Memorial Day at State Natural and Cultural Sites and Military Discounts

Photo courtesy of North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
Active military families can enjoy free admission to Tryon Palace on Memorial Day.

In addition to honoring those who served the country, Memorial Day weekend is a great time to explore the wonderful natural and cultural resources of our state. Outdoor get-aways, discoveries in nature and history, or explorations in art or music are waiting. Additionally, many venues offer military discounts daily and special discounts on Memorial Day.

The Battleship North Carolina will have a Memorial Day Ceremony May 29 at 5 p.m., featuring Gov. Roy Cooper; N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources Secretary Susi H. Hamilton; and Col. Michael L. Scalise, Deputy Commander, Marine Corps Installation East, Cherry Point. Bennett Place State Historic Site in Durham will present a Military Timeline program Saturday and Sunday, May 27-28, to salute soldiers from all U.S. wars, and will have a traveling exhibit on World War I for the weekend. A comprehensive exhibit on World War I is also at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh.

Below is a roundup of NCDNCR attractions, including operating hours and discount information:

  • N.C. Aquariums (Roanoke Island, Pine Knoll Shores, Fort Fisher, Jennette’s Pier)
    • Daily military discount, open Memorial Day
  • N.C. Zoo (Asheboro)
    • Daily military discount, open Memorial Day
  • N.C. Museums of History and Natural Sciences (Raleigh)
    • Free, military discounts to ticketed exhibits, open Memorial Day
  • N.C. Museum of Art (Raleigh)
    • Free, military discounts to ticketed exhibits, closed Memorial Day
  • Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA) (Winston-Salem)
    • Free, military discounts to ticketed exhibits, closed Memorial Day
  • State Parks and Recreation areas (Various locations throughout the state)
    • Free, open Memorial Day
  • State Historic Sites
    • Mostly free, military discounts offered at CSS Neuse Civil War Interpretive Center (Kinston) and N.C. Transportation Museum (Spencer); CSS Neuse closed Memorial Day
  • State Historic Commissions
    • Military discounts offered daily at Battleship NORTH CAROLINA (Wilmington, open Memorial Day), Tryon Palace (New Bern, free on Memorial Day for active military, veterans and families) and Roanoke Island Festival Park (Manteo), open Memorial Day
  • Museum of the Albemarle (Elizabeth City), Museum of the Cape Fear (Fayetteville) and Mountain Gateway Museum (Old Fort)
    • Free, closed Memorial Day
  • N.C. Maritime Museum (Beaufort), N.C. Maritime Museum (Southport) and Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum (Hatteras)
    • Free, only Beaufort is open Memorial Day

Several NCDNCR sites have military significance, as North Carolina’s military history predates statehood. State Historic Sites have served as forts or training facilities from colonial times to the present. Fort Dobbs, built in 1756, dates to the French and Indian War, and is oldest of the colonial military sites. Others are Alamance Battleground, Brunswick Town and House in the Horseshoe.

Civil War era military sites include Bennett Place, CSS Neuse, Fort Anderson and Fort Fisher. Bentonville Battlefield was the location of North Carolina’s largest Civil War battle, and still serves as a site for study in tactics for Camp Lejeune Marines and Fort Bragg soldiers.

The Battleship North Carolina dates to World War II and is the most recent of the state’s military venues.

The Battle of Fort Macon was fought at Fort Macon State Park during March and April 1862 at the onset of the Civil War.

Lake James State Park includes a two-mile section of the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail from the Revolutionary War era. Part of Elk Knob State Park was the site of a battle between the British and Patriots during the Revolutionary War.

The Fort Fisher Recreation Area and Carolina Beach share Civil War history with Fort Fisher and Brunswick Town State Historic Sites, respectively. During World War II, Camp Davis was built north of Wilmington in Holly Ridge and Fort Fisher was part of that complex. Fort Fisher State Historic Site was an anti-aircraft artillery training center and became the primary firing range. The Jones Lake area also was part of that training facility. Fort Johnston near Southport was constructed by the British in 1749 to protect the area from Spanish attack and now is part of the N.C. Maritime Museum-Southport.

The U.S. Army Signal Corps used Hanging Rock State Park for training in 1943 and the 92nd Medical Battalion did week-long trainings there that year.

For additional information about our state’s military history and details on military discounts, visit

Source: North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources


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