Nature Research Center celebrates 1 million visitors

New Year’s celebrations kicked off early Monday at the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh, which celebrated the millionth visitor at its Nature Research Center since it opened in April. The millionth visitor was showered in confetti and received a bag of gifts. The 80,000-square-foot 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 exciting 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.”