Wright Brothers National Memorial in North Carolina preserves the site of the first powered flight.
Wright Brothers National Memorial
Wilbur and Orville Wright were two bicycle mechanics from Dayton, Ohio who owned a company manufacturing and repairing bikes.
They both had a dream of trying to fly. They choose a site on North Carolina's Outer Banks to experiment with their ideas for a flying machine.
The winds are steady in the Outer Banks and there was little vegetation obstructing the area plus the sand promised a hopefully soft landing.
The Wright Brothers succeeded in the first sustained powered flight three years after arriving in the Outer Banks. This was the first successful sustained powered flight in a heavier than air machine.
This historic moment began the age of flight. The longest flight the Wright Brothers achieved was on December 17, 1903, when they traveled 852 feet in 59 seconds.
We were so excited to visit Wright Brothers National Memorial. It has been on our National Park bucket list for so long and we finally made it happen.
We have an epic photo of the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk in December 1903 in our office that reminds us every day to push for our dreams.
While planning this trip we realized the photo on our wall is the same one that the National Park Service has on their website.
One really cool thing we learned is pilots are allowed to land small planes at the park on the 3,000-foot First Flight Airstrip.
The Wright Brothers National Memorial Visitor Center is a National Historic Landmark built in 1960 and newly renovated.
Make sure to plan time to explore the visitor center. There is an amazing reproduction 1903 flyer that is so cool!
The visitor center is filled with interpretive panels and great information. You can easily spend an hour or two just exploring the visitor center.
First Flight Boulder & Flight Line
Visit the site where Orville and Wilbur first took flight and the locations where they landed.
It is an easy walk from the visitor center to the First Flight Boulder and the Flight Line. You can walk down the flight line to see just how far the Wright Brothers flew.
Reconstructed 1903 Camp Buildings
The reconstructed 1903 camp buildings were built on the location where the Wright Brothers lived while experimenting on the Outer Banks. The hanger and living quarters offer a glimpse of what life was like for the brothers in 1903.
Wright Brothers Monument
Located on the top of Kill Devil Hill this was the first monument to commemorate the Wright Brothers' world-changing achievement.
The monument was finished and dedicated in 1932. The monument sites on a starbase and the monument itself were designed to look like bird wings. There is a beacon of light that shines at night to light the way for aviators.
The doors to the Wright Brothers Monument contain 8 bronze panels that tell the stories of humans' attempts to fly.
Big Kill Devil Hill is a 90 food stabilized sand dune.
December 17, 1903 Sculpture
Located on the south side of Kill Devil Hill this sculpture is an artistic representation of the moment of the first flight.
You can walk around the sculpture and climb on it if you want to. We highly suggest getting photos here! It is so much fun.
Junior Ranger Program
You can pick up a Junior Ranger Program at the visitor center and complete the pages during your visit.
This book does include going to a few different spots in the park to answer the questions. Make sure to pick up your Junior Ranger booklet before heading out into the park.
You can get started by downloading the Junior Ranger booklet ahead of your visit.
Things to know when planning a visit
Where is Wright Brothers National Memorial?
The park is located at milepost 7.5 on U.S. Highway 158, Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina.
Visitor Center address - 1000 North Croatan Highway, Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948
Park Hours - Open seven days a week, year-round, 9:00 am–5:00 pm. The only day the park is closed is Christmas Day, December 25.
$10 Individual pass for anyone 16 and older
Kids 15 and younger are free
You can also use your National Park Pass or visit on a free national park day.
Pets - Pets must be on a leash no longer than 6’ at all times. Pets are not allowed in buildings.
Closest Airport - The Manteo/ Dare County Regional Airport (MQI) services private aircraft. The First Flight Airstrip (FFA) at the park has a 3,000' runway and tie-downs. There are NO services (fuel, hanger space, repair service, etc) at the airstrip.
Norfolk International Airport (ORF) is located about 100 miles to the north in Norfolk, VA
Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU), which is located about 200 miles from the park.
Public Transportation - Public bus transportation is not available in the area