How to Best Explore the Battleship North Carolina
The Battleship USS North Carolina in Wilmington, NC is an awesome adventure that's not far from Topsail Island. Majestically moored in downtown Wilmington, the Battleship North Carolina is under an hour's drive making it an ideal Topsail day trip that's well worth your time. The battleship played a huge part in our country's military history and was once considered the world's greatest sea weapon—later becoming one of the most highly decorated American battleships of World War II. The Battleship North Carolina is also ranked the #1 attraction in Wilmington by TripAdvisor. This family friendly, hands-on historical adventure is definitely one to put on your Topsail, NC bucket list. Here's what you need to know!
BEST WAYS TO EXPLORE THE BATTLESHIP USS NORTH CAROLINA
Here are a few of our favorite ways to make the most of your visit to the USS North Carolina. It's time to start planning your battleship adventure!
WALK ABOARD THE BATTLESHIP
Visiting the battleship for yourself is the best way to explore it. Explore 9 levels of the ship, including the mess decks, berthing areas, engine room, bridge, Combat Information Center (CIC), and much more. Feel free to play with the guns, relax in the mess decks, and even take a nap in a berth. See who can spot the Battleship’s resident alligator, Charlie, from the bow first. Since the battleship is a memorial, it's open 365 days a year including holidays so any day is a good day to visit. Plan your visit here.
ATTEND OR PLAN A SPECIAL EVENT
There’s always something happening at the Battleship North Carolina. They have behind the scenes tours, in-depth programs of the inner workings of the ship, reenactments and fireworks just to name a few. Consider planning your own special event. Yes, you can rent the ship and/or Battleship Park for weddings, birthday parties, receptions, corporate meetings or any occasion. It's a unique venue with fabulous views of downtown Wilmington. Check out the special events here.
TAKE A GUIDED TOUR
The Battleship North Carolina is a self guided tour. Follow the arrows and enjoy climbing ladders to explore up to 9 levels. The ship is huge and not air conditioned, so be prepared to savor her as the sailors did. Visitors spend about 2 hours touring, on average, but many visitors stay longer. It's up to you how long you want to explore. The ship is yours for the day! Boost your learning to the next level by taking a guided tour. Friends of the Battleship provide public guided tours on Saturdays and Sundays (subject to guide availability). All tours begin at 9a.m. and there are several types of tours to choose from depending on your interests. Learn more about guided tours here.
EXPLORE THE ARCHIVE COLLECTION
The Battleship North Carolina now has their archives and collections online for you to explore. Whether you're a history buff, a homeschool parent, a teacher, a veteran or family of a veteran—there are plenty of resources for you to explore including archives, photographs, artifacts and more. New records are continually added to the database so you'll want to check back often. You can explore the online archives here. (The battleship does not keep official military records. The US National Archives and Records Administration maintains all official military records. Military veterans or next-of-kin of a deceased veteran may order a copy of the records here.)
WATCH MORE ABOUT THE NAVAL LEGEND USS NORTH CAROLINA
For those who love delving more into the history of the USS North Carolina, you definitely want to watch this video that highlights this local naval legend and the stories behind it. Enjoy!
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