the u. s. s. north carolina is docked on the cape fear river across from the riverwalk in downtown. the battleship north carolina was built in 1941 and was the first new construction battleship to enter service during world war II. the north carolina participated in every major naval battle in the pacific. the north carolina was the most decorated battleship in WW II with 15 battle stars. remarkably only 10 sailors died on the north carolina during the war. for those interested in WW II and naval history the battleship north carolina is a must see place when in wilmington. for admission and times see the attached web site.
The Battleship is one of the more popular things to do in the area. So why write another tip??
My spin on this is: tour the city of Wilmington first! It doesn't really go with the flow of the river shops and nice houses. I went with a 2 year old, pregnant lady and grandparents...so when we went to the Battleship FIRST....they were in no shape to then tour the city of Wilmington in depth.
When you first arrive you will be in the initial museum part with lots of replicas and models and even an auditorium where you can watch a 15 minute video of the history before even setting foot on the ship. The actual Battleship can be explored thoroughly with almost every hallway and room open for viewing. Beware of the steep steps though!
And for those of you history buffs who have not seen the other 50 tips here is the history... The first "Battleship NC" was made in the 1820s but this particular ship that you tour was used during World War II in the Pacific to fight against Japan. They were infamous for their big guns on the ship...which you are able to sit on and even move (well at least my brother didn't get in trouble for doing it)...
Beware if you bring young children (like a 2 year old). It can be very fun but the stairs going down into the ship are very steep and there's no way they can get around without you holding them. And the railings that you must hold on to are very thin along with the steps. While touring down under you can also turn a corner and there's a staircase dropping straight down and if your child gets away they can be SERIOUSLY hurt. Luckily we didn't have any problems but many difficulties getting up and down stairs with a kid in our arms!
The Battleship NORTH CAROLINA is open every day of the year, including all holidays, as the ship is a memorial.
Summer Hours (Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day) 8:00am - 8:00pm, EXCEPT Independence Day when the ship closes at 6:00pm to prepare for fireworks.
Winter Hours (After Labor Day weekend through Thursday prior to Memorial Day weekend) 8:00am - 5:00pm, EXCEPT Christmas Day when the ship opens at noon.
(Please note, ticket sales end one hour before closing)
The tour is self-guided and it is well-marked so that you can tour at your own pace. We recommend allowing at least two hours for the tour. For the enthusiast, it will take three to four hours to fully experience the ship.
Adult - 12 and over $12.00
Seniors (65 and older) $10.00
(active duty or retired with military ID card) $10.00
Child - 6 through 11 $6.00
Child - 5 and under Free
Child ADA $3.00
ADA Staff needed to assist - Free (up to 1 per client)
The Battleship gladly accepts Cash, VISA or MasterCard. They do not accept personal checks.
I have always enjoyed world history and naval activities in particular, so my wife humoured me with a short stop-over in Wilmington so I could have a look at my first battleship.
This view shows Sue on the bow of the "North Carolina", with six of its nine 16-inch main guns behind her. The 35,000 ton North Carolina was built in 1941 and retired in 1947 after serving with distinction throughout the Pacific in WW2. In 1961 she was transferred to the city of Wilmington and became an official memorial site in 1962.
We did not spend very much time in NC and, since I was running a bit of a fever on the way down to Florida, so we did not do much else in the way of looking around either Wilmington or the state. The second photo is a shot of me manning one of the many quadruple Anti-aircraft gun emplacements.
Spend a morning or afternoon touring the historic Battleship North Carolina, a memorial to the 10,000 North Carolinians who died in WWII. It survived a torpedo in 1942 and has been in Wilmington since 1961. You can visit most of the ship, including the crew's quarters, galley, sick bay, gun turrets, engine room, plotting rooms, radio central, the Admiral's Cabin, and the bridge and combat central. The entrance fee also includes exhibits featuring writings of life on the ship.
Entrance to the battleship is $6 for ages 6 through 11, $12 for those 12 and older, and $10 for seniors 65 and older as well as retired and active-duty military personnel (free for those under 6).
It's open every day. From Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day, hours are 8 AM to 8 PM. From Labor Day to Memorial Day weekend, hours are 8 AM to 5 PM. Ticket sales end one hour before closing.
This place really surprised me. I'm not a huge military history buff and I really was more interested in visiting the battleship in order to take some photos from high on its bow across the river. However, I was amazed at the full access, self-guided tour that takes you to almost every inch of this impressive ship. The ship served in every battle of World War II and miraculously only 10 sailors perished in all of her battles.
I was told by some locals that sometimes you'll see alligator's if you look over the edge of the ship that faces away from town.
I have a real problem with boats. I can get sick just standing on the dock, watching small craft bob up and down.
But I had no problem with this big bad boy, the USS North Carolina.
US NAVY INFO:
35000 tons, 730 ft by 110 ft, 27 ft draft.
crew of 1900, top speed 27knots,
+55 guns (nine are 16inch barrell diameter).
Launched in 1940, first US Battleship in WW2, nickname "ShowBoat" for its celebrity.
Action in World War II:
Guadalcanal, Tulagi, Solomon Islands,
guard ship for carriers Enterprise and Saratoga.
Torpedo damage in 1942. back in action in 1943.
Makin, Tarawa, Abemama, Gilbert Islands, Nauru, Kavieng, Marshall Islands.
Marianas, Saipan, Tinian, Guam, Lyte, Luzon, Okinawa, coast of Japan.
15 Battle Stars, retired in 1962.
This was an impressive array of firepower from a heavily armored "sea tank". The size is tough to describe unless you have been on deck. Below deck, it is a maze of heavy doors, narrow halls, still narrower stairways.... shadowy, cold. (My wife's aunt is a tea-reader so when my wife says that she does not want to be below deck anymore I know she is getting the heebie-geebies). She said she felt a weird presence down there.
The day was cloudy-bright and mild, so we were able to stay on deck and check out everything. I would imagine on a hot day, you might need to find some shade.
Prior to going aboard, they have a half-hour video and a diorama and a small museum of momentos.
All in all, it was a great three hours.
This was the US Navy's first new battleship launched after the 1922 Washington Naval Treaty, which had halted battleship construction for over a decade. She served with distinction in the Pacific theater of World War II, starting at the Battle of the Eastern Solomons.
As a small child, my family took me to see the USS Battleship of NC and I still remember touring this iron-clad vessel with it's massive size and unique history.
The main tourist attraction in Wilmington. The USS North Carolina is now permanently docked across the river in Wilmington. Tours of the battleship are given. A great opportunity to see a battleship.