top NC historic attractions

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

America’s largest home once again is the most visited attraction among North Carolina’s public and private museums and historic sites, according to a statewide survey released today.
Two local sites ó the N.C. Auto Racing Hall of Fame in Mooresville and Roush Fenway Racing Museum in Concord ó placed among the top 25.
Charlotte’s Discovery Place moved up to the second most visited destination following an extremely successful Body Worlds exhibit in 2007.
The only list newcomer in the central region of the state was the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro, which finished third in the overall survey.
The survey is conducted by Carolina Publishing Associates of Matthews, publishers of the annual Carolina Heritage Guide and Carolina and Virginia Field Trips Magazines.
Biltmore, the lavish home built by George Vanderbilt, topped the list of state attractions for the fourth consecutive year. For the second consecutive year, Biltmore also drew more than one million visitors to Asheville.
“One of the reasons Biltmore estate is so popular is because it’s Biltmore House and more,” Julie Hanser, vice president of attraction marketing for Biltmore, said in a press release about the survey.
“We consider it an 8,000-acre playground for all ages. Biltmore has 75 acres of landscaped gardens, the most visited winery in the United States, five restaurants, the four-star Inn on Biltmore Estate and an abundance of outdoor activities.”
The top 25 most visited attractions, along with their attendance numbers, were:
– Top 10: 1. Biltmore, Asheville (1,117,719); 2. Discovery Place, Charlotte (792,508); 3. North Carolina Zoo, Asheboro (752,052); 4. N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh (694,763); 5. Fort Macon State Park/Historic Site, Atlantic Beach (620,074); 6. Wright Brothers Memorial, Kill Devil Hills, (496,370); 7. N.C. Aquarium-Pine Knoll Shores, Atlantic Beach (444,521); 8. N.C. Aquarium-Kure Beach (431,182); 9. Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, Manteo (322,377); and 10. Museum of Life and Science, Durham (319,792).
– Second 10: 11. N.C. Museum of History, Raleigh (313,827); 12. N.C. Museum of Art, Raleigh (303,314); 13. N.C.. Aquarium-Roanoke Island (297,300); 14. Grandfather Mountain, Linville (275,000); 15. N.C. Maritime Museum, Beaufort (240,000); 16. Chimney Rock State Park, Chimney Rock (230,000); 17. Cherokee Historical Association, Cherokee (215,710); 18. Battleship North Carolina, Wilmington (209,543); 19. N.C. Auto Racing Hall of Fame, Mooresville (198,000); and 20. Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, Bryson City (195,440).
– Last of the best: 21. Linville Caverns, Marion (176,119); 22. Natural Science Center, Greensboro (175,745); 23. Roush Fenway Racing Museum, Concord (175,000); 24. Ghost Town in the Sky, Maggie Valley (162,500); and 25. Roanoke Island Festival Park, Manteo (149,232).
More information is available at Carolina Publishing’s Web site,