Matthews, NC, USA /PRNewswire/ — Asheville’s Biltmore once again leads the list of most visited North Carolina museums and historic attractions, and for the sixth consecutive year attracted more than a million visitors.
The largest private home in America drew 1,101,413 guests during 2011.
“We are always honored to be recognized as a favorite destination for visitors to the Carolinas,” said Bill Cecil, President and CEO of Biltmore. “Despite the tough economic conditions of the last few years, people are continuing to travel and we are honored when they choose Biltmore as a destination. We believe the variety of things to do at the estate, including Biltmore House, our gardens, the winery and Antler Hill Village, makes the visit fun and memorable.”
Fort Macon State Park in Atlantic Beach placed second in the annual survey conducted by Carolina Publishing Associates with 757,000 guests. Rounding out the top five most visited museums and historic attractions were Discovery Place of Charlotte, with 745,060 visiting, the NC Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh with 712,313 and the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro with 694,929.
For the second year in a row, Discovery Place, Inc. was ranked as the most visited museum and historic attraction in the Charlotte region. Discovery Place Inc.’s attendance included visitation to Discovery Place, Charlotte Nature Museum and Discovery Place KIDS-Huntersville.
“I am extremely lucky to work at a place filled with intriguing experiences that capture the imagination and engage visitors in the wonder of learning,” said John Mackay, president and CEO of Discovery Place. “It is an honor to have so many children, families, students and guests here every day excited to explore our exhibits, shows, programming, lab activities and more.”
The coastal region of North Carolina is home to nine of the top 30 attractions including Fort Macon State Historic site, Fort Fisher State Historic Site, the three North Carolina aquariums at Roanoke Island, Pine Knoll Shores and Fort Fisher; Fort Raleigh, Wright Brothers Memorial and the Battleship North Carolina. Seven of the most visited museums and historic attractions are located in the mountains and six sites are in the Triangle area. Four are located in the Charlotte area including Discovery Place and Billy Graham Library.
The annual survey of attendance at North Carolina’s museums and historic attractions is conducted by Carolina Publishing Associates, the Matthews-based publisher of the Carolina Heritage Guide, Carolina Field Trips Magazine and the African American Heritage and Visitor’s Guide.
Here are the top 30 most visited museums and historic attractions in North Carolina, along with their attendance numbers.
1. Biltmore, Asheville, 1,101,413.
2. Fort Macon State Park, Atlantic Beach, 757,700.
3. Discovery Place, Charlotte, 745,060.
4. NC Museum Of Natural Sciences, Raleigh, 712,313.
5. North Carolina Zoo, Asheboro, 694,929.
6. Fort Fisher State Historic Site, Kure Beach, 601,366.
7. Marbles Kids Museum, Raleigh, 546,799.
8. Wright Brothers National Memorial, Kill Devil Hills, 485,622.
9. Museum of Life and Science, Durham, 446,874.
10. North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, Kure Beach, 411,487.
11. North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores, 381,948.
12. North Carolina Arboretum, 367,083.
13. North Carolina Museum of Art, 363,246.
14. Natural Science Center of Greensboro, 319,076.
15. North Carolina Museum of History, 292,789.
16. Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, 283,478.
17. North Carolina Maritime Museum, 292,789.
18. North Carolina Aquarium at Roanoke Island, 256,186.
19. Grandfather Mountain, 245,000.
20. NASCAR Hall of Fame, 216,630.
21. Battleship North Carolina, 199,498.
22. Tryon Palace, 175,853.
23. Chimney Rock State Park, 170,994.
24. Linville Caverns, 169,830.
25. Cherokee Cultural District, 166,747.
26. The Billy Graham Library, 163,919.
27. The Mint Museum, 149,000.
28. Airborne and Special Operations Museum, 144,289.
29. Catawba Science Center, 141,969.
30. Morehead Planetarium and Science Center, 140,000.