Wright Brothers National Memorial Travel Guide

  • Visitors Center
    Visitors Center
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  • Museum
    Museum
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  • Monument
    Monument
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Wright Brothers National Memorial Things to Do

  • DEBBBEDB's Profile Photo

    by DEBBBEDB Updated Jun 2, 2014

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    One of the places we were sure to visit on our trip up to Maryland was the Wright Brothers National Memorial in NC. We went to the full size metal sculpture of the plane for the photos. Since Barb is a pilot who is currently flying the 777, this plane was a bit of a 'comedown' for her (joke)

    There is a fee of $4.00 per person to enter the park, but after you go in, there is a visitor's center with:
    a full-scale reproduction of the 1902 glider,
    a full-scale reproduction of the 1903 flying machine,
    an engine block from the original 1903 Flyer, and
    a reproduction of the Wright's first wind tunnel.
    the Centennial Pavilion with additional displays, and also outdoor displays which show where the flights took place, with the distance marked out.

    Barb telling Wilber how to do it Sculpture of the Wright Brother's plane Our friends with the plane Exhibit in the museum Another photo of the plane
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  • grandmaR's Profile Photo

    by grandmaR Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    At the time of the Centennial of Flight celebration, the original visitor's center at the Wright Brother's National Monument was judged as "inadequate". So funds were raised by commericial firms and the Centennial Pavilion was built. Content partners (which means organizations who have exhibits here) include NASA, the United States Air Force, The Wright Experience, Outer Banks History Center, General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission and others.

    The Pavilion houses interpretive and educational exhibits. It will continue for five years or more, as part of a long-term improvement plan for the park, serving at least 5 million visitors in total.

    There was a 70 minute presentation about the Wright's experience on the island - including the first boat trip from Elizabeth City where the dinghy to get out to the big boat was leaking and the big boat was leaking and the sails were worn and the lines were frayed. Wilbur was afraid to eat any of the food on the ship. He got to Kitty Hawk 36 hours later - hungry.

    Wright Memorial Shaft is on the left of Pavillions
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  • grandmaR's Profile Photo

    by grandmaR Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    The Kill Devil Hills Memorial Association, a national and local support group was founded August 27, 1927 to approving the design of a monument that was called for under the Wright Brothers Memorial Act.

    The Coast Guard and local citizens partially stabilized the large hill at Kill Devil Hills to help prepare it for the monument. The War Department (now called the Department of Defense) planted shrubs and trees, and sodded the ground, preventing the continued southwest migration of Big Kill Devil Hill and altered the once barren scene of the first flight.

    After a lot of disagreement about the design (Should it be a beacon? Should it be a Greek temple?), finally on February 14, 1930, the firm of Rodgers and Poor were awarded the $10,000 prize for their design and told that they were to proceed as architects for the construction of the monument.

    The Rodgers and Poor design had strong ties to the then popular Art Deco movement — a movement traced to the 1925 Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels in Paris and the design gave expression to the "aesthetics of the machine." Essentially a masonry shaft, about 60 feet high, the monument was embellished with highly stylized sculpted wings on each side to symbolize the ideas of flight and motion. The design implied ancient Egyptian motifs, an important source for Art Deco designs, which also drew upon Native-American and Asian precedents.

    Dedication day (November 19, 1932) arrived with heavy rains and high winds which cut down on attendance and partcipitation. Orville later confided that he felt the monument was "distinctive, without being freakish." At the end of the ceremony, aviator Ruth Nichols pulled a cord to officially mark the dedication of the monument. The cord released a well-drenched American flag concealing the word GENIUS in the inscription along the base of the monument:

    IN COMMEMORATION OF THE CONQUEST OF THE AIR
    BY THE BROTHERS WILBUR AND ORVILLE WRIGHT
    CONCEIVED BY GENIUS
    ACHIEVED BY DAUNTLESS RESOLUTION AND UNCONQUERABLE FAITH

    Sunny side of Memorial Shady side Flag and memorial at sunset
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Wright Brothers National Memorial Warnings and Dangers

  • grandmaR's Profile Photo

    by grandmaR Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    In common with most dune based islands, the sand dunes around here are vaariable and easily damaged. A great deal of planting had to be done to stablize Big Kill Devil Hill in order to build the Memorial on it.

    Help protect Big Kill Devil Hill by staying on the paths. Remember that Big Kill Devil Hill is highly exposed to lightning during thunderstorms. Bicycles are permitted only on the established roads, not on paths, and skateboards are prohibited.

    Flowers in field Bob walking along the flight path
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  • grandmaR's Profile Photo

    by grandmaR Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    The national park service warns that there are sand spurs and prickly pear cactus off the path that you will want to avoid. They also want to avoid having people damaging the plantings by tramping around off the paths.

    Warning sign Prickly Pear Cactus
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