MATTHEWS, N.C., Jan. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- America's largest home nestled on
a mountainside in the Great Smoky Mountains is once again North Carolina's
most visited historic attraction, according to an annual survey released today
by Carolina Publishing Associates.
Even though high summertime gas prices and a growing recession kept many
travelers home in 2008, the country estate founded by George and Edith
Vanderbilt in Asheville attracted more than a million visitors for the third
consecutive year and topped North Carolina's most popular museums and historic
attractions ranking for the fifth year in a row.
"Our response has been to position Biltmore as an oasis and escape from
everyday life," said Julie Hanser, Vice President of Attraction Marketing at
Biltmore. She added that the popular attraction "is aggressively pursuing
growth" through the opening in April of a suite of four newly restored rooms.
Two North Carolina attractions made appearances on the top 25 list for the
first time - Morehead Planetarium on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill and the
North Carolina Arboretum in Asheville. Greensboro's Natural Science Center
showed the most dramatic growth, jumping from a number 22 ranking with 175,745
visitors in 2007 to number 14 with 267,086 guests last year thanks to their
new animal park addition.
The Top 25 North Carolina museums and historic attractions survey is
conducted annually by Carolina Publishing Associates of Matthews, publishers
of the annual Carolina Heritage Guide, Carolina Field Trips Magazine and The
African American Heritage and Visitor's Guide. The top 25 most visited museum
and historic attractions, along with their 2008 attendance numbers, were:
1. Biltmore, Asheville (1,070,900) 2. North Carolina Zoo, Asheboro
(764,637) 3. NC Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh (760,188) 4. Fort Macon
State Park, Atlantic Beach, (703,120) 5. Discovery Place, Charlotte (665,609)
6. Wright Brothers National Memorial, Kill Devil Hills (529,909) 7. NC
Aquarium, Fort Fisher (408,671) 8. NC Museum of Life and Science, Durham
(378,000) 9. NC Aquarium, Pine Knoll Shores, (376,321) 10. NC Museum of
History, Raleigh (327,425)
11. Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, Manteo (313,096) 12. NC Aquarium,
Roanoke Island (292,116) 13. NC Arboretum, Asheville (276,257) 14. Natural
Science Center, Greensboro (267,086) 15. Grandfather Mountain, Linville
(255,000). 16. NC Maritime Museum, Beaufort (251,180) 17. Battleship North
Carolina, Wilmington (217,102) 18. Chimney Rock State Park, Chimney Rock
(212,115) 19. Cherokee Historical Association, Cherokee (202,564) 20. Roanoke
Island Festival Park, Manteo (202,018). 21. NC Auto Racing Hall of Fame,
Mooresville (195,000) 22. NC Museum of Art, Raleigh (190,623) 23. Morehead
Planetarium, Chapel Hill (172,030) 24. Linville Caverns, Marion (163,966) 25.
Smoky Mountain Railroad, Bryson City (150,000).
SOURCE Carolina Publishing Associates