Raleigh, N.C. — New Year’s celebrations kicked off early Monday at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, which celebrated the millionth visitor at its Nature Research Center since it opened in April.
Vikas Patel of Cary, who brought his 22-month-old twin daughters, Anya and Mila, was showered in confetti and received a bag of gifts. The bag included tickets to the Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition now at the museum, a T-shirt, a coffee mug, a $50 gift certificate to the Museum Store and a one-year family membership to the museum.
The 80,000-square-foot Nature Research Center opened with a 24-hour celebration on April 20. The wing features labs where visitors perform the experiments; nearly 80 interactive exhibits, including WRAL Storm Central; a Naturalist Center with touch tables and a submersible that allows visitors to experience what it feels like to be 2,000 feet below the ocean.
The center was the brainchild of Museum Director Betsy Bennett, who retired Monday after 22 years in charge of the museum.
"It's an exiting event for the museum," she said of the millionth visitor. "It's been a fabulous year, and it's a great way to end a tenure at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences."