Learn About WWII History Aboard Battleship North Carolina | Visit
Visitors to Wilmington, North Carolina have a unique opportunity to experience some of WWII history with a tour of Battleship North Carolina.
Built in a New York shipyard in 1937, the battleship USS North Carolina served for seven years.
“She was one of the first in this class at the time,” said Meaghan Holmes, director of marketing and promotions for Battleship North Carolina. “At the time, it was considered the greatest sea weapon in the world, the Jewel of the Navy.”
The USS North Carolina received 15 Battle Stars, making it the most decorated battleship of the war. She fought in Iwo Jima,
The ship was brought to its present home in 1961 and has been open to the public since 1962.
“The state of North Carolina has asked the children to donate their milk money, their pennies and dimes, to bring it here,” Holmes said.
The battleship is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., with extended hours of operation from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
“We’re open every day, including Christmas,” said Holmes.
The battleship attracts around 300,000 annual visitors, with people coming from all over the country to visit the ship.
“This is not your typical museum,” said Holmes. “You can fire the cannons, you can sit in the turrets. He survived the war. He can outlive your children.
From kids who enjoy running on the bridge to veterans who served in WWII, the battleship can be enjoyed by guests of all ages.
Whether you are interested in weaponry or the culinary arts, there is something for you inside the ship.
Have you ever wondered how many pies the kitchen staff have to make to make sure everyone gets a bite of them? Or what was the Thanksgiving dinner like for the men on board?
Get a glimpse of this and more, from the bunk beds and bathrooms to the control room and kitchen.
“Our curators did a great job of recreating it,” Holmes said.
Visit the ship’s soda shop, which features original equipment, or the Chapel, which contains many original hymns (you can purchase your own hymn from the battleship gift shop).
“It was a floating city,” said Holmes. “It was all there. “
The ship’s operations are fully self-funded and the battleship relies primarily on volunteers to keep it open to the public.
Tours are self-guided, with an audio tour available to guests through the Battleship North Carolina mobile app.
Holmes said most guests spend 2-3 hours touring the ship, although the app offers alternative routes for those with less time. You can schedule a guided tour on request at an additional cost.
If a loved one served in the armed forces representing the state of North Carolina, you can find their name on the ship’s honor roll.
“We are the state memorial to all of the veterans who have served,” said Holmes.
The names are listed alphabetically by county.
“The honor roll is sentimental for so many people,” said Holmes.
On April 26 at 4:30 p.m., personnel from Battleship North Carolina will cut the ribbon to unveil the Memorial Bridge and SECU Cofferdam.
The Memorial Walkway is a half-mile-long, 10-foot-wide wooden walkway that surrounds the ship. The addition will include five replacement zones, each honoring a branch of the military – Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard.
The walkway will be open to the public and free to explore.
The cofferdam is being built to allow the ship to be dry-docked, giving workers a way to repair and restore the ship’s hull. The last dry docking and major repairs to the ship took place in 1953.
The $ 8 million project has been under construction since July 2016.
The ribbon cutting will coincide with the battleship’s annual crew meeting. Holmes said about 12 original crew members will be in attendance when the new addition opens.
Battleship North Carolina is docked at 1 Battleship Road in Wilmington, North Carolina. For more information visit battleshipnc.com or dial 910-399-9100.