Learn about famed naturalist Charles Darwin, take a closer look at his theories and their impact on modern science, and meet some of the scientists who are continuing his work when the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences hosts Darwin Day on Saturday, Nov. 9, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. In addition to presentations and hands-on science stations, there will be crafts and games for all ages. Free!

Presentations this year focus on botany and begin with the carnivorous North Carolina native plant, the Venus flytrap. Learn the history of its discovery and how it depends on insects for pollination as well as nutrition (food). Discover how Darwin “outflanked” his detractors by showing how evolution guided powerful new research into the life of plants. Find out about medicinal and other culturally significant plants of Belize and elsewhere, or about the nearly one million plant fossils, fungi, lichens, mosses, algae, ferns, grasses, wildflowers and trees housed at the UNC Herbarium.

Visitors can also browse displays and chat with exhibitors about a range of topics. New this year, “Naturalist’s Workshop,” a Virtual Reality program that gives visitors a hands-on exploration of delicate botanical specimens and an immersive exploration of natural science collections. Visitors can also learn all about a lesser-known pollinator – bats – or about the adorable lemur from staff of the Lemur Center in Durham, which is home to the largest and most diverse population of lemurs in the world outside their native Madagascar. Visitors can also meet some live animals with crazy adaptations, including a ball python, a mole kingsnake, a rabbit, a chinchilla, a spiny softshell turtle and an eastern box turtle.

 

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh (11 and 121 W. Jones St.) is an active research institution that engages visitors of every age and stage of learning in the wonders of science and the natural world. Hours: Mon.– Sat., 9 a.m.–5 p.m., and Sun., noon–5 p.m. General admission is free. Visit the Museum online at naturalsciences.org.