Wright Brothers National Memorial
located at mile post 7.5 on U.S. Highway 158, Kill Devil Hills, NC, USA
Wright Brothers National Memorial Kill Devil Hills Reviews
Wright Brothers National Memorial Jul 21, 2012
This is the site where Orville and Wilbur Wright made the first airplane flights on December 17, 1903, with markers along a strip showing where each of the four flights landed. It is staggering to ponder how rapidly airplane technology advanced in the decades after the Wrights puttered such short distances in a vehicle just a notch above a hang glider. The equivalent in our day is probably the evolution in computer technology over the last forty years.
Next to the airstrip are recreations of the small buildings the brothers set up to store their equipment and to camp out in. A visitor center contains exhibits on the technical hurdles they had to overcome as well as a copy of their famous aircraft (the real one is up north at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.). Another exhibit area sits at the other end of the parking lot, focusing on the history of human flight overall rather than the Wright brothers' specific achievement.
Towering over the complex is the 1932 memorial tower at the top of Kill Devil Hill. The Art Deco-influenced memorial just begs to be photographed for those willing to make the hike. Orville Wright was present for the dedication ceremony. There is parking at the base of the hill on the opposite side facing away from the visitor center, which I didn't know about until after making the climb up (oh well, I needed the exercise). Again at the base of the hill on the side facing away from the visitor center sit life-sized sculptures of the brothers making the first flight - I was again unaware of this memorial that was added in 2003 until I read about it after my trip, so I can't say much about it.
The memorial sits right off the main drag of South Croatan Highway in Kill Devil Hills. It is worth a visit to see the humble beginnings of travel by airplane so important to all of us on TravBuddy.
Part of the list Outer Banks
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First in Flight May 01, 2010
This is a great piece of history and it is in a beautiful location, although I am sure they did not plan it like that.
I was n t expecting much, but when I arrived I did not realize how big the memorial was. Apparently it is the largest memorial built for a living person, well at least one of them was alive at the time and one of the brothers attended the dedication.
Make sure to bring a comfortable pair of shoes, a bottle of water, and sunscreen or a hat and sunglasses! There is a museum that is air conditioned, but most of the memorial is on open grounds, and it can be a long walk in the hot sun.
Part of the Florida May 2010 travel blog
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