Biltmore Again Tops N.C. Historic Attractions Survey

Mar 15, 2010, 17:29 ET from Carolina Publishing Associates

CHARLOTTE, N.C., March 15 /PRNewswire/ -- America's largest home is once again North Carolina's most visited historic attraction, according to the annual attendance rankings compiled by Carolina Publishing Associates.

Biltmore, the lavish Vanderbilt house and gardens on a mountainside in Asheville, once again attracted more than a million visitors. A total of 1,038,348 guests visited during 2009, only a slight decline from the 2008 attendance total of 1,070,900.

"A visit to Biltmore is an extraordinary experience and an escape from everyday life," said Julie Hanser, Vice President of Attraction Marketing for Biltmore. "We believe those qualities have really resonated with people even during these tough economic times."

Newcomers to the 2009 top 25 museums and historic attractions list include the Marbles Kids Museum in Raleigh and Hickory's Catawba Science Center.

Nine of the top 25 museums and historic sites are located in the coastal area, while six of the top 25 are in the mountains. The Raleigh-Durham Chapel Hill triangle has five listings.

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 10 most visited museum and historic attractions, along with their 2009 attendance numbers, were:  1. Biltmore, Asheville 1,038,348; 2. Fort Macon, Atlantic Beach 818,704; 3. North Carolina Zoo,  Asheboro 748,417; 4. NC Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh 670,264; 5. Fort Fisher State Historic Site, Kure Beach, 575,581; 6. Wright Brothers National Memorial, Kill Devil Hills 478,480; 7. Discovery Place, Charlotte  454,053; 8. NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher, Kure Beach,  453,715; 9. NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores,  Atlantic Beach, 403,769 and 10. NC Museum of Life and Science, Durham 400,486.

Rounding out the top 25 were 11. North Carolina Arboretum, Asheville 371,884; 12. Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, Manteo 339,556; 13. NC Museum of History, Raleigh 324,679; 14. NC Aquarium at Roanoke Island, Manteo 290,000; 15. Natural Science Center, Greensboro 278,858; 16. Marbles Kids Museum, Raleigh, 260,263; 17. Grandfather Mountain, Linville 235,029; 18. NC Maritime Museum, Beaufort, 216,516; 19. Cherokee Cultural  District, Cherokee 211,265; 20. Battleship North Carolina, Wilmington  211,234; 21. Chimney Rock State Park, Chimney Rock 206,983; 22. Catawba Science Center, Hickory 204,309; 23. Linville Caverns, Marion 167,431; 24. Morehead Planetarium, Chapel Hill 161,416; and 25. Roanoke Island Festival Park, Manteo 141,899.

SOURCE Carolina Publishing Associates