I have been coming to Fort Macon nearly every summer since I was a toddler -- and that was over 60 years ago. The fort itself is a wonderful site for kids of all ages to explore. It's quite an adventure, roaming from cell to cell in the cool brick interior of the fort walls. Several rooms are set up as museum exhibits, detailing the life of a soldier [or a prisoner] within these walls, specifically during the Civil War and on thru WWI. There are interactive displays and personal accounts recorded and played thru speaker systems. During the summer months, there are delightful free concerts of local musicians, when the public gathers on the parade ground lawn, blankets and chairs, in the cool of the evening. Thoughout the year, there are various demonstrations of artillery and camp life, delivered by enthusiastic and well-versed State Park Rangers.
Recently, the park expanded with the thoughtfully planned building of a separate museum facility which is truly outstanding. An excellent film introduces the visitor to the military history of the fort. Exhibits and displays throughout this handsome building have much to offer, whatever your interests might be. There is an engaging short film and display on the natural history of the oceanfront ecosystem. And an eye-opening exhibit of man's effect on the ecology. Many of the displays are hands-on or in other ways intereactive. Something to attract every age of visitor. And the large attractive gift shop is way too tempting to pass up. Anything from colored glass vases to multiple rows of books, games, toys, jewelry, will lure you in and you're not likely to leave empty-handed.
The old fort itself has always been a very special place for my family, from long before the exhibits were developed. We have walked the ramparts with 3 generations of children. During WWII, when my father was stationed at "Swamp Lejeune" with the US Marines, and my mother was a resident of Morehead City, they came to the beachfront around the fort at night and observed the bombing of German U-boats just off the coast. Half a century later, in 1997, my father passed away, and 6 of his grandchildren [from NC, KY, GA and CO] made a pilgrimage together to the fort after his memorial service and respectfully lowered the flag to half-mast in his honor.
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