Without question, the Battleship NORTH CAROLINA is the centerpiece of the Wilmington Riverfront. A majestic symbol of this country's hard-earned naval victories in World War II, the battleship is a must-see attraction.
Enshrined in a berth on Eagles Island across the Cape Fear River from historic downtown Wilmington, this awesome vessel is the memorial to the 10,000 North Carolinians of all the armed services who gave their lives during World War II. Commissioned in 1941, the 45,000-ton warship wields nine 16-inch turreted guns and carries nickel-steel hull armor 16 to 18 inches thick. The USS NORTH CAROLINA Battleship survived a direct torpedo hit in 1942, a tribute to the strength of its construction. In fact, the "Immortal Showboat" is known for the relatively small number of casualties it suffered during the war.
The Battleship NORTH CAROLINA came to its present home in 1961. It took a swarm of tugboats to maneuver the 728-foot vessel into its berth, where the Cape Fear river is only 500 feet wide. You can absorb all the Battleship NORTH CAROLINA has to offer at your own speed and see what is most interesting to you with a self-guided tour that takes you to more than nine decks. Included are the crew's quarters, galley, sick bay, gun turrets and exhibits that reveal the heart of this World War II Battleship, including new visual displays with first-person accounts of daily life aboard the battleship. These individual stories help bring history to life, capturing the imaginations of children and adults alike, who may have only read about World War II in textbooks.
Plan on taking at least two hours to enjoy the tour. Spend some time in the visitors center, where you can view the fascinating display's related to the Battleship NORTH CAROLINA, its place in WWII history, as well as the memorabilia and personal belongings of the people who lived and worked on board. On your way out, don't forget to visit the Ship's Store, a gift shop filled with Battleship NORTH CAROLINA souvenirs and gifts with a nautical or military theme.
Ample parking adjoins the berth, and Battleship Park includes a sheltered picnic area. Please note that only the visitors center and the main deck of the battleship are wheelchair accessible. Tours cost $14 for those ages 12 and older and $6 for children ages 6 through 11. Children 5 and younger get in free. The cost is $10 for seniors 65 and older as well as retired and active-duty military personnel. Ticket sales end one hour before closing. Be sure to check out the Battleship's website for a calendar of events and guided tour information.
The Battleship is open every day. From Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day, hours are 8 AM to 8 PM, except for Independence Day, when the ship will close at 5 PM. From Labor Day to Memorial Day weekend, hours are 8 AM to 5 PM. Ticket sales end one hour before closing. There is no extra charge for unscheduled appearances by old Charlie, the alligator who makes his home near the battleship at the river's edge.
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