There is no better place to visit or raise your family than the Cape Fear region. Whether you are here on a fun get away, or fortunate enough to live in this beautiful coastal area year-round, you will find much to see and do together. Featuring an abundance of attractions for kids, the area provides many services to keep your kids healthy, happy, educated and entertained.
Jungle Rapids Family Fun Park
During the summer season, visitors can cool off in the Waterpark, which features a half-pipe water slide, a million-gallon ocean-like wave pool, a four-tube slide called the Volcanic Express, the relaxing lazy river, and a Kiddie Splash area with a play structure and child-size water slides. Lifeguards are always on duty, and lockers, tables and umbrellas are available.
When the weather is warm, enjoy a whirl around the go-kart track or challenge your family to a friendly game of miniature golf. The quarter-mile-long Grand Prix Go Kart track features bridge overpasses, banked turns, and one- and two-passenger cars. Miniature golf enthusiasts will love the 18-hole jungle-themed mini golf course accented with tropical landscaping and waterfalls.
Inside Jungle Rapids you’ll find a plethora of other dry activities to keep the family busy, such as Alien Invader Laser Tag, which was recently renovated with a new maze built for team competition or individual play. Additionally, the large, air-conditioned Kid’s Jungle indoor playground is the perfect place for kids ages 8 and under to get out some energy. There is also a 30-foot indoor rock-climbing wall offering four different sections ranging in difficulty for the novice to the experienced rock climber. And as if that was not enough, the 100-game arcade will entertain and challenge your game skills.
The water park is open seasonally and dry attractions are open year-round with the exception of major holidays. Check their website for hours and admission prices, which vary by activity.
Aquarium is a must see
The most impressive facility in the area is the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher. Situated on a wooded oceanfront location complete with lovely gardens and wildlife areas, the aquarium features many beautiful and exotic displays, beginning with a large tree-filled atrium containing stream, pond and swamp aquatic life, plants and ground cover.Read more
The focal point of the aquarium is the Cape Fear Shoals exhibit, where visitors can even talk to a scuba diver. The huge, two-story tank displays a vast array of sea life including moray eels, stingrays, sharks and grouper plus a multitude of other varieties of sea life. At feeding time, divers answer questions from the audience as they feed the fish underwater.
All told, more than 2,500 sea creatures, including a rare albino alligator, are on display at the aquarium. Additionally, on sunny days, children will love the new outdoor playground, which is located near the café.
The Aquarium is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. year round (closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day).
Lots of snakes, reptiles
The 10,000-square-foot facility features 54 displays, including the rare and deadly Bushmaster and Black Mamba snakes, a 250-pound 23 foot-long python, a 15 foot-long king cobra, Nile crocodiles, a dragon-sized monitor lizard, Komodo, and much more. In addition to the wide range of animals, kids are fascinated by watching as the reptiles are fed.
The Serpentarium is open seven days a week with hours that vary by season.
Kids love trains
The Wilmington Railroad Museum is a special treat not only for children, but for railroad enthusiasts and history buffs too. On the north side of downtown at the Coastline Center, the Museum is situated in Warehouse B.Read more
For children of all ages, the museum features a variety of historical railroad-related exhibits and extensive displays, a children’s area and a gift and book shop featuring train related items..
Five Lionel layouts plus extensive O scale and HO scale layouts are in operation inside, and a full size locomotive, boxcar and caboose are outside waiting to be explored. Built in 1883, the museum’s exhibits tell the story of southeastern North Carolina’s railroad transportation history. Visitors can explore the museum on their own or arrange for a guided tour.
The Wilmington Railroad Museum is typically open Monday to Sunday with the exception of major holidays. Hours vary by season, and information is available on their website.
Lions, tigers and giraffes
For all the children who love visiting zoos, Tregembo Animal Park should be on the list of attractions to see. The Tregembo family for more than 60 years has maintained the only zoo in southeastern North Carolina. Read more
For a modest admission, you can see an amazing variety of more than 100 creatures. Some animals you can feed corn or peanuts, some you can pet. And, of course, you’ll want to visit the 4,000 square foot gift shop to take home souvenirs.
Besides the usual zoo animals, the Park boasts many unusual specimens. If you’re curious, go to their website for a preview of the critters that are on display.