Asheville's Biltmore Leads Annual NC Historic Attractions Survey

Feb 22, 2011, 13:00 ET from Carolina Publishing Associates

MATTHEWS, N.C., Feb. 22, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Biltmore, with 1,069,359 visitors last year, ranks as the largest historic attraction in North Carolina during 2010, according to the annual survey conducted by Carolina Publishing Associates. This marks the seventh consecutive year that Biltmore has topped the list of North Carolina's biggest museums and historic attractions.

The survey of attendance at North Carolina's museums and historic attractions is conducted annually by Carolina Publishing Associates, the Matthews-based publisher of the Carolina Heritage Guide, Carolina Field Trips Magazine, The African American Heritage and Visitor's Guide and the Carolina Sports Travel Guide.

"Biltmore was again pleased to welcome over one million guests to America's largest home in 2010," said Julie Hanser, Biltmore's Vice President of Attraction Marketing. She added that, "The opening of Antler Hill Village in March of 2010, the newest addition to the Biltmore experience, was a significant factor in our growth last year."

Biltmore was followed in the rankings by the Fort Macon State Historic Site in Atlantic Beach with 799,322 visitors, the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro, which welcomed 755,531 visitors, and Raleigh's North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences with attendance of 708,398. Rounding out the top five was the Fort Fisher State Historic Site at Kure Beach which saw 618,373 guests.

The newest additions to the rankings survey, which was expanded this year to include the State's top 30 museum and historic attractions, include the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte. Even though the Hall was only open eight months during 2010, it drew 202,400 visitors and ranked 21st in the survey. Other newcomers to the rankings are the Greensboro Children's Museum, the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden in Belmont and Charlotte's Billy Graham Library.

Ten of the ranked attractions are from North Carolina's coastal region and seven are located in the mountains. The Triangle and Triad are each home to five of the attractions, and four are based in Charlotte.

The biggest museums and historic attractions, along with locations and attendance numbers, were: 1. Biltmore, Asheville, 1,069,359; 2. Fort Macon Historic Site, Atlantic Beach, 799,322; 3. North Carolina Zoo, Asheboro, 755,531; 4. NC Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh, 708,398; 5. Fort Fisher State Historic Site, Kure Beach, 618,373; 6. Marbles Kids Museum, Raleigh, 570,793; 7. Discovery Place, Charlotte, 530,423; 8. Wright Brothers Memorial, Kill Devils Hills, 478,391; 9. Museum of Life and Science, Durham, 433,018; and 10. NC Aquarium-Fort Fisher, Kure Beach, 429,883.

Other museums and attractions around the state ranking in the Top 30 were: 11. NC Aquarium-Pine Knoll Shores, Pine Knoll Shores, 387,039; 12. North Carolina Arboretum, Asheville,  371,000; 13. North Carolina Museum of History, Raleigh, 324,200; 14. North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, 320,388; 15. Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, Manteo, 305,711; 16. Natural Science Center, Greensboro, 290,928; 17. NC Aquarium-Roanoke Island, Manteo, 288,000; 18. Grandfather Mountain, Linville, 255,000; 19. Chimney Rock, Chimney Rock, 219,221; 20. Battleship North Carolina, Wilmington, 209,039; 21. NASCAR Hall of Fame, Charlotte, 202,400; 22. North Carolina Maritime Museum, Beaufort, 185,551; 23. Cherokee Cultural District, Cherokee, 183,353; 24. Catawba Science Center, Hickory, 177,067; 25. Linville Caverns, Marion, 170,543; 26. Roanoke Island Festival Park, Manteo, 140,826; 27. Greensboro Children's Museum, Greensboro, 132,805; 28. Tryon Palace Historic Sites and Gardens, New Bern, 121,053; 29. Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, Belmont, 106,300; and 30. Billy Graham Library, Charlotte, 103,886.

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SOURCE Carolina Publishing Associates