ELLIS PLANETARIUM, HEALTH & SCIENCE MUSEUM (Kinston) - 2022 What to Know BEFORE You Go (2022)

Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.


4 reviews


Very good


(Video) Neuseway Nature Park & Ellis Planetarium, Health and Science Museum | Kinston, NC







6 contributions

Not bad but not great either


Ok if you have an hour to kill. Dated setup & some sections give you vibe of being a dorm room due to use of posters tacked to wall. I overheard an employee saying she would like frames. That’s a step in the right direction! Saw planetarium show & it was ok. Could’ve done a lot more with it though. Good to ask audience for suggestions of planets/constellations but if there aren’t any, you need a plan B. Luckily, everything is free. I know they’re trying so let’s hope they keep it up.

Written February 15, 2020

This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.


Jacksonville, NC110 contributions


Three (well behaved) classes from our school went on a field trip today and did our best to get through the experience with a smile, but it was tough. At every turn, various staff members spent at least five to ten minutes going over "their rules" - which can be summed up as "Don't touch anything and don't make noise - including talking!" However, during a tour in one area with live snakes (behind glass of course) we were especially cautioned (twice-by two different staff members even though no one in our group was doing anything wrong) not to talk loud, yet a short time later the staff member was giving information about an exhibit and talking in a very loud voice so everyone in the area could hear him. All in all, our group lost at least 25 minutes listening to staff members telling us we must remain quiet and not touch anything. Additionally, we lost time because the staff did not seem to have an organized plan - if they did they did not share it with us. Still another example of the staff's inefficiency came when we were told that half the group would take a train ride first, followed by the other half. With that said, the teachers quickly divided the groups and started walking toward the train while the other group was given the chance to enjoy the wonderfully large playground. No sooner had the kids begun climbing when one of the staff members said to call the kids back. They made the kids stand and wait while the first group was loaded single-file line by one staff member, then lectured about the train rules- the whole process of loading and unloading took longer than the short 5 min. ride (very small size track layout by the way). After the first group finished unloading, the staff member insisted the children remain along the fence until the second group completed their ride as well. All in all, it was a poorly run waste of time and extremely frustrating to have a marvelously, large scale playground right there for the kids to see but not touch. Still another example of time wasted happened next. Despite knowing our group was to visit the planetarium tour (since we had completed the other areas), one staff member gave everyone the "my rules" talk again before entering the building, led us all in (single file line again, then proceeded to personally seat each child (something teachers could have done very quickly if allowed to - but we were told adults would come in last. (I went in immediately anyway as it is my responsibility to safely supervise my students, not their staff members). When she finished seating everyone, she gave yet another "stay quiet" talk before going back to the projector only to discover that it wasn't ready- so she wasted yet more time loading the program. Since our school was the only group and very few (maybe ten) visitors were scattered about the grounds, perhaps it would have been feasible to have two staff members doing the presentation, one talking and one running the equipment. Better still, ask the teachers to seat their students, which would have been accomplished very efficiently. Sadly, we ran out of time before we could tour the ground floor exhibits within the planetarium building. In fact, at the end of the video presentation and subsequent slide show, the staff member was about to hold a question and answer session followed by yet another talk about the rules for touring the exhibits on the first floor. I had to interrupt her, stating that we barely had enough time to get the children outside for their picnic lunch and bathroom break before loading up the buses to leave. Her somewhat annoyed reply was, "I'm only doing my job!" She then asked the group, "So you won't be going downstairs to see the exhibits?" Several other teachers quickly responded, "No, we don't have time!" The only reason I gave this place a "two" was because some families of small children may enjoy it as long as they keep quiet and don't touch anything. As for school groups, I would avoid this place. Although their website is inviting (which was what we went off when deciding to go on this trip) the reality is that this is not a place to bring students who are eager to learn. By the way, this trip was not free, -we had to pay for every child for the use of several different venues in order to "enjoy the whole thing". We won't make the same mistake twice and I hope the word gets out to other schools to look elsewhere. This place has some potential but new management and extensive training are sorely needed before I would ever recommend student groups use this place as a field trip learning experience.

Written June 4, 2019

This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

dena f

Oxfordshire, UK266 contributions

Out of this world



This place was a great stop in Kinston, NC with as much to do as you like! You can spend all day in the park area, museum, wildlife exhibit, and planetarium. The planetarium has a interactive kids museum on the first level and will easily entertain toddlers to tweens.

The planetarium runs a couple of star shows a day and has several historic NASA moon expedition era souvenirs to set the mood. Our guide to the stars was hosting her third show ever and was very knowledgeable. She encouraged questions and audience participation.

On the first level was an eclectic collection of hands-on activities including some walk-through anatomy. Kids can crawl into a model hospital, play dress up, and discover a farm to table playroom.

Restrooms were spacious and clean with a changing table provided. The front desk also offered cheap bottled water. You could purchase other knick-knacks in the gift shop and tokens for the miniature train.

Written July 9, 2018

This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.


Raleigh, NC5,212 contributions



The Ellis Planetarium, Health & Science Museum offers free admission and planetarium shows about three times a day. It is part of the Neuseway Nature Park so there is a playground, Nature Center; and a mini railroad. The area is great to just sit in one of the swings on the water too.

The Museum is small but is on two floors and the focus seemed primarily for the younger kids. Although older kids might enjoy some of the upstairs exhibits. The Museum is hands on so that the kids can learn about science. A lot of the exhibits focused on the body and they could crawl and explore. The farm to table room I enjoyed as it showed how food was grown.

Written April 15, 2018

This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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