Cape Fear Museum in Wilmington, North Carolina | Kids Out and About Ft. Worth

Cape Fear Museum in Wilmington, North Carolina

By Meg Brunson

When I first heard "Cape Fear Museum" I thought it'd be something spooky, when in fact, the Wilmington area is simply known as "Cape Fear."  So, the Cape Fear museum is actually an amazing museum focused on the history and science of the Cape Fear region!

We all had one big question when we arrived at the museum - why is it called "Cape Fear?" Lucky for us, that question was answered in the first exhibit... it's quite simple... the area is known for rocky coasts and rough seas and when ports were the primary source of trades, it could be scary boating in!

Our favorite exibits included Space Place, which is inspired by and modeled after the International Space Station! We loved observing a variety of items under a microscope, and discovering how astronauts sleep in space - and even hopping into the sleep sack ourselves and velcroing to the wall! We took turns putting on space gloves and then completing Lego challenges inside a box, and using a robotic arm to manipulate items. 

Michael Jordon grew up in Wilmington and there was an exhibit dedicated to him. As a big basketball fan myself, it was cool to see things like awards from his gradeschool years, and imagine what he was like in Kindergarten when he got a perfect attendance award. It's also cool for my kids to see reminders that he was a normal kid at one time - and that he made his dreams come true - and they can too!

The Michael Jordan Discovery Gallery (not to be confused with the exhibit I just mentioned) focuses on Cape Fear’s environment. We learned that Venus' Flytrap is native to the area and they had a really cool activity surrounding that. We also learned about the other trees, plants, and animals typically found in the region. 

Our other favorite exhibit was Dinosaur Discovery! The kids loved uncovering (replica) fossils in a dig pit. They loved wearing their safety goggles, and using brushes and magnifying glasses to discover and observe the bones! We all loved seeing bones (and casts) of full dinosaur skeletons as well as bones, and fossils - and using those discoveries to learn how dinosaures lived and behaved. 

I love how much we were able to learn about Willmington and the surrounding Cape Fear region at this museum! Throught the museum were plenty of other exhibits and displays focused on the history in the area - including the civil war, and desegregation in schools. Prior to our visit, I was unaware (or didn't remember) how important Fort Fisher was in the Civil War! 

Helpful Hints for an Amazing Trip

  • Monday is NOT a Funday - the museum is closed on Mondays, so keep that in mind when planning your trip!
  • Parking - There is a free lot right behind the museum!
  • Pack a Snack - While Cape Fear Museum does not allow food/drinks in the exhibit areas, there is a designated area where you can sit and enjoy a snack (and the room also contains games, so if the kids finish first they can play while you finish chowing down! You can also enjoy a picnic outside at Museum Park or the picnic tables near the parking lot!
  • Outdoor Fun - Museum Park is adjacent to Cape Fear Museum, is open from dawn to dusk, and is FREE to visit! It's interactive exhibits highlight the regions natural resources! We saved this for last, so we could spend as much time as we wanted in the museum, which closes at 5pm, then we spent some extra time at the Park before heading home!

The Cape Fear Museum is family-friendly and great for kids of all ages - and also with plenty of information and exhibits that will appeal to adults with or without kids! Find more information about hours, admission, current exhibits, and start planning your trip at

Read about some of the other adventures we're having on our Year-Long Road Trip!


© 2019 Meg Brunson

Thanks to Wilmington and Beaches Convention & Visitors Bureau & the Cape Fear Museum for sponsoring this review. All opinions expressed are my own. See more on Instagram!

Meg is a mommy blogger, Facebook marketer, and much more. She is a mom to four kids who live full-time in an RV exploring the US! As a former Facebook employee, Meg remains a Facebook addict and handles's Social Media Marketing in addition to providing freelance services for other small businesses on how to best leverage Facebook as a part of their marketing strategy. Meg also hosts the FamilyPreneur Podcast, a podcast for parent entrepreneurs raising entrepreneurial children. Learn more about Meg at!