Cape Fear Museum

The Cape Fear Museum, (shorthand for the Cape Fear Museum of History and Science), has been educating and entertaining visitors for well over 100 years. Founded in 1898, the museum is the oldest operating museum in North Carolina, and welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. Distinguished for its modern structure and Market Street location in the middle of Downtown Wilmington, the museum has a wealth of information on the history, wildlife and culture of the 50-square mile Cape Fear region. More than 50 thousand exhibits can be found within its brick and concrete walls, and patrons of all ages will surely find an exhibit or two that is engrossing, educational, and sheds new light on this essential coastal Carolina region.

The museum is essentially divided by two floors: a lower level that is primarily dedicated to natural history and scientific exhibits, and a top level that focuses on the unique history and culture of Wilmington and its surrounding areas.

Cape Fear Museum

Cape Fear Museum

Cape Fear Museum

Cape Fear Museum

Cape Fear Museum

Cape Fear Museum

Cape Fear Museum

Cape Fear Museum

Cape Fear Museum

Cape Fear Museum

Cape Fear Museum

 

On the first level, visitors can wander through replicas of the area's natural residents, including deer, beavers, and foxes, or admire the local native and rare plants of the region - including a carnivorous Venus Flytrap. There's also an area dedicated to hurricanes, which have certainly left their mark on the Carolina coastline over the last few centuries, as well as rotating exhibits that focus on the current scientific projects and issues on the forefront of the Wilmington scene. Upstairs, visitors are encouraged to dive into historic Wilmington with a series of exhibits that focus on early segregation issues, historic schoolrooms and households, and plenty of information on Fort Fisher and Wilmington's prominent role in the Civil War. Here, patrons can view an intricate diorama of the site, or settle in for a series of films and displays that transport visitors back to this pivotal battle in the Civil War.

An exhibit at the Cape Fear Museum in Wilmington, NC

Visitors will also find in-depth exhibits on the culture, geographic layout and economic climate of Wilmington, as well as a small exhibit dedicated to Wilmington's most famous local, basketball legend Michael Jordan.

A Michael Jordan exhibit at the Cape Fear Museum in Wilmington, NC

While on the surface, the all-encompassing collection of history and local wildlife might seem a bit stuffy, the museum is anything but. Virtually every exhibit has an interactive component or two in addition to the displays and panels of text explanations. Visitors can touch and feel the wildlife representations, settle into the historic 3rd grade classroom, and for younger patrons, head to the special "hands-on" children's' portion of the museum where kids can let loose while learning a little about the coastal Carolinas.

The gift shop at Cape Fear Museum in Wilmington, NC

Helpful staff is available throughout the museum to answer questions or provide extra insight into displays of interest, and the museum always has a series of rotating exhibits, changed annually if not sooner, to entertain seasoned patrons.

An exhibit at the Cape Fear Museum in Wilmington, NC

For example, rotating exhibits include a "Mad Scientist" station where kids can release their inner mad scientists as they create spooky concoctions that smoke, bubble and even glow in the dark. The museum has also featured a very popular Pirate Invasion seasonal exhibit, where young visitors can dress like buccaneers, learn how to hoist a sail and tie ship-worthy knots, treasure hunt, and even get an honorary pirate tattoo (temporary, of course.)

An exhibit at the Cape Fear Museum in Wilmington, NC

The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. and is open to Sunday visitors from 1:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. Kids of all ages are welcome, and visitors should expect to spend about two hours roaming through the many rooms, hallways and corners stuffed with exhibits. A gift shop is located near the exit where Wilmington fans can load up on postcards, toys, Tees, and replicas of the museum's historic or wild exhibits. Admission prices vary by age, and are generally $7 for adults and $4 for kids 6-17, with special discounts given to seniors and active military.

An exhibit at the Cape Fear Museum in Wilmington, NC

While the Cape Fear Museum will certainly entertain the amateur historians and scientists in your group, a prerequisite love of all things educational is certainly not required to enjoy this Downtown Wilmington landmark. With two well-stocked stories of exhibits, and plenty of interactive exhibits to keep young hands busy and entertained, a trip to the Cape Fear Museum of History and Science will be an expedition that every member of the family will adore.

An exhibit at the Cape Fear Museum in Wilmington, NC

An exhibit at the Cape Fear Museum in Wilmington, NC

An exhibit at the Cape Fear Museum in Wilmington, NC

An exhibit at the Cape Fear Museum in Wilmington, NC

A miniature historic display at the Cape Fear Museum in Wilmington, NC

A miniature historic display at the Cape Fear Museum in Wilmington, NC

A sword exhibit at the Cape Fear Museum in Wilmington, NC

A paddle wheel at the Cape Fear Museum in Wilmington, NC

 Cape Fear Museum

 

 

Cape Fear Museum

Cape Fear Museum

Cape Fear Museum

Cape Fear Museum

Cape Fear Museum

Cape Fear Museum

Cape Fear Museum


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Wilmington
Hours
*Off-season hours may vary*
Call 910-798-4370 for current hours.
  • Monday9:00am-5:00pm
  • Tuesday9:00am-5:00pm
  • Wednesday9:00am-5:00pm
  • Thursday9:00am-5:00pm
  • Friday9:00am-5:00pm
  • Saturday9:00am-5:00pm
  • Sunday1:00pm-5:00pm
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Victory Beach Vacations

Victory Beach Vacations

Visitors who are on the hunt for the postcard-perfect vacation rental in the heart of the Carolina Beach or Kure Beach area will find an enticing selection and plenty of friendly customer service when they rent through Victory Beach Vacations. Based in Carolina Beach in the coastal Cape Fear region, Victory Beach Vacations has more than 100 vacation rentals in all shapes and sizes to ensure that every vacationing family can find their dream home away from home on the beach.   When you book your Cape Fear getaway with Victory Beach Vacations, the fun doesn’t end when you leave the beach, it continues with an array of privately-owned properties outfitted with all of the amenities needed for a fabulous beach vacation.   Jenna Lanier, General Manager, explains that her family first opened the rental and property management business in 2002. At the forefront of Victory Beach operations is Lanier’s mother, Caroline Meeks. Meeks is both the Broker in Charge and co-owner with husband, Buck Meeks, who manages the Field Services team with Lanier’s husband, Scott.   For nearly 20 years, the Victory Beach team has worked tirelessly to establish a network of top-of-the-line rental properties for Cape Fear visitors to enjoy. “As far as our properties go,” explains Lanier, “they are all updated, well-furnished and appointed. “We have always performed post-cleaning inspections and since the pandemic, have put freshly laundered duvets over all of the comforters between rentals.”   Lanier emphasizes how important the guests experience is “we strive to give our guests a relaxing, stress free, memorable vacation.” This emphasis on customer service has led to Victory Beach Vacations having a 4.8 Google rating with over 300 reviews by happy owners and guests.In addition to Victory Beach’s superior sanitation practices, the company offers properties for every type of visitor. Choose from luxury oceanfront houses and condos to more reasonbly priced 2nd row properties with oceanviews. Many properties include pools and hot tubs as well, perfect for outdoor entertaining, and many are dog friendly.   Lanier also notes that all properties are within walking or driving distance to Pleasure Island’s main attractions – Carolina Beach and Kure Beach. The former, as described by Lanier, is the more commercialized of the two destinations and features a boardwalk, outdoor dining options and a plethora of weekly activities including fireworks, live music, amusement park pop-ups, and movies under the stars. Kure Beach offers a more residential feel with its fishing pier, intimate restaurants and family favorite, North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher.More water fun awaits, too. “There is a harbor and a canal that feed into the intercoastal. We have several properties on the harbor so guests can bring their boat, kayak, [or jet ski] and travel between islands,” says Lanier.   A stay with Victory Beach Vacations is an annual pilgrimage for most. “A large percentage of guests are previous guests. Some even reserve the same property for the next year as they’re checking out,” Lanier says. “It’s almost like it’s their personal vacation home.”   Even before guests arrive at their vacation destination, the Victory Beach Vacations’ website greets them with a live beach cam and exquisite aerial footage of both Carolina and Kure Beaches. See for yourself by scanning the QR code and call Victory Beach Vacations at 910.458.0868 to book your Cape Fear getaway. Start making your memories today! —Grace Silipigni