4 Tips for Exploring the Wright Brothers Memorial

Posted By Katie on Aug 5, 2014

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I love a relaxing beach vacation, but when we visited the Outer Banks of North Carolina, my family enjoyed learning some important aviation history by visiting the Wright Brothers Memorial.  In 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright made history by completing four brief flights in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.  When you visit the Wright Brothers Memorial, you will walk on the field where the first flights made history.Wright Brothers Memorial

Here are four tips for a successful visit to the Wright Brothers Memorial.

1.  Watch the weather.

The first time we visited the Wright Brothers Memorial, it was pouring rain and we decided a historical sight was a good alternative to sitting in our beach house all day.  We were able to enjoy the visitor’s center, but we missed out on the full experience because of the torrential downpour.

Since the majority of the Wright Brothers Memorial is outside, the best weather would be a cool morning or an overcast day.  My kids favorite part was playing on the metal airplane replica, and on a hot afternoon the metal would be too hot for kids to play on.

2.  Listen to the ranger program in the Visitor’s Center.

Start at the Visitor’s Center, which has a small museum with information about the Wright brothers.  The Flight room talk is a 25-minute ranger-led discussion that happens periodically throughout the day.  Check the schedule here.

Wright Brothers Memorial

The replica of the 1903 airplane in the Flight room at the Visitor’s Center.

We loved the Flight room talk because the ranger involved the children in the discussion while he taught a history lesson.  He demonstrated the control system on the replica of the 1903 airplane and showed them how the Wright brothers figured out how to fly.  It was fascinating.

3.  Plan to walk.

Put on your walking shoes to truly enjoy the Wright Brothers Memorial.  After you leave the Visitor’s Center, you can walk to the field where the first flights happened.  Stone markers identify where the first four flights landed on that December day in 1903.  My kids enjoyed “flying” from one stone to another.

Wright Brothers Memorial

My older girls were good sports and encouraged the little ones to “fly” where the Wright Brothers flew.

You can see a replica of the cabin they lived in while they stayed in Kitty Hawk working on the airplanes.  Finally, you will want to walk up the hill to the Memorial that looks down on the field.

Wright Brothers Memorial

Cabin replica at the Wright Brothers Memorial.

4.  Save time to play on the airplane replica.

The first time we visited in the rain, we completely missed the airplane playground.  Last time we were there, it was a beautiful day but not too hot.  After learning all about flight, my children played for nearly an hour imagining they were explorers flying to different countries on this first airplane.  We were glad it wasn’t too busy that afternoon because our kids and their imagination completely took over the plane.  We were grateful for one tree and a shaded bench to rest on while they played.

Wright Brothers Memorial

Playing on the airplane replica at the Wright Brothers Memorial.

Good to Know

Where:  On Highway 158 in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.  You can’t miss it.

When:  Open daily, 9:00-5:00 p.m.  Closed Christmas Day.

How much:  $4/adult.  Ages 15 and under are free.

How long: 1-2 hours

Amenities: Restrooms, small gift shop

Looking for more things to do in the Outer Banks?  Check out our North Carolina page.

Wright Brothers Memorial

Katie is a busy mom living in Northern Virginia with her husband and five children ranging in age from toddlers to teens. When she isn't traveling, she is planning her next trip. Katie loves all types of travel, but she especially loves beach vacations. The Outer Banks of North Carolina is a favorite family destination.


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