Nonstop fun set for Nature Research Center opening

The 24-hour party for the new Nature Research Center means there’ll be fun inside and out

April 20, 2012 

  • Where: N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences’ Nature Research Center, 121 W. Jones St., Raleigh

    When: 5 p.m. Friday

    Cost: Free

    Details: 919-733-7450; or

  • Museum Opening: Where can I eat at 4 a.m.?

    The museum will be open around the clock to explore, but the Daily Planet Cafe in the new wing and the Acro Cafe in the main building will serve food from 5 p.m. to 2.a.m. They will serve beverages overnight and resume food service at 9 a.m. But don’t despair: food trucks, tents, trailers & carts abound. Here’s a list of the vendors, some with a sense of what’s on the menu, and a list of those serving into the night:

    Friday & Saturday

    Kona Ice - shaved ice in flavors from pina colado to tiger’s blood

    Cafe Prost - fresh, all-natural soft pretzels with various mustards, and savory or sweet gourmet toppings

    D&J Concession

    Locopops - Mexican popsicles, dairy or water-based, with flavors like mango chile and chocolate brownie

    Friday only

    Baguetteaboutit - Italian sausages wrapped in French baguettes with sauces like basil tomato vinaigrette and sharp cheddar

    Krispy Kreme

    Triangle Raw Foods - raw, gluten-free, dairy-free meals like Asian marinated kale and blueberry tarts

    Saturday only

    Angie’s Italian Ice

    24 Hours

    Captain Ponchos Tacos

    Hibachi Xpress - Chinese food

    Caribou Coffee

    Chick-N-Que - Chopped chicken eastern-style N.C. barbecue; “The Big Bird” is a marinated Ostrich steak with grilled green peppers, onions and smoked provolone on a pita.

    American Meltdown - melts and grilled cheese sandwiches; look for a French onion melt.

    D&J Concessions (tent and ice cream)

    Parlez-Vous Crepe - sweet & savory crepes, vegetarian friendly; fresh, organic ingredients. Kids like the cheese and Nutella versions; there’s even a Fluffernutter crepe.

    Groovy Dogs

    Kona Chameleon - Larry’s Beans coffee (hot & cold), lattes (iced & iced chai), cappuccinos, hot chocolates and fruit smoothies

    It’s 2 a.m. I’m not ready to go home. Now what?

    Well, the AV Geeks – those avid collectors of vintage celluloid – are hosting a Creature Feature marathon at the museum’s WRAL 3D Theater from 1 a.m. to 7 a.m. Among the clips are creepy classics “Plan 9 From Outer Space,” “Evil Brain from Outer Space” and “Attack of the Monsters.” That should keep you awake.

    Weather Report*

    Friday: Partly cloudy with a high of 76; 10 percent chance of rain.

    Saturday: Potential for severe thunderstorms and a high of 77; 60 percent chance of rain.

    *subject to change

  • • No strollers will be allowed in the buildings; stroller check-in will be available.

    • Water is free if you bring your own refillable bottle.

    • CAT buses will run free all day Saturday as part of “Free Fare Day” in honor of Earth Day.

    • R-line buses, which are also free, will operate on their regular schedule, from 7 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.

    • Raleigh Rickshaws run until 5 p.m. Friday and until 3 a.m. Saturday.

    • While there is plenty of parking in downtown lots and on the street, the museum encourages visitors to ride their bikes. Bike racks will be available on-site.

    • There will be children’s activities and crafts.

It’s finally here – at 5 p.m. today, the celebration begins for the opening of the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences’ Nature Research Center in downtown Raleigh. (Go early and catch Shaw University’s jazz band, starting at 4 p.m.)

The opening ceremony features notable locals Ira David Wood and Chuck Davis, as well as Kidznotes and John M. Grunsfeld of NASA. Along with the magic inside the new venue, there will be a delightful mix of entertainment to explore.

Here's the lineup:


5:30 p.m.

Sensory Expressions Band

Steel drum band can go from calypso to pop (5:30 p.m. Friday; 11:45 p.m. Saturday)

6 p.m.


New York City-based prank collective ‘that causes scenes of chaos and joy in public places.’ In Raleigh, it’s the Mp3 Experiment. Go here to get instructions to get involved. (6 p.m. Friday)

7 p.m.

Coastal Cohorts

Legendary trio plays beach music (7 p.m. Friday)

Ohm Jazz Quintet

Led by nationally acclaimed Wake County high schooler Eli Wittman. (7 p.m. Friday; Eli will perform solo Friday at 10 p.m. & 11 a.m. Saturday in the museum lobby.)

9 p.m.

Liquid Pleasure

Another local beach music favorite (9 p.m. Friday)

The Martins

Folk music band (9 p.m. Friday)

10 p.m.

The Chromatics

A capella group does originals, covers, and appropriately, some science songs (10 p.m. Friday; 3 p.m. Saturday)

11:30 p.m.

Gang Gang Dance

Experimental music band featuring synthesized electronics and percussion and a vocalist. A fav of Florence Welsh, lead singer of Florence and the Machine. (11:30 p.m. Friday)


9 a.m.

Michael Stanwood

Musician plays a variety of ethnic instruments from the didjeridu to the mbira. And the guitar. (9 a.m. Saturday & 4 p.m. Saturday with The Southern String Band)

1:30 p.m.

Trash March with Paperhand Puppets

A special parade linked to Earth Day. (1:30 p.m. & 4:30 p.m. Saturday)

2:30 p.m.

The Entertainers

More than 30 years of beach music glory. (2:30 p.m. Saturday)

4 p.m.

The Southern String Band

Four fiddles lead this nine-piece band of old-time music (4 p.m. Saturday)

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