Taking advantage of my son’s recent track out from year round school, we decided to make a day trip to Wilmington. At around 2 hours each way depending where you are in the Triangle, it’s easily doable if you don’t have time for a longer stay.
Wilmington offers a number of family friendly activities. Our plan – to visit the USS North Carolina Battleship.
The Battleship sits across the Cape Fear River from downtown and serves as a memorial to state’s World War II veterans. It is is open for tours daily – 365 days a year. Tours are self-guided and take approximately 2 hours starting in the Exhibit Hall.
Things to know:
- The Battleship is a hands on exhibit. This is perfect for your kids. You don’t have to repeatedly say “no touch!” but instead can relax and enjoy watching them touch & explore everything. They can even pretend to steer the ship and shoot the guns (big kids too – go ahead, you know you want to!).
- Tours are not stroller accessible. If you are bringing an infant or toddler, I highly recommend a baby carrier to keep them safe and manage the steep stairs with ease. It’s fully doable. I wore our 23lb toddler for nearly the entire tour minus a little freedom on deck.
- You can skip sections of the tour if you would like. Check the signage as you follow your way through the ship.
- The Battleship does not have air conditioning so plan to dress accordingly.
- There are restrooms on the Battleship and in the Visitor’s Center (changing tables).
- The Visitor’s Center has a small snack room with vending machines and, on the day of our visit, a hot dog vendor was set up in the parking lot around lunch time. Otherwise, plan a picnic or to head elsewhere for a meal. Downtown is an easy drive and offers plenty of selection.
Whether you’re headed to the Wilmington area for vacation this summer or just looking for entertainment during a day off, add the USS North Carolina to your plans. It’s a worthwhile adventure for the entire family! According to my 6 year old, it’s “epic.”
Open daily – check website for hours as they vary seasonally.