Wilmington is approx 3.5 hrs drive from Charlotte and has lots of beach access, aquariums and some cool Naval (and Civil War) things to check out.
To be honest though, the kids seem to love the hotel aspect the most! We've done so many little trips in the last year that they have the routine DOWN.
On their MUST DO AT THE HOTEL list:
- Try to crack the safe code if there is one
- Ask, "When can we go swimming?"
- Turn the closet into a secret clubhouse
- Leave little notes clipped onto the pant hangers in "Clubhouse"
- Establish where everyone will sleep as soon as we arrive and set up those areas
- Ask "WHEN are we going swimming???"
- Plan a movie and popcorn night for the 2nd night after sightseeing all day
This is at a State Park and Nature Preserve where we stopped for a picnic the first day. This is the Flytrap Trail. Venus Flytraps only grow wild in a 120 mile swath around Wilmington. We saw a pitcher plant on this trail, but the flytraps are so small and they are not blooming this time of year so we didn't see any. We DID see some later though. (We also went to Wrightsville beach right before this, but I have no photos since my battery needed charging. The kids spent the entire time collecting seashells. It was frigid!)
After lunch (and about 45 minutes spent watching the kids collect spent air-soft pellets...don't ask) we headed the the Fort Fischer Aquarium. Bonus: Free entry with our Zoo Pass. I love reciprocal programs, don't you?
Syd loved the touch tank at the aquarium. They had lots of sea-stars, anemones, horseshoe and hermit crabs.Horseshoe crabs getting friendly...
SEA HORSES, my favorite!
And lo and behold, on our way out of the aquarium they have a little boardwalk and a VENUS FLYTRAP PLANT! See how small and easy to miss they are in the winter?
We thought this was cool too....this is the level the water got to during each of the listed hurricanes! Hard to imagine...
On the way back to the hotel we stopped at Carolina Beach and walked around for a few minutes...not too many shells, but the beach and pier were pretty.
The next day we only had ONE thing on the agenda: USS North Carolina
The kids were so excited to check out all 9 levels of this beast!
Just look at all the dials and buttons and wires! It's a little boy's dream! The kids were running this way and that, like they were going to run out of time before they could explore everything.
Savi's got something in her sights...this was in the room where they aimed their big cannons.
Gunnar in one of the many bunk rooms. They slept 4 high. The info posted talked about how HOT it would get inside the battleship and how STINKY the mattresses would get after being sweat on all night and having to be covered during the day. They would take them up on deck on sunny days to try and air them out. Ick.
It was truly amazing how many levels there were, it just seemed to go down forever, pipes and wires and dials and switches EVERYWHERE. The kitchens were pretty amazing too. They had to feed 2000 men within an hour! Pretty incredible stuff. I coveted the potato peeling gadget. (Basically a sandpaper surface pot, throw in the potatoes and some water, agitate, and out came peeled potatoes)
Definitely a cool experience.
I'm sure we'll be back to visit Wilmington when it's warm so we can enjoy the beaches more. :)