Marbles Kids Museum

Marbles has overhauled the corner of Morgan and Blount Streets. What once was a car service shop is now a colorful plaza and public space. Here’s the before and after.

December 2016

May 2018

Marbles is a HUGE asset to downtown Raleigh and they are growing. I’m sure we’ll be following along as the museum seeks to expand and offer more on this block.


While I love the mural I have to admit the space is a bit “form over function”. Would love to see actual benches or picnic tables in that space.


Love the look of this space! Really adds a lot of color and whimsy to the streetscape. But agree with Justin, needs a little bit more functionality. Would be cool to see “climbable” art added for the kids. Also, maybe I’m overprotective but I worry about kids running around there so close to the intersection. Even a small 2-ft barrier/fence around the area would give me some peace of mind.


Looks like Marbles has been cut out of the county budget. I know everyone needs to do some belt-tightening right now, but this seems incredibly shortsighted. Marbles’ childhood enrichment programs, not just at the museum but throughout the county, are an enormous asset to our community. Here is the page to find out more, and I hope many of us (especially those of us with kids who love this museum) get involved to reinstate this funding.


This is awful. Marbles is an absolute treasure. I realize that, absent more federal support, local budget cuts are going to be savage, and a lot of terribly painful cuts are going to be made, but I hope that this museum can be made a priority, because it provides so much for parents and kids in this community. Thank you so much for flagging this.

Marbles had been in line to receive money from the hotel tax revenues. Unfortunately, the city/county made the egregiously bad decision to blow hundreds of millions of dollars from that purse on a vanity convention center expansion. That was a terrible decision at the time, but it looks staggeringly shortsighted now. I don’t know if it’s too late to claw back any of that money, but you could fully fund Marbles for a tiny percentage of the money that was blown on the convention center.


Hope Marbles survives. Haven’t been there in years as the kids have aged out of it. But we were members and regular visitors when the kids were younger.

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The hotel tax fund is for capital expenditures, right? I know Marbles was planning on an expansion just a few short months ago before the world imploded on itself, but now it looks like they don’t even have the capacity to fund their normal operations, absent a change of heart from the county.

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What if Marbles moved to Dix Park, near the Plaza and Play?

Sound crazy?


Does this have anything to do with your last post about highwoods? :eyes::eyes::eyes:

I’m for it but I’d be more for it if it was closer to Pullen to really play off of the amusement park.

And now I’m dreaming about the prison site again. Pullen is such a great park but it’s so cut off from downtown.


No connection between the two posts.

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Marbles at the base of Dix for people to play with? Sounds good to me!


I wonder if we can get Marbles to consider building a proper independent multi-screen movie cinema as part of their expansion plans. They already have an IMAX that will probably be demolished as part of any redevelopment plans.

I hope they are taking public input into these expansion plans.


In theory, I like this idea. It would provide a wonderful opportunity to build something great. With the new Plaza and Play, you get great overlap.

What holds me back from full endorsing this is what is so attractive about it - the location.
There is something nice about school groups and families being able to visit both Marbles and the Natural history museum with out having to drive between them. I am sure many folks dive between them already, and maybe this is not a worthy consideration. But I think having 3 museums (when you add in straight history, plus the bonus of the state capitol) with in walking distance is one of the old town’s better features.


Imo Marbles would be fine in that location, but why would we want to take it out of downtown proper?

Marbles is a top 10 attraction in the state, I think it gets like 700K visitors per year. I like the idea of those kids and families visiting DTR, and not just a park on the edge of downtown.

There would definitely be synergy with Plaza and Play at Dix, but as @pBeez says the current location is near the other museums plus the state Capitol. Not to mention Moore Square.


We don’t want to (at least I don’t), but as I understand it, they want to.

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There would be a real advantage for them, getting to design on a blank slate, possibly with a great view. It could be a real gem, done properly. Certainly the NCMA has turned into a tremendous asset. I can empathize with their thinking, but I hope they stay downtown.


maybe with a few fixed metal awnigns or umbrellas.

years back in the 80’s zoology students from nc state, for additional credits, would host various theme natural histroy programs in the summer for school age youth ( for a small fee). they were at the old natural history museum. these ‘classes’ included field trips. some classes were plant and tree identification, bird watching, reptiles and amphibians, etc. we would be walking knee deep in creeks around the area and wooded walks for leave identification and bird call recognizing. they were great classes. marbles may do similar.


Do they own their building and the land? If so, selling it could be a boon for them that would allow them to build a new one elsewhere.

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I just hate the idea of taking everything interesting and unique and successful out of downtown. To me we need more attractions downtown not less!