Have you visited the Schiele Museum of Natural History? Located in Gastonia, North Carolina the museum makes a great day trip. Kidding Around’s Melanie had a lot of fun visiting the museum with her children. They enjoyed exhibits on dinosaurs, minerals, animals, critters, nature and so much more! If you haven’t been yet, you should definitely add it to your museum bucket list.
Thank you to the Schiele Museum for providing admission to the museum so we could bring this review to our readers! The words and opinions in this article are that of the writer.
Read our Guide to fun In Gastonia, NC for more fun you can have while visiting the museum.
Kidding Around Reader Favorite – The Schiele Museum of Natural History
Just an hour from the Upstate is the Schiele Museum of Natural History. We recently asked readers where we should visit on a trip to Gastonia, and this was the number one response!
The Schiele Museum of Natural History is wonderful!Samantha
I’ll be honest, I thought I was good at my job here at Kidding Around. I thought nothing got past me. Well, that illusion recently got shattered. I’m embarrassed and ashamed to say I had never heard of the Schiele Museum until we were invited.
I also thought I was headed to Western North Carolina. Guys, I learned so many things on this trip! I learned that Gastonia, North Carolina is just south of Charlotte and has a bunch of cool places and things to see! I also learned that this little museum that I had never heard of was AWESOME, and I couldn’t believe we hadn’t been yet.
The History Of The Schiele Museum of Natural History
The Schiele Museum is named for Rudolph “Bud” Schiele, a botanist and naturalist. Bud worked with the community to establish the Gaston County Museum of Natural History in 1961. He needed somewhere to house his vast collection of specimens. This museum was a dream of his since the age of 17.
Boy Scouts will find it interesting to know that Bud turned down the opportunity to be the sole wildlife official in the entire territory of Alaska to be an executive with the Boy Scouts of America organization. Although he passed away just 13 years after the museum was dedicated, his legacy lives on through the museum whose name was changed to honor his legacy.
Outdoor Exhibits At The Schiele Museum of Natural History
The outdoor exhibits alone are worth a trip to the museum, especially on days when they have special events and programs offered. Check their website regularly for information on upcoming events.
On the day we visited there was a wetland education program down at the pond. We were able to make paper binoculars, a really cool little nature journal, and see some animals that were native to the pond’s ecosystem! This was all in addition to the regular programming the museum offers.
The Farm is really neat and has several live animals like alpacas, turkeys, pigs, and goats. They also have a beautiful garden where you can learn all about different plants and flowers that grow best in this part of the state.
Past the farm and along the nature trail, you will see a mill powered by a stream, a Catawba Indian Village, a stone-age exhibit, a wildlife garden, a pond, and a play area for children called the “Playscape”.
We especially enjoyed our time with Mariah during the Wetland activity. Mariah can normally be found working in the animal husbandry and environmental education departments. She was a wealth of knowledge and was even the one who tipped us off to one of the parks we visited while in Gastonia. Look for Mariah when you visit, you’ll learn a lot from her!
Indoor Exhibits At The Schiele Museum of Natural History
When you arrive, you’ll be greeted by a huge fella (or gal, we skipped a formal introduction) in the lobby. Here you’ll find the ticket counter. Tickets are under $10 and do not include the planetarium show. Please check the website for current ticket prices.
If you think you’ll be returning regularly, consider the membership. The Museum is part of the same ASTC passport program as Roper Mountain Science Center. Good news – if you have a RMSC membership, then you get in free to the Shiele Museum. The ASTC Passport program gets you free admission into partner museums all over the world. If you plan to travel, it can pay for itself in just one trip to a partner museum. On a recent trip to Florida, the RMSC membership benefits allowed us to visit three different museums in the Tampa/Orlando area. Admission to just one of these museums would have been more than the membership cost us.
Once you have tickets purchased, you’ll see the current featured exhibit to your left, which changes out so check the website for the most up-to-date info. Next, you’ll go across the hall to the Dino Safari. Older kids will enjoy the exhibit for its fossils and different full-sized models. Younger kids will marvel at seeing the characters from their favorite train riding dinosaur show up close and in person.
Next, you’ll visit the Mineral exhibit. My children love what they refer to as “beautifuls,” so this exhibit was a huge hit. My son was disappointed to learn though, that there were no huge diamonds on display. Me too, kid. Me too!
The rest of the exhibits are down the hall and to the right. There is a mixture of taxidermy animal displays and live animals. We got some really good photos with some of the taxidermy animals. I must say though, I hope I’m never that close to a brown bear in real life. The leaf-cutter ant display had my daughter mesmerized. They have the ants set up in little Plexiglas ecosystems and have video cameras for you to see what they were doing. The exhibits include the human history of North American Native Indians.
The James H. Lynn Planetarium and Science Theater
Admission to the second-largest planetarium in the state of North Carolina is in addition to the general admission price of the museum. There are several different shows playing on any given day, so be sure to check the schedule before you head out if you had a certain show in mind.
Things To Know Before You Go To The Schiele Museum of Natural History
- The museum doesn’t have a restaurant, but there are refreshments available in the gift shop. There are picnic tables outside and you are free to leave to go to your car, have a picnic lunch and return to the museum.
- Children 2 and under and Active Military members (with proper ID) receive free admission.
- The museum is stroller friendly.
Schiele Museum of Natural History & Planetarium
1500 East Garrison Boulevard, Gastonia NC
Have you been to the Schiele Museum of Natural History? What is your favorite part?