Railroad Museum & USS North Carolina Battleship | Day Trip to Wilmington NC

A Day Trip to Wilmington NC | Railroad Museum & USS North Carolina Battleship

We have a new tradition of going to the coast every summer with the family with the kids before they head back to their dad’s. I haven’t been to Wilmington NC in a good while, so we spent the day there visiting the USS North Carolina Battleship and the Wilmington Railroad Museum.

Wilmington houses many great attractions and there is so much to do; however, the North Carolina battleship is one of the most highly ranked sites in the Wilmington NC area. But the Wilmington Railroad museum was across the way and who can say no to anything trains? Surely not me.

USS North Carolina Battleship

When the keel of NORTH CAROLINA was laid in October of 1937 at the New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, New York,  she was the first battleship to be constructed in sixteen years. She became the first of ten fast battleships to join American fleet in World War II.

USS North Carolina (BB-55) is a North Carolina-class battleship launched in 1940; decommissioned in 1947 and a museum ship in Wilmington, North Carolina. During World War II, NORTH CAROLINA participated in every major naval offensive in the Pacific area of operations and earned 15 battle stars.

In 1958 the announcement of her impending scrapping led to a statewide campaign by citizens of North Carolina to save the ship from the scrappers torches and bring her back to her home state. The Save Our Ship (SOS) campaign was successful and the Battleship arrived in her current berth on 2 October 1961.

She was dedicated on 29 April 1962 as the State’s memorial to its World War II veterans and the 11,000 North Carolinians who died during the war.

Two people are able to control these guns, one person is able to turn the handle and move both people in a circle while the other one is in control of moving the guns up and down. It’s a bit of a workout, my dad has a video of me and my son doing it. However the little kids wanted to try. I joked with my daughter, Hailey that we were making a sign like this for the bathroom, because she likes to take hour long showers/baths. As a chef, I was pretty excited about what they had on the battleship in the kitchen. So at Elon University, we have ONE mixing bowl like this, except they have the little pipe at the bottom to drain, we don’t have that. We NEED that, that would make life so much easier.

Wilmington Railroad Museum

Authentic 1883 freight warehouse, historical artifacts & documents, 100-year-old steam engine, boxcar & caboose, interactive past times, spectacular model railroad exhibit, workplace re-creations, mini-train rides for kids. The Wilmington Railroad Museum is dedicated to preserving the history of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad and the history of railroading in the southeastern United States.

The museum has an eclectic collection of displays, which adults and children alike will find fun and educational including a Thomas the Tank Train play area, a life-size caboose, a retired boxcar, 100-year-old steam locomotive, and a model train display holding the Guinness World Record for Longest Model Train.

I plan on making another day trip to Wilmington NC and checking more of the downtown area, because there’s so much to see there.

Have you ever been to the USS North Carolina Battleship and the Wilmington Railroad Museum in Wilmington NC?

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Hey! I'm Natalie and I live in North Carolina. I'm a single mama of four awesome kiddos. These are my thoughts on life, motherhood, fitness and everything in between.


  • Ashley

    I haven’t been to North Carolina in ages, but this definitely looks like a museum my son would enjoy! And since we are history nerds, the battleship is definitely a must-see! Looks like your kids enjoyed it as well.

  • Kathleen

    I’ve never been to NC but will keep this mind when we do. We’ve only been to the Battleship USS Iowa so far. I like the Railroad Museum though. My kids will surely love it there.

  • Melanie

    I’ve been to the battleship. It is a neat place to experience. I would like to go back sometime soon and visit with the kids. I know my boys would really like it!

  • Ann Snook

    I love going to immersive museums like this! I visited some old submarines in Baltimore while on a field trip and it was a similar experience to yours. They are so fun and educational at the same time.

  • Heather

    Experiencing history really does bring it to life. Seeing the naval battleship from WW2 would be a great teaching point for my kids. Definitely on our bucket list for educational trips.

  • Ronnie

    Your kids are so cute. 🙂 I would really love to take my family to this museum as well. It’s a part of history that my kids must learn about, and there’s no better way than actually heading to a museum and making the learning more interactive and exciting.

  • June S.

    A DAY TRIP TO WILMINGTON NC | RAILROAD MUSEUM & USS NORTH CAROLINA BATTLESHIP) Wow! this day trip sounds like everyone had a fun time. I would love to visit one of those battle ships someday myself, (so neat)(

  • Cathy French

    I lived in NC for several years yet never visited. What a shame, I really enjoy these kinds of sites. Will have to travel south soon and include it in the plans.

  • Sandy Klocinski

    My husband and I visited Wilmington several years ago when we were looking for a place to retire. Since my husband was into history, especially military history we did go to see the battleship. We missed the railroad museum though

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