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“Who knew it would be so cool?”

Ranked #1 of 113 things to do in Wilmington
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Owner description: As you walk the decks of the NORTH CAROLINA, imagine yourself in the South Pacific during WWII searching the sky for enemy aircraft, anticipating what may happen next. Step aboard the most decorated US Battleship of WWII! Explore nine decks, crew's quarters, gun turrets, and much more. Discover where history comes alive. Located at the junctions of highways 17, 76, 74, 421 on the Cape Fear River across from historic downtown Wilmington. Open every day!
Useful Information: Activities for older children
binghamton, ny
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Who knew it would be so cool?”
Reviewed April 24, 2009

We visited this battleship on a Wednesday in late August 2008. We visited an aquarium in the morning, then went here about 2:00 pm. I think we toured for three hours, but could have easily spent the day. My kids were 7 and 11, and were fascinated by this. I thought they would like it, but every family group on the ship was having a good time.

First, watch the movie history and look at the exhibits inside. They are well done. My grandfather was a diesel mechanic in the Pacific theater in WWII, so these exhibits were very moving.

Then move onto the ship. There is some walking, but I am mobility impaired and could see three levels of the ship without trouble. Almost all of the exhibits are interactive. If you're not supposed to touch it, the room is behind plexiglass. Everyone in the family was fascinated by the compact, efficient layout. The signage is fantastic. Easy to read, well written, and informal. I learned a ton about WWII and how wars are run.

My kids crawled all over this ship. My daughter was thrilled that this ship made ice cream, and insisted that I take a picture of her in front of the ice cream shop. That's her 'making muffins.' My son is 'shooting down the enemy.'

As we were getting ready to leave, an enormous alligator cruised up to the side of the ship. Evidently tourists feed her sandwiches and she was looking for a handout. This was our first live wild 'gator sighting, so was very exciting!

The gift shop is blessedly air conditioned, but sparsely stocked. I would have liked to buy my dad a book about the ships of WWII, but they did not really have anything.

Admission is typical-- $12/ adult, $6/ child 6-11, free for kids 5 and under. I just found out that admission is 1/2 off for ADA, but we paid full price for me. This is definitely worth it, a highlight of a great trip to North Myrtle Beach.

Thank travelingteacher29
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Level 6 Contributor
474 reviews
130 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 266 helpful votes
“Excellent attraction, bring your walking shoes”
Reviewed April 18, 2009

This is a do-not-miss attraction in Wilmington that combines history with a "Wow" factor of seeing a WWII warship up close. There is a lot of walking and stair-climbing, so bring comfortable shoes. Plan on a good 2 hours if you want to see everything. A few of the arrows for the self-guided tour were a little confusing (does this loop around or go in two different directions?) so maybe numbered stops or a map might help make sure you see everything. If you have the time, watch the introductory video before boarding the ship. That helps put what you're about to see in perspective.

Thank TarHeel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 5 Contributor
81 reviews
40 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“Very well done”
Reviewed March 24, 2009

We have visited multiple battleship memorials over the years. This one is far and away the best we have seen. A very worthy memorial.

The tourable areas are extensive and very well restored and maintained.

It is a self-guided tour that is well marked with very good information posted at each site of interest, often with extensive personal comments/quotes from those who served on the ship. In other words, lots of insight on the people who served on the ship and the adventures they had along the way.

The full tour involves descending and ascending several ship stairs between decks. Probably need to be careful with very young kids.

Thank KenBColorado
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
South Carolina
Level 5 Contributor
47 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
“Hidden Tour- Lights out”
Reviewed January 25, 2009


Hi, yesterday was January 24th 2009 and it was wet and rainy. My husband and I enjoyed the3 + hour Hidden Battleship tour. We have been to this ship before however this was our first time exploring the areas that are generally closed to the public. 2 times a year volunteers of the ship will take tours to these locations for a fee that provides income to substain the upkeep of this memorial museum.

Our tour was of 8 people including the 2 tour guides. People ranging in age of 12 to age 70. We began our journey by first walking to the CIC room, this is where plans of war where made, it is a small cramped room that held up to 30 sailors at one time. We then climbed to the highest point of the look out using man-made ladders and cable rope. This was particularly frightening because of our shoes were slick from the water we collected walking on the ship deck. We made it and what a sight it was to look over the water from that point.

After coming down we explored the engine room 3, an old radio room that is still used today as a hobbyist ham radio station (run by volunteers sending Morris Code messages). We got to see the engineers room, the paper found in this room is clearly dated. Perhaps the only reason it has not fully decayed is because it does not get any sunlight in this dark and lonely room.

As you go deeper into the ship the smell of old decaying oil becomes stronger, one room in particular that was most fowl to most of us was the boatsanis locker. This is way up front of the bow. Thick nasty oil smothers the gears and chains emitting a revolting Oder.
While we were exploring this part of the ship all the lights went off! This was not part of the ship tour. All 8 of us stood in the darkness when our volunteer tour guides turned on their handi flashlights and then guided us to safety. While walking one of the volunteers engaged us in the song from the famous TV show Gilligan’s island. (which was funny since we too were on a 3 hour tour) We had walked through 7 rooms all of which had 2 ft high hatchways, when finally our tour guide found the light switch. all 8 of us were locked in this part of the ship, no one else was on tour with us who we could see or hear.

Could it had been that another volunteer tour guide who just happened to be in the area turned the lights off to conserve energy? Or was it a spirit who lives on the ship playing a practical joke? No one was hurt on this tour. Although the youngest member of our tour had been frightened to tears.

Was it a spirit? It could have been. After all many people claim that they have seen or scents ghost here on the ship. I am now a believer that at least one practical joker does exist.

For anyone wanting to explore the ship from home can now do so. The USS. North Carolina Battleship store sells the My Hobby tour. Load it on your computer and enjoy the visual tour! Call the ship and ask for it or check out hobbysoftware.net.


1 Thank SouthCarolinaLucy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Okemos, Michigan
Level 6 Contributor
205 reviews
28 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 163 helpful votes
“USS North Carolina is a great experience”
Reviewed September 24, 2008

The USS North Carolina gave us a much more interesting experience than we expected! I have toured several ships and subs in the past, and the North Carolina was the best I have seen. The ship allowed visitors to go into many more areas than most ships allow. Each area had a good explaination of the area, along with very interesting quotes from former sailors who gave their personal experiences. It really brought the history, and the experience of living on the ship, to life.

My husband and I spent a lot more time on the ship than I expected and enjoyed every minute. It also looked like fun for kids since you could go into the gun turrets, sit on the gun seats, sit at the little stools in the mess hall, and see many things that you wouldn't usually see or do (like see the bathrooms - eeeeuuuw! - but kids love that stuff!)

I would strongly recommend visiting the USS North Carolina if you are in the area! (Be sure to get discount coupons ($1.00 off) in the discount booklets that are available everywhere - you need one coupon per ticket, so get enough for each person.)

2 Thank glacial_erratic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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