Celebrate Memorial Day at State Natural and Cultural Sites, Military Discounts Too

Unity Monument

 This Memorial Day is the ideal time for saluting those who have served the country, and a great time to explore the rich variety of natural and cultural resources of the state. See the great outdoors at a state park, some special offering at a history, science or art museum, or enjoy the launch of Summerfest, the North Carolina Symphony outdoor concert series, over the weekend.

The Battleship North Carolina will have a Memorial Day Ceremony May 28, 5 p.m., with a color guard and 21-gun salute. Bennett Place State Historic Site in Durham will present a Military Timeline program Saturday and Sunday, May 26-27, to salute soldiers from all U.S. wars. A traveling exhibit “Profiles of Honor” will be on display. A comprehensive exhibit on World War I is at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh as part of the Centennial observance. The Museum of the Albemarle in Elizabeth City will hold a Memorial Day tribute of 106 wooden crosses created with the name of a service member from the region who died in World War I as part of the WWI Centennial Commemoration.

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)
    • Closed for exhibit installation until June 7
  • 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). CSS Neuse closed Memorial Day
    • N.C. Transportation Museum (Spencer) Daily military discount, Train rides at 10:30 and 11:30 a.m., 1:30 and 2:30 p.m., open Memorial Day.
    • Most historic sites 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, all closed Memorial Day. Mountain Gateway also closed Sunday.
  • 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 State Park 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 against 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 www.ncdcr.gov/military-history. The State Archives is seeking papers, pictures or other records from North Carolina veterans of any time period. For information, contact matthew.peek@ncdcr.gov.

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