One way to understand the role water plays is to visit Wilmington’s most noticeable attraction, the Battleship North Carolina, which sits across the Cape Fear River from downtown’s Riverfront Park.

North Carolina is beginning its 57th year here and is even more beautiful than before, having gone through a major restoration to prepare it for the celebration of its 50th anniversary in Wilmington that took place in 2011.

USA Todays’ 10Best enlisted a panel of North Carolina travel writers and photographers to nominate their favorite state attractions in 2018.  The battleship was voted the second best attraction in North Carolina by 10Best readers.

Completed in 2018, the new cofferdam and memorial walkway will be a half mile long, 10-foot wide timber walkway surrounding the Battleship. This enables visitors to see the ship’s entire hull for the first time.

Scheduled by the Navy to be scrapped, a successful statewide campaign to save the North Carolina began in 1958. In 1961, the ship was moved from New Jersey to its present location.

The third in a line of naval vessels dating back to 1820 that were commissioned in North Carolina, our proud ship participated in every major battle in the Pacific during World War II, and won 15 battle stars before being decommissioned in 1947. Those who have toured the Battleship are surprised that gunners were able to operate in the cramped quarters in the gun turrets. How anyone could sleep in the stacked bunks is another mystery.

The battleship serves as both an attraction to be toured and a memorial to North Carolinians who served in the military during WW II, especially the more than 10,000 who died in service to their state and nation.

A new North Carolina was christened in 2007 and commissioned right here in Wilmington on May 3, 2008. This fourth North Carolina is one of the U.S. Navy’s fast-attack nuclear submarines of the Virginia class.

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