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Discovery Place tops NC field trips, Lazy 5 second

Still popular

In a 2006 file photo, siblings Riley, 9, (bottom), Emily, 14, and Bradley Walker, 12, of Winston-Salem get up close and personal with a swamp water buffalo at the Lazy 5 Ranch. The Rowan ranch came in second in state field-trip attendance in 2015-16 after being first for five years.

In a 2006 file photo, siblings Riley, 9, (bottom), Emily, 14, and Bradley Walker, 12, of Winston-Salem get up close and personal with a swamp water buffalo at the Lazy 5 Ranch. The Rowan ranch came in second in state field-trip attendance in 2015-16 after being first for five years.

Dan Nicholas Park placed fourth in field trip attendance in the state in 2015-16.

Dan Nicholas Park placed fourth in field trip attendance in the state in 2015-16.

CHARLOTTE — Discovery Place, based in Charlotte, leads annual rankings for 2015-16 as North Carolina’s most visited field trip attraction.

The popular hands-on science museum has topped the list for the first time, after five years with the Lazy Five Ranch as the top attraction.

Discovery Place reported welcoming 142,628 students during the 2015-16 school year. Lazy Five Ranch finished second in attendance with 138,693 student visits.

This is the 13th year the survey was conducted by Carolina Publishing and Associates of Matthews, publishers of Carolina Field Trips Magazine and the Carolina Heritage Guide.

“We are delighted that so many educators across the Carolinas chose Discovery Place museums to help meet their STEM curriculum needs and enhance their student’s educational experience,” said Catherine Wilson Horne, president and CEO of Discovery Place, Inc. “By building partnerships with our schools, we are working to create the next generation of engineers, innovators, naturalists and thinkers who will lead our future workforce.”

Discovery Place, Inc. operates Discovery Place and the Charlotte Nature Museum in Charlotte along with Discovery Place Kids in Huntersville and Rockingham.

The Discovery Place attendance numbers represent the largest field trip attendance in the 13-year history of the survey. The number also represents a 14 percent increase over the attendance reported by Discovery Place last year.

Four of the top five attractions also reported numbers exceeding 100,000 student visitors.

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh finished third in the survey with 129,681 students followed by Salisbury’s Dan Nicholas Park with 118,000. The North Carolina Zoo rounded out the top five with 99,225.

Other North Carolina attractions ranking in the top 10 include New Bern’s Tryon Palace, 94,665; Morehead Planetarium in Chapel Hill, 89,962; Raleigh’s Marbles Kids Museum, 77,729; the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh, 76,739 and the North Carolina Aquariums at Roanoke Island, Pine Knoll Shores and Fort Fisher, 72,883.

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