Coastal destinations are often at the top of everyone’s list when it comes to warm weather getaways, and for good reason. A destination that offers a combination of fun in the sun and other kid-friendly things to do is just the ticket for making your summer vacation one to remember. Enjoy everything you love about the city, located within an easy 30-minute drive from not one but three island beaches. Consider your summer family vacation planning done when you book a trip to Wilmington!
Here are 15 of our favorite kid-approved activities in Wilmington:
Children’s Museum of Wilmington – Celebrate the joys of childhood through magical and playful experiences for children of all ages. The museum explores everything from art and science to cooking and conservation, and it offers a wide variety of educational programs for all interests at 10 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays.
Wilmington Railroad Museum – Explore the impact of the rail industry with an emphasis on the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, which served the city during the line’s earliest beginnings. Discover a Thomas the Tank Train play area. See more than 20 model trains in action and then explore a life-size caboose and 100-year-old steam locomotive.
Defy Wilmington and Flip N Fly – Reach new heights at one of the area’s two awesome trampoline parks. Defy Wilmington, a 23,000-square-foot indoor facility with wall-to-wall steel-frame trampolines, is also home to the world-famous Angled Wall Trampolines, an expansive Olympic Foam Pit and one of the largest Trampoline Dodgeball cages in America. At Flip N Fly, bounce around on 40 trampolines, try your luck on the dodgeball court, practice your skills on the aerial trapeze and dive into soft foam pits. Kids love bouncing around this indoor trampoline park during Neon Nights on Fridays and Saturdays. Reserve Open Jump Time online for seamless fun.
Crossfire Indoor Paintball & Nerf Park – Weather will never be an issue at this indoor course. Age divided groups ensure children of all ages are safe and comfortable when they play. Parents who want to spectate instead of taking part can do so through a large glass viewing window for the best view of all the action.
Battle House Laser Tag – Live out your video game dreams at this more than 10,000-square-foot facility featuring high-tech equipment and multiple two-story buildings, rooms, roads and an alleyway designed to mimic an urban environment. Choose from challenges like capture the flag and more.
Jungle Rapids Family Fun Park – This family fun park includes Water Park fun for the whole family, Jungle Lagoon golf, laser tag, Grand Prix Go-Karts, “The Rock” Climbing wall, arcade games, snack bar and much more.
Cape Fear Museum of History and Science – The oldest history museum in the state houses a collection of more than 57,000 items dedicated to the rich history, science and cultures of the region. Try on an astronaut suit in the hands-on Space Place, come face to face with the replica of a 20-foot-tall ground sloth and much more.
Museum of the Bizarre – The Crystal Skull of Knowledge, Houdini's Ouija Board, numerous movie props and a Van de Graaff Machine are just some of the curiosities on display at this unusual museum. Enter if you dare!
New Hanover County Arboretum – Wander the paved pathways spanning 7 acres to discover beautiful seasonal gardens as well as a water garden with hundreds of colorful Koi, a Japanese garden with an authentic tea house, a cozy cottage and the children’s garden featuring a play area.
Wilmington Water Tours – Explore the area from a unique perspective. Hop on a daily cruise – options include historic eco-tours and sunset cruises – to enjoy a narrated tour of the beautiful Cape Fear River.
Battleship NORTH CAROLINA – No trip to Wilmington would be complete without a visit to what was considered to be the world’s greatest sea weapon when she was commissioned in 1941. During World War II, the Battleship NORTH CAROLINA participated in every major naval offensive in the Pacific and earned 15 battle stars. Today, visitors can explore the nine levels of living spaces, mess decks, gun turrets and more on a self-guided tour, or reserve a guided tour online.
Riverwalk – Little legs can get some energy out and enjoy river views along nearly 2-miles of scenic walkway. Grab a bit or sweet treat at one of the outdoor cafes or ice cream shops. Drop a line from Conlon Pier, the only spot along the Riverwalk that allows fishing. At the north end, Riverfront Park offers plenty of riverfront green space, a playground and seasonal water feature.
Greenfield Park – This park’s 250 acres are filled with biking and walking trails perfect for exploring as a family. Other amenities include playgrounds for different ages and abilities, picnic shelters, an accessible fishing doc and kayak rentals.
NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher – Meet and learn about the Aquarium’s 2,500+ animal residents, ranging from alligators and stingrays to sea turtles and small-clawed otters. There is even an on-site café and an outdoor interactive play area for kids called Adventure Reef.
Fort Fisher State Historic Site – Located at the south end of nearby Kure Beach, Fort Fisher was the site of the largest land-sea battle of the Civil War. Attend historical reenactments, visit the 16-foot-long 3D battle map or tour the grounds.
Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Wrightsville Beach are located within an easy 20- to 30-minute drive of Wilmington. With so many options, Wilmington and its three island beaches are sure to keep the kids entertained – and probably tire them out too!