MATTHEWS, N.C., Feb. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- America's largest home once again is the most visited attraction among North Carolina's public and private museums and historic sites, according to a statewide survey released today. The lavish home built by George Vanderbilt, along with its manicured gardens, winery, restaurants and Inn topped the list of attractions for the fourth consecutive year. For the second year in a row Biltmore drew more than one million visitors to Asheville. Biltmore also increased its attendance for the fourth straight year. The survey is conducted by Carolina Publishing Associates of Matthews, publishers of the annual Carolina Heritage Guide and Carolina and Virginia Field Trips Magazines. "One of the reasons Biltmore estate is so popular is because it's Biltmore House and more," said Julie Hanser, vice president of attraction marketing for Biltmore. "We consider it an 8,000-acre playground for all ages. Biltmore has 75 acres of landscaped gardens, the most visited winery in the United States, five restaurants, the four-star Inn on Biltmore Estate and an abundance of outdoor activities. "There truly is something for everyone," she said. Seven attractions from western North Carolina ranked among the top 25 this year. Joining the list were the reopened Ghost Town in the Sky and the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad. Returning attractions included Grandfather Mountain, Linville Caverns, Chimney Rock State Park and the Cherokee Historical Association. The North Carolina Aquariums in Pine Knoll Shores, Fort Fisher and Pine Knoll Shores joined six returning coastal attractions among the top 25 in the survey. The only newcomer in the central region was the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro, which finished third in the overall survey. Charlotte's Discovery Place moved up to the second most visited destination following an extremely successful Body Worlds exhibit in 2007. The top 25 most visited attractions, along with their attendance numbers, were: 1. Biltmore, Asheville (1,117,719) 2. Discovery Place, Charlotte (792,508) 3. North Carolina Zoo, Asheboro (752,052) 4. NC Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh (694,763) 5. Fort Macon State Park/Historic Site, Atlantic Beach (620,074) 6. Wright Brothers Memorial, Kill Devil Hills, (496,370) 7. NC Aquarium-Pine Knoll Shores, Atlantic Beach (444,521) 8. NC Aquarium-Kure Beach (431,182) 9. Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, Manteo (322,377) 10. Museum of Life and Science, Durham (319,792). 11. NC Museum of History, Raleigh (313,827) 12. NC Museum of Art, Raleigh (303,314) 13. NC Aquarium-Roanoke Island (297,300) 14. Grandfather Mountain, Linville (275,000) 15. NC Maritime Museum, Beaufort (240,000) 16. Chimney Rock State Park, Chimney Rock (230,000) 17. Cherokee Historical Association, Cherokee (215,710) 18. Battleship North Carolina, Wilmington (209,543) 19. NC Auto Racing Hall of Fame, Mooresville (198,000) 20. Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, Bryson City (195,440) 21. Linville Caverns, Marion (176,119) 22. Natural Science Center, Greensboro (175,745) 23. Roush Fenway Racing Museum, Concord (175,000) 24. Ghost Town in the Sky, Maggie Valley (162,500) 25. Roanoke Island Festival Park, Manteo (149,232).
SOURCE Carolina Publishing Associates