NC Museum of Natural Sciences tops annual 2012 museum historic attractions survey
For the first time in nine years the annual ranking of North Carolina’s most visited museums and historic attractions has a new leader. The newly expanded North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh has replaced Asheville’s Biltmore as the most visited attraction.
Attendance numbers from 2012 show a total of 1,220,814 people visited the NC Museum of Natural Sciences while Biltmore attracted 1,123,144 guests. The NC Museum of Natural Sciences opened its innovative Nature Research Center last spring. Dr. Emlyn Koster, the Museum’s new director, noted that “We are thrilled to witness the school, family and adult appetite to get up close to the work of scientists.”
“Science museums have lately been searching for new and successful ways to engage every stage of learning with the wonders of science as well as with its relevance to the changing opportunities and challenges facing society and the environment. It is imperative for this remarkable Museum to continue to pinpoint ways of combining its wide popularity with its external usefulness, Dr. Koster added.
Charlotte’s Discovery Place enjoyed the third highest attendance in the 2012 survey conducted by Carolina Publishing Associates with 762,261visitors. Rounding out the top five most visited museums and historic attractions were the North Carolina Zoo with 761,964 visitors and Fort Macon State Park with 739,780 guests.
North Carolina’s heartland is home to 14 of the top 30 attractions including four State museums in Raleigh and the Museum of Life and Sciences in Durham. Ten of the most visited museums and historic attractions are located along the Atlantic coast and six sites are in the mountains.