear right onto Woodlawn and drive east for two miles. Turn left on Park Road. Drive north on Park Road for one mile and turn right on Princeton. Turn left on Sterling and left into the Nature Museum.

From Highway 74 headed west, take Independence Boulevard to Kings Drive. Take a left on Kings Drive, which turns into Queens Road West at East Boulevard. Take the next right onto Wellesley. Turn left on Sterling Road. The Nature Museum is on the right.

Permanent Exhibition


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