Museums and The Serpentarium
Cape Fear Museum at 814 Market Street, just before getting into “downtown proper”, you’ll find the oldest history museum in the state, The Cape Fear Museum of History and Science. Along with its permanent collections, there are ever-changing exhibits and special events that guarantee hours of interesting, educational fun.
Wilmington’s Cameron Art Museum is another top choice for a place to duck a shower or two. It features two centuries of American art, a major collection of the works of Mary Cassatt, a variety of revolving installations, art classes, lectures, films, concerts, and kids’ activities. You can even grab a bite to eat at the Cam Café or get in a little retail therapy at the museum shop.
An imaginary visit to the Amazon rainforest may sound like a contradictory way to escape a rainy day. However, with over 80 species of exotic and indigenous reptiles, a trip to downtown’s Cape Fear Serpentarium promises to thrill, intrigue, and terrify anyone, including ardent herpetologists! All the big names are here: King Cobra, Bushmaster, Green Mamba, Gaboon Viper, plus several impressive lizards and crocodiles. You may hope the rain never stops as the distant sound of panpipes and djembes leads you from one breathtaking exhibit to the next.
“Rain-Rain-Stay All Day-So We Can Play!”-That’s what you’re likely to hear from the kids in the crowd after a stopover at the Children’s Museum of Wilmington. And who can blame them? This is a place where the fun never stops, rain or shine, thanks to its vast array of imaginative things to see and do, including a giant pirate ship with working cannons, Teddy Bear Hospital, Toddler Treehouse, puppet theater, art studio, and so much more. From arts and crafts to the Kid’s Club Cooking Class or science activities, there is always something going on.
Blending history and good old-fashioned fun, the Wilmington Railroad Museum has been a favorite destination for young and old for 35 years. Located just one block from the Cape Fear River in the Coastline Center, the museum has an outdoor display that showcases a 100-year old steam locomotive and a bright red caboose. However, on a wet day, there’s plenty to see inside! A combination of actual artifacts, photos, and real life profiles of railroad pioneers, like George Pullman and Thomas Edison, traces the roots and impact of Wilmington’s railroad industry. There is also a Thomas the Tank play area and over 20 operating scale model trains that chug magically through miniature towns and their surrounding countryside.