NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – Residents in New Hanover County enjoyed tourist activities for free Sunday as part of the 18th annual Be a Tourist in Your Hometown Day.
Each year on the first Sunday in March, dozens of attractions open their doors free of charge to residents. March 3, 27 places will welcome people who live in the area.
Lines were out the door at Bellamy Mansion on Market Street as dozens of people waited to see the historic home at no charge. Tour Guides said they were impressed by the turn out.
"Wilmington's been here since 1731 and the Bellamy has been here since 1861 so I think people want to come out and see what there history is all about," said volunteer, Wade Toth.
Here is a list of the attractions:
SPECIAL GUESTS at Riverfront Visitor Information Booth: 12-3pm (weather permitting), Cape Fear Riverwalk (Water & Market Sts.), Wilmington, 341-4030. Stop by to meet the special guests, get a "Hometown Tourist" sticker, and a list of attractions/tours offering free admission! Team and event mascots will greet residents, hand out schedules/flyers, pose for photos, and sign autographs. Confirmed guests include "Sledge" (Wilmington Hammerheads pro soccer team) from 12-3pm; Azalea Belles (courtesy of the Cape Fear Garden Club) from 1-3pm; and storyteller/musician John Golden from 1-3pm.
Airlie Gardens, 9am-5pm, 300 Airlie Rd., Wilmington, 798-7700. Stroll through the winding paths of this century-old garden by the sea. Enjoy 67-acres of gardens, including the 468-year-old Airlie Oak.
Bellamy Mansion Museum, 1-4pm, 503 Market St., Wilmington, 251-3700. Visit the formal areas and kitchen in the basement of the mansion, hear the history of the original slave quarters and its restoration, and peruse the gift shop.
Burgwin-Wright Museum House, 12-5pm, 224 Market St., Wilmington, 762-0570. The house will not be open; however, visitors may tour the historic gardens and visit the Colonial kitchen and the former jail. A self-guided garden tour is available, with layout, historic facts, plant identification, etc.
Cameron Art Museum, 10am–5pm, 3201 S. 17th St., Wilmington (corner of Independence Blvd and 17th St.), 395-5999. Southeast NC's premier art museum. Cameron Art Museum celebrates 50 years! Visit the Museum Shop and view three exhibits: From Gatehouse to Winehouse: Inside the Artist's Workplace, Sometimes Madness is Wisdom: The Artwork of Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald and The Transformative Power of Friendship.
Cape Fear Museum of History & Science, 1-5pm, 814 Market St., Wilmington, 798-4350. Discover the history, science and cultures of the Lower Cape Fear. Visit the Museum's newest exhibits – Shopping Around Wilmington, Collection Selections: Breakfast, and the award-winning Fragments of War exhibit combines the stories of wartime symbols with the more intimate histories of some local men who served in the Confederate military.
NHC ID & ADVANCE TIX Ghost Walk of Old Wilmington, Meets at Cape Fear Riverwalk at Market & Water Sts., Wilmington, 233-7630. Guided tours start at 5:30pm only. ADVANCE TICKETS REQUIRED. Tickets MUST be picked up at the Black Cat Shoppe at 8 Market St. on Saturday March 2nd from 11am-6pm. Tickets will be given out on a first come, first serve basis. NO TICKETS WILL BE GIVEN OUT THE DAY OF THE TOUR. Guide will take larger than normal groups and tour will be somewhat abbreviated. Space is limited. NHC RESIDENTS ONLY.
NHC ID & ADVANCE TIX Hollywood Location Walk of Old Wilmington, Meets at Cape Fear Riverwalk at Market & Water Sts., Wilmington, 233-7630. Guided tour starts at 12:00 noon only. ADVANCE TICKETS REQUIRED. Tickets MUST be picked up at the Black Cat Shoppe at 8 Market St. on Saturday the 2nd from 11am-6pm. Tickets will be given out on a first come, first serve basis. NO TICKETS WILL BE GIVEN OUT THE DAY OF THE TOUR. Guide will take larger than normal groups and tour will be somewhat abbreviated. Space is limited. NHC RESIDENTS ONLY.
Haunted Cotton Exchange Tour, 10am, Meets at The Cotton Exchange next to the German Café. 409-4300.Take a 20-minute tour of the Haunted Cotton Exchange, one of the most haunted locations in Wilmington. Tour limited to 50 people.
Jungle Rapids Family Fun Park, 1-4pm, 5320 Oleander Dr., Wilmington, 791-0666. Choice of one (1) of the following activities to each participant: 1-game of Jungle Golf -OR- 1-free Grand Prix go-kart ride -OR- 1-free Sky Tower ride.
Tour Old Wilmington History Walking Tours, 1pm and 2pm, Meets at the foot of Market and Water Sts. 409-4300. Take a 30-minute tour of historic downtown Wilmington. Learn fun and interesting facts about Wilmington during the Victorian Era. Tours limited to 50 people.
Trip With Triplett-Oakdale Cemetery Guided Tour, 12pm; 1:30pm; 3pm, Meets at Oakdale Cemetery, 520 N. 15th St., Wilmington, 392-6753. Stroll through tranquil Oakdale Cemetery with Robin Triplett, a retired Cape Fear History teacher, and learn about the lives of the people that rest there.
NHC ID Wilmington Railroad Museum, 1-4pm, 505 Nutt St., Wilmington, 763-2634. Railroad history and features for everyone, all in an authentic 1883 railroad building. NHC RESIDENTS ONLY.
Wilmington Trolley, 1-4pm. Downtown Wilmington, 763-4483. The trolley will offer free shuttle service between the participating attractions in the downtown area. This is shuttle service only, not tours.
NHC ID & ADVANCE TIX Wrightsville Beach Scenic Tours & Taxi, 12pm &1pm, Banks Channel across from Blockade Runner Resort, Wrightsville Beach, 200-4002. The Cape Fear Naturalist, Joseph Abbate, explores the tidal creeks of Masonboro Island. The 1-hour tour focuses on water bird and shorebird identification. Topics include shorebird identification, salt marsh function and water quality issues. ADVANCE RESERVATIONS REQUIRED. Space is limited.
FREE TODAY… AND EVERY DAY!
Arboretum at New Hanover County Co-op Ext., 9am-6pm, 6206 Oleander Dr., Wilmington, 798-7660. Explore 6+ acres of demonstration and trial gardens to discover the newest and best plants for area landscapes & gardens.
FREE EVENT Black Cat Shoppe, 1-5pm. 8 Market St., Wilmington, 251-6663. Aye, mateys, 'yer looking for a bit of adventure in the Port City? Drop by to see some magic, hear some true Wilmington pirate stories or to have ye fortune told. Space is limited and we will entertain first come, first served.
FREE EVENT Blue Moon Gift Shops, 12-5pm, 203 Racine Dr., Wilmington, 799-5793. A Wilmington shopping destination that offers shoppers an eclectic mix of charming and diverse boutiques all under one roof! Tastings from various shops all day.
FREE EVENT Capt'n Bill's Backyard Grill, Noon-9pm, 4240 Market St. (behind "17" North Shopping Ctr.), Wilmington, 762-0173. Free volleyball and corn hole. Grill will be open with food & drink specials.
Carolina Beach State Park, 8am-8pm, 1010 State Park Rd., Carolina Beach, 458-8206. Bring picnic, fishing supplies. Explore nature trails, visitor center, marina and more. (Boat ramp/campsite rentals not included.)
Federal Point History Center, 1-4pm, 1121-A North Lake Park Blvd., Carolina Beach, 458-0502. Enjoy exhibits & audio-visual presentations portraying periods in the Federal Point community, including pre-historic, colonial, Civil War and development of Carolina-Kure Beaches and Seabreeze as tourist attractions. Refreshments.
Fort Fisher State Historic Site-Civil War Fort, 1-5pm, Hwy. 421 Kure Beach, NC, 458-5538. Visitors to the site will enjoy our scenic quarter-mile tour trail, wayside exhibits, a reconstructed palisade fence, and a partially restored gun emplacement. The visitor center offers audio-visual programs and artifacts from blockaders and blockade runners, as well as a fiber optic map that shows the final battle for the fort.
NHC FREE 4WD Access Ft. Fisher State Recreation Area, 8am-5pm, 1000 Loggerhead Road-off US 421, Kure Beach near Aquarium, 458-5798. Visitor center, free access to the 4WD beach and 4-mile stretch of undeveloped beach for shell-seekers, bird-watchers. Must display valid NHC driver's license. 4WD access free to NHC RESIDENTS ONLY/NHC EMPLOYEES WITH ID.
FREE EVENT Hannah Block Historic USO/Community Arts Center, 1pm-5pm. 2nd & Orange St., Wilmington. 793-6393. Listed on U.S. Register of Historic Places. Spend a WWII History afternoon at one of the few remaining USO buildings. Tour the restored building, theatre, and mini-museum of the home front in Wilmington, "America's World War II City." Visit the HBHUSO/CAC Community Art gallery exhibiting works from local established and emerging artists.
Halyburton Park, park open all day. 4099 17th St., Wilmington. 341-0075. Walk the handicap-accessible 1.3-mile hike/bike trail circling the perimeter of the park and natural hiking trails that delve into the heart of the parks natural areas.
Hugh MacRae Park & Nature Trail, 8am-10pm, Oleander & S. College Rd., Wilmington, 798-7181. Playgrounds (5-12 year old playground is lighted), lighted tennis courts, athletic fields, picnic areas, nature trails, etc. Free every day (except for shelter, horse ring, baseball fields and garden rentals). Baseball fields must be reserved in advance. Walk the 1.55 mile trail right in the park or visit the Hugh MacRae Nature Trail located across the street behind the NHC Senior Ctr.
N.C. Military History Museum, Noon-4pm, 116 Air Force Way, Kure Beach, 477-0499. Artifacts, memorabilia, displays from WWI through Desert Storm, w/photos, documents, letters, uniforms, field gear, hats, helmets, gift shop.
Wrightsville Beach Museum of History, 1-5pm, 303 W. Salisbury St., Wrightsville Beach, 256-2569. Visit this 1909 beach cottage and feel what life at the beach was like 100 years ago. Step back in time as you walk through a 1930's kitchen, see our model of Wrightsville Beach in 1910, and rock on the shady porch.