Museums for art, railroads and reptiles

Wilmington has several museums for art, railroads and reptiles that are well worth visiting.

Few if any other cities the size of Wilmington have a $12.5 million art museum, but Wilmington proudly features the Cameron Art Museum, the only accredited art museum in southeastern North Carolina. Situated on 9.5 acres, the modern structure has 40,000 square feet housing a variety of collections plus a gift shop and cafe.

The mission of the Cameron is to be the cultural gathering place for the community. It is the venue for a monthly series of jazz concerts produced in conjunction with the Cape Fear Jazz Society. The concerts are held on the first Thursday of each month at 6:30 in the evening.

The Museum School at the Cameron Art Museum provides adult and youth art education including a range of beginning and master classes. Programs include instructor-guided access to the museum’s exhibitions and select objects in the museum’s permanent collection that are not on view. There are weeklong summer arts programs for kids too.

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.

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.

Lots of snakes, reptiles

Located on Orange Street in downtown Wilmington is the Cape Fear Serpentarium, exhibiting an amazing collection of more than 100 species of snakes.

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.

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