In the Museum

Your Gateway to the Universe


Explore nature, science, and cultures with your whole family!

Immerse yourself in the stunning Planetarium, the SciDome Theater, soaring across the universe to the center of the earth. Every show includes a brief tour of the night sky.

Discover the natural world in the Museum’s permanent exhibits—from live animals and interactive exhibits in the Nature Explorer Gallery to the fascinating birds and fossils in the Cabinet Museum.

Explore a variety of fun topics in our featured exhibits. The North Museum hosts two to three temporary shows each year from museums across North America.

Get your hands on the real world with our diverse collections. We have birds, mammals, lower vertebrates, invertebrates, plants, Native American artifacts, rocks and minerals, and fossils–more than 300,000 objects in all.

Come to the North Museum and let your inner scientist come out to play!

SciDome Theater

Planetarium Show Schedule for
October 28 through November 18, 2018

*Programs and show times are subject to change

Revised Show Schedule – Saturday, October 27 (Halloween event)
11:00 am – Big Bird’s Adventure
1:00 pm – Magic Tree House
2:00 pm – Night Sky Tour

Revised Show Schedule – Saturday, November 3 (Cub Scout event)
11:00 am – Magic Tree House
2:00 pm – Night Sky Tour

Planetarium Demo Hour

Saturdays at 10:15 to 11:15 am (except October 27 and November 3) 
Join a Planetarium Educator and experience the capabilities of South Central Pennsylvania’s largest planetarium, the SciDome Theater. This is a great opportunity to have a one-to-one experience, make requests, ask questions, travel throughout the cosmos and even explore the earth sciences while traveling around the world.

Planetarium Demo Hour is included with general Museum admission


Accidental Astronauts

Accidental Astronauts

Saturdays at 11:30 am (except October 27 and November 3)
Sundays at 1:30 pm
Suggested for children in Pre-K through 3rd

Follow the adventures of Cy and Annie and their dog Armstrong as they embark on an unexpected journey into space!  Explore the Earth, Sun, and Moon system with a wisecracking starship computer; bounce along with them on the surface of the Moon; get up close and personal with a solar strom; and gain a new appreciation of our home planet.



SEEING! – A Photon’s Journey Across Space, Time and the Mind

Saturdays at 1:30 pm (except October 27 and November 3)
Sundays at 2:30 pm

Suggested for children in 5th grade to Adults

Ride a photon across the galaxy to your mind’s eye and experience how we see.  From a photon’s creation to its journey across the galaxy into our eye, Seeing! reveals the structures of the eye and their functions, prior to taking a ride on the optic nerve creating the image that the brain sees.   Narrated by astrophysicist Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson.
SEEING is being offered for a limted time – only six showings. 



Night Sky Tour –Live Astronomy Show!

Night Sky Tour at the SciDome Theater of the North Museum of Science and Nature, Lancaster, PASaturdays at 3:30 pm (except October 27 and November 3)
Sundays at 3:30 pm

Suggested for children in 5th grade to Adults 

Join the North Museum’s Astronomy Educators to explore the wonders of the night sky in our live planetarium show, Night Sky Tour! Witness the night sky come to life as you learn about the constellations among the stars, planets currently visible, our place in the cosmos, and more! Each of our Planetarium Educators will bring their own expertise to the Night Sky Tour program, making each show a different experience.     



About the SciDome Theater

A Revolutionized Planetarium

A Full-dome Digital Theater, created by Spitz, Inc., the world’s leading supplier of planetariums, serves as the centerpiece of the North Museum of Nature and Science. The SciDome XD Touch digital system projects high definition video and images onto a 41-foot aluminum NanoSeam™ dome, immersing you in a dazzling 21st-century science learning lab. The North Museum is the first museum in the world to have a Spitz SciDome XD Touch system with cove-mounted projectors.

Cosmic Mike® Smith

Cosmic Mike is the Senior Astronomy Educator at the North Museum, with a passion for sharing his knowledge of astronomy.


Our exhibitions provide a playground for your inner scientists–from paleontologists (fossils) to zoologists (animals) to geologists (rocks). The Museum has three floors of exhibitions loaded with things to see and do.

Explore Nature Gallery

The Explore Nature Gallery combines two of the Museum’s most popular attractions, the former Discovery Room and Live Animal Room. The space incorporates the glass-walled honeybee hive, live animals, assorted artifacts, hands-on activities, and flooring that helps illustrate the topography of the Susquehanna River Basin. Come play with nature!





Dinosaur Gallery

Dinosaurs in Lancaster, Pa! The new “Explore the Past” exhibit is an exciting addition to the North Museum. This exhibit features a full size reconstructed dinosaur, a restored view of Pennsylvania 200 million years ago, and many dinosaur skulls. Get hands-on! During a visit to the Museum visitors can handle real fossils and bones in the interactive Paleontology Zone. With an in-depth look at T. rex, (the tyrant lizard king) as it really lived, and the opportunity to get up close to ancient life, this exhibit is sure to please dinosaur lovers young and old.



Live Animal Room

There are more than 20 different residents in the North Museum’s Live Animal Room. Say hello to snakes, salamanders, lizards, spiders, turtles, and tortoises on your next visit.






The “Rock Box”

Uncover a hidden world of color in the North Museum’s latest exhibit, the “Rock Box. Designed in partnership with local company, ATOMIC, this 7-foot-tall, three-dimensional exhibit describes the science behind light.

The “Rock Box” exhibit allows visitors to view these hidden wavelengths through a combination of curated specimens, from the Museum’s own geology collections, and ultraviolet light. In this specially designed dark room guests control buttons that activate bursts of infrared light. This light interacts with the carefully chosen minerals to produce a vibrant fluorescent display.



Cabinet Museum

In the Cabinet Museum, antique cases house a wide variety of birds, fossils, and minerals to illustrate the natural history of the Lower Susquehanna Region. This amazing assortment of specimens represents just a fraction of the Museum’s collections. Scavenger hunts and engaging displays encourage discovery in the lowest level of the Museum.





STEAM Art Gallery

Highlighting the ‘A’ in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math), the Museum’s STEAM Art Gallery is dedicated to the work of local artists whose art is inspired by science and nature. An interactive scavenger hunt activity is included on this level to engage visitors of all ages. Art installations rotate on a regular basis. 


Exhibiting Artists, September – December 2018

Kristi Arnold; “Mergings and Minglings”  inspiration stems from the psychological phenomenon pareidolia (where a person sees familiar forms in random shapes or patterns), traditional Japanese landscape painting, Memphis Group, Futurism, science fiction, and biological illustrations.      

Matthew Dougherty (Artist is Residence);     Constellations ; Oil paint

Annie Esbenshade:  Reptile and amphibian photography. 

Elizabethtown Biology/Art Class Collaborative:  Artwork on paper created from algae that was extracted from a Lake on Campus.  From the paper pulp objects as well as a hanging mobile were created.  Images in the mobile represent the Lake where the algae came from.  This was a collaborative project between the biology and art department. 

The STEAM Art Gallery Opening for the current exhibit will occur on October 5th, 5pm-8pm. Admission $5 After 5pm.  The Artist in Residence will be on site providing painting demonstrations. 



The North Museum’s scientific collections are a combination of specimens collected in the 1800’s by the Linnaean Society of Lancaster County and other naturalists, objects from Franklin & Marshall College’s collections, and numerous private donations. The 360,000-plus artifacts preserve the natural heritage of the Lower Susquehanna Region and beyond. There is a good representation of traditional disciplines of biology, paleontology, geology, and anthropology materials. These extensive collections represent an incredible educational asset.



The North Museum has an outstanding collection of well over 1,000 mounted birds from eastern North America (including extinct taxa) in addition to numerous bird eggs and a small collection of study skins. Practically all genera are represented. There are examples of present day taxidermy in addition to pre-20th century examples, many of which are on exhibit in the Cabinet Museum.






The North Museum has good representative collections of skull and osteology (bone) specimens from mammals of Pennsylvania and elsewhere. The materials illustrate all the modern orders and many of the families of mammals. The collection also includes whole body specimens of smaller species mounted in plastic, a limited number of study skins, and some attractive and impressive taxidermy mounts, some of which are currently exhibited.





Lower Vertebrates

A large sturgeon caught in the Susquehanna is one of the most popular items on display at the North Museum, both for its unusual occurrence and because it represents an example of very early taxidermy. Aside from some comparative specimens, most of the fish, amphibian, and reptile collections are educational examples encased in plastic, as well as some skeletal material.





Invertebrate Zoology

The animals without backbones collections are quite diverse, ranging from simple sponges to historically important insect collections. Many of the objects are on display. Others are mounted in boxes or plastic, making them available for formal and informal educational purposes. Perhaps the most scientifically important specimens are the land snails. These often ignored animals can be important monitors of changes in land use or environmental disturbances. The North Museum has over 15,000 shells and 16,000 insects, many collected decades ago.




The herbarium, probably the fourth largest in the State of Pennsylvania, documents most local species and their distribution within a regional and historical context. There are other discrete collections, including botanical material from Florida from a period before urbanization. Unusual material includes an extensive collection of seeds; these specimens can be useful for archaeologists analyzing sites that were once occupied by humans.





Rocks & Minerals

Many universities and museums no longer keep examples of rocks and minerals, other than small teaching collections. Microscopy and chemical analysis are now the more common methods of finding the composition of earth materials. In the older tradition, the North Museum holds many thousands of hand samples of rocks and minerals. Many of the most attractive or interesting minerals are on display in the lower level.






Over many decades, donations of local Paleozoic invertebrates and some vertebrate fossil specimens from around the world were made to the paleontology collections. However, the North Museum also preserves very important fossils from the local Kinzers Formation, invertebrates that document a time when many of the familiar animal body plans were first evolving on Earth. Some type specimens in paleontology (those named by scientists as the standard for a species) are housed at the North Museum. Tens of thousands of more common invertebrate fossils from local Paleozoic rocks make up the majority of the fossil collections.


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