Friday, October 10, 2014

Surf, Sand, Sea Creatures and History at Wilmington, North Carolina Beaches



**Disclosure: Thank you to Wilmington, North Carolina for providing complimentary admission to the North Carolina Aquarium in order to conduct this review. No compensation was received. All opinions are 100% my own.

We spent one day hopping along the shore in the Wilmington area taking in sweeping vistas of the Atlantic Ocean, enjoying shore amusements, visiting sea life at the North Carolina Aquarium and taking a walk through history at Fort Fisher. We really packed a lot in the day but there were plenty of opportunities for down time and even to let loose!


Fun in the Sun at Carolina Beach and Kure Beach

Having been to quite a number of beaches throughout the country and abroad, we have learned that everyone's definition of a beach is different. However, I can say that Carolina and Kure beaches are pretty much as idyllic for families as it gets. The beaches are gorgeous, clean and free!


By Carolina Beach, you will find a cluster of amusements including rides and mini golf. We stumbled on an adorable cache of whimsical cutouts. Fun!




Plus, Carolina Beach is home to Britt's and their famous donuts that quite literally melt in your mouth. You may have to wait a bit for these goodies but they are worth it and the price is amazing!


Over at Kure Beach, we walked the pier. The pier was quite a lively adventure not only with families walking about but also others settling in for some fishing. We were visited by various fine feathered friends during our walk including a stately pelican. Plus, the view of Kure Beach cannot be beat!




Searching for Venus Fly Traps at Carolina Beach State Park

Among the many unique characteristics of the Wilmington region is that one of the area's native plants is the Venus Flytrap. So, of course, we had to go on an adventure to find a flytrap. Our adventure led us to Carolina Beach State Park which is the home of a beautifully serene landscape. We could easily have spent  couple of hours exploring. While we did not find the elusive flytrap, we did find ourselves more balanced after enjoying nature.


Communing with the Fish at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher


The North Carolina Aquarium is a great way to spend a morning or afternoon learning about aquatic life. The aquarium is surprisingly spacious with plenty of room for families to move around. There are a number of encounters that the children delight in like touching starfish, urchins, sand sharks and more. A conservatory housing alligators, snakes, tree frogs and more will have the kids playing nature explorer as they search for each "resident."


There is an outdoor component to walk around. Outdoors you will also find a seasonal snack shop and butterfly enclosure. The kids were enamored with the turtles, so we had to pause for a good look!


We were pretty busy at the aquarium taking in all of the exhibits! The kids had fun making discoveries at every turn! The aquarium also has feedings, dive shows and more. Fun and learning are a great combo!


Tip: The North Carolina Aquarium has a nice outdoor park, so plan on spending some time running around!

Stepping Back in Time at Fort Fisher

While in the area, I definitely recommend a stop at Fort Fisher, Ok, full disclosure, I am a huge Civil War buff. But, I really think the fort is an impressive find. Fort Fisher is a sand and earth fort so the fact that any of it still stands is AMAZING! The fort was constructed from sand and earth to allow it to better absorb heavy explosives. Of course, I am sure that the plentiful supply of sand helped!


The fort has a small but informative Visitor's Center with artifacts and everyone's favorite--a diorama of the battle! {It lights up, of course!} Fort Fisher does have different events and even had a book signing when we were there.


Tip: The area around Fort Fisher can get a little buggy so be prepared with insect repellent and clothing that will cover you while exploring. It can get pretty hot out there, so adjust according to temperature.

A Well-Rounded Day on the Shore

Our day was so well-rounded! Beach time, nature exploration, learning about life in native ecosystems and experiencing history--we did it all! The area provided a family day everyone enjoyed!

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