Wright Brothers National Memorial, Kill Devil Hill, North Carolina Informative - National Park

Review by Motor Traveler on 2008-07-23
KILL DEVIL HILLS, NORTH CAROLINA -- As private pilots (though we no longer are active) we have always wanted to visit Kill Devil Hills, the real "birth place" of modern day aviation and this monument to the Wright Brothers will be of interest to anyone with such a bent.

Inside the visitors center, you will be treated to a wonderful presentation by a Park Ranger outlining the trials and tribulations of the Wrights' as they attempted to do what had not yet been done...control flight. From 1900 to 1903 they worked at Kill Devil Hills. There is a replica of their first glider and of the historic 1903 plane which on Dec. 17 flew a total of 800' and changed the world. Sadly, on that same day, the actual plane, after making a total of 4 flights, was destroyed by wind gusts.

There are replicas of the hangar and workshop, as well as visual markers of the actual distances flown in each of the flights. High atop a hill stands a monument to the Wright Brothers, but we were unable to climb to the top to see it due to physical difficulties. There is also a bronze sculpture of the plane located on the property.

A Pavilion shows films about the flight, has a gift shop and exhibits about the Outer Banks area. There again, due to physical difficulties, we did not make the long walk from the Visitors Center to it.

We did ask about a wheelchair at the Visitors Center for my husband, who is mobile but has difficulties walking great distances, and were told that they only had one and that it was being used.

This is my biggest complaint about this and most other parks; they have no real assistance for those with handicaps. Unless you bring your own equipment, you are pretty well stuck in seeing things that you can easily get to.

Still, if you love aviation and are in the area, don't miss this. Despite our own limitations we really enjoyed it.

There is an entrance fee but our Golden Age Passport got us in. This Golden Age Passport has been replaced by other passes, so you need to check the web site to see what is right for you. Age limits apply to some of what they are now calling "Interagency" passes. If you have a permanent disability you can apply for a free pass and there is no age limit as far as I can determine. Otherwise, you must be 62 or over.

As far as the area around Kill Devil Hills, unless you like wall to wall people, condos, hotels/motels forget about how it used to be. If the Wright Brothers were looking for a place today, it certainly would not be Kill Devil Hills. Too crowded and over built. Because it was a Friday, we could not even get into a restaurant to try some local seafood without horrendous waits, so we boogied on up the road.
Comments:2 Replies - Latest reply on 2008-07-24
Posted by S. on 2008-07-23:
Have you considered the purchase of a collapsible chair that takes up very little room either in the back seat or trunk of a car? I have a great aunt who requires a chair on many occasions. She bought one and it sets right next to the door of her apartment.

Very good review.
Posted by Motor Traveler on 2008-07-24:
Thank you for that. Since this is all relatively new to us, we have not considered it, but surely will.

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