Thursday, October 4, 2018

The Schiele Museum of Natural History

Have you been to the Schiele Museum of Natural History? Located in Gastonia, 25 miles west of Uptown Charlotte, the Schiele offers a bunch of compelling reasons to visit. Here are my top 5:

1.) Outdoor trails and exhibits: In addition to all the cool stuff you’ll find INSIDE the museum, my favorite part of the campus is probably everything outside. That includes a 0.7 mile Nature Trail, complete with a beautiful pond; a playscape, which features structures and natural play “equipment;” gardens; the Catawba Indian Village (open seasonally), which offers an interpretation of Catawba Indian culture; and an 18th century backcountry farm (also open seasonally), which provides a glimpse into the ways of life for early settlers. (Call 704-866-6908 to verify that seasonal exhibits are open.)

2.) The Dinosaurs: Featuring scaled models of inhabitants of the Mesozoic Era, this exhibit is both entertaining and educational. There are at least a dozen different dinosaurs on display, along with actual fossils and casts.

3.) The Pirate Ship: This one is for the younger visitors. By far our kids’ favorite part of the museum, the Pirate Ship is a place for kids to climb and slide and hide and play. Tucked in one room, this play space also offers some educational opportunities. Learn about pirate flags and the scallywags who created them.

4.) The Planetarium: Take a high-def journey into space and other natural wonders through the SciDome XD system. Educational programs take visitors not only into the night sky, but also places like the human circulatory system. Shows run approximately 35 minutes. Admission to the Planetarium is an additional $5/person.

5.) Free Tuesdays: Who doesn’t enjoy a deal? Duke Energy has teamed up with the Schiele Museum to sponsor Free Tuesdays, granting free general admission to everyone from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month.

Regular admission is $7/adult and $6/children 3-17 years old. Museum hours are Monday – Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday, 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Of course there’s way more to the Schiele Museum than my top five, namely, the halls of North Carolina and North American natural habitats, wildlife and history. In these permanent exhibits, you’ll find dioramas and some live animals. And the Henry Hall of the American Indian offers an impressive collection of artifacts, weapons, ornaments, and tools from the culture of the North American Native Americans.

How to get there:
The Schiele Museum is located at 1500 E. Garrison Blvd., Gastonia, NC 28054. Parking is free.

Don't forget to pack:
  • Comfy shoes: Be prepared to explore, both indoors and out.
  • Bug spray and sunscreen: If you plan to spend time on the playscape or nature trail.

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