All Hands on Deck! Kids Love the Battleship USS North Carolina

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The Battleship USS North Carolina, completed and launched only a few months before the onset of World War II, saw action in every major Pacific campaign. Fifty years later the warship remains one of the most powerful ever constructed.

Today the highly decorated battleship is permanently anchored in the Cape Fear River across from Wilmington. The ship has been preserved almost exactly as when on active wartime duty.

What’s There To Do at the Battleship?

Visitors can stroll the decks and imagine life with the crew of more than 2,300 required for full operation. You may also climb inside the turrets containing 16-inch guns and capable of firing 2,700-pound shells at targets more than 20 miles away. 

Nine decks are open for exploration, including the bridge, crew’s quarters, galley, sick bay, engine room, pilot house, radio room, coding room and guns. In addition, one of the last surviving float planes in existence is displayed on the stern.

The USS North Carolina is the State’s memorial to the 10,000 men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in World War II. It is a fitting and unique tribute to these American heroes.

Is It Fun for Kids?

Younger children enjoy the freedom of the open space above deck as they zip from moving guns to below deck access points. Kids navigate quickly below deck as “tight spaces” is a relative term. There are stairs and ladders to climb, pipes, valves and gauges to check out. Popular stops include the big gun turret, the mess hall and crew bunks. Older children and teens will enjoy the easy-to-grasp video interpretation, and they'll enjoy exploring the ship with their siblings or friends.

At the visitor center before you board the ship, be sure to check out the interactive displays (read: video games). The staff recommend closed-toe flat shoes (Carolina Traveler says “there are no soft parts of a battleship”) and budget about 2-3 hours for your visit. Summer visitors: the battleship is not air conditioned – bring a bottle of water!


  • Kids 5 and under are free
  • 6-11 is $6
  • 12 and up is $14
  • 65+ is $10

The whole family will be left with a lasting memory of their time on this amazing warship.

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