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ILNP Park Review
Our Visit I visited Wright Brothers NMem, North Carolina, in April via a 1/2 day driving excursion while on a trip to Virginia.
Our Weather Overcast, windy and a little chilly (60s)
Overall Impression Wright Brothers NMem does an excellent job of capturing the accomplishments and spirit of the Wright Brothers. Whether you’re an aviation buff or just interested in history, the visitors center, flight markers and monument atop Kill Devil Hill all work together to help you imagine what it must have been like for Orville and Wilbur Wright, two bicycle mechanics from Ohio, to labor for years on their dream of achieving flight and finally accomplish it. Even with all the models, markers and tales from the Park Rangers, it’s still difficult to fathom the significance of what happened here, and even the Wright Brothers could not have imagined that their first 120-foot hop would lead the way for man to fly faster than the speed of sound, airplanes to carry millions of passengers a day and man to land on the moon in less than 100 years.
Visiting Plan on spending 1-2 hours at Wright Brothers NMem. Start by perusing the visitors center to learn about how the brothers overcame a myriad of obstacles and problems to finally build an aircraft that would fly. The Rangers give occasional talks in front of the full-scale mock-up of the Wright Flyer to add even more to the story. After the visitors center, a short walk will bring you to a mock up of the original hangars used by the Wrights and a large marker denoting the exact spot where Wilbur Wright took off on his world-changing 12-second flight on December 17th, 1903. Down a bit from the main marker, you can see the markers where each of the four flights on the first day landed. A 1/2 mile walk will take you up Kill Devil Hill to the large memorial erected for the Wrights. Kill Devil Hill, a 90-foot tall sand dune, was the site of hundreds of glider flights critical to the Wrights’ knowledge of flight and development of aircraft. If you don’t want to hike as much, you can get back in your car and drive to parking lots closer to the memorial. Finally, you can walk around the life-size statues of the Wright Flyer, Wright Brothers and original witnesses near the monument to get a feel for what the scene must have looked like in 1903.
The visitor center closes at 5 PM most of the year, and the gates of the park are closed with it. If you arrive late or just need more time, you can drive to the “First Flight” airport on the west side of the Memorial. This area is not gated and is still within walking distance to the memorial and statues (one of the Park Rangers gave me this tip). One of the main reasons the Wrights chose Kitty Hawk as their flight test center was the consistent winds, so be prepared for wind!
Nearby Towns Kill Devil Hills, Kitty Hawk, Nags Head (North Carolina)
Other Nearby Attractions Ft. Raleigh National Historic Site, Cape Hatteras National Seashore
Official NPS Website Wright Brothers NMem
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