When you visit a new city checking out museums is often something you do. For example, I’ve paid several visits to The Met when in New York City. But I’m not going to lie it’s been a long time since I’ve checked out any of the local North Carolina museums.

But in honor of International Museum Day on May 18th our friends at AirportParkingReservations.com conducted a study on the most loved museums across America.

The rankings are based on a combination of search data and online rankings for the museums. They conducted a list of the most popular museums in the United States as well as the top 5 North Carolina Museums.

It’s no surprise that my aforementioned Met is the most visited museum in the country. But it is the second most popular on this list behind, you probably didn’t guess it- Graceland. Rounding out the top 5 were The Art Institute of Chicago, the Phoenix Art Museum, and The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The Most Popular North Carolina Museums

But are the most popular North Carolina museums? Well, I’m glad you asked! There are numerous to choose from including art museums, science museums, the NASCAR Hall of Fame, history museums, and more. So what made the cut?

Below you will find a list of the 5 most popular North Carolina museums shared with us from our friends at AirportParkingReservations.com. You may be surprised at some of the ones that didn’t make the cut!

While it may have been a while, I have visited 4 of the 5 on this list so perhaps I need to plan a visit to the last one soon. So next time you are looking for something to do check out one of these!

Thanks to AirportParkingReservations.com for sharing their research with us. You can read the full study here.

  • 5. Discovery Place Science

    Uptown Charlotte’s Discovery Place Science came in 5th on this list. The science museum features interactive exhibits, experiments, and displays that bring science to life. There is an iMax dome, aquarium, rainforest exhibit, and more! Get info about Discovery Place Science here.

  • 4. North Carolina Transportation Museum

    Located in Spencer, The North Carolina Transporation Museum is a must visit for anyone who loves trains or any other type of transportation. It’s a historic site and was once the home of Southern Railway’s largest steam locomotive repair facility in the southeast. Today it is a museum detailing transportation including railroading, automotive, aviation, and more. Get more information here.

  • 3. Battleship North Carolina

    Located on the Cape Fear River in Wilmington the Battleship North Carolina. This retired NAVAL ship gives visitors the chance to explore nine levels seeing where and how the crew ate, slept, and worked. The tour takes you all around the ship and even into the gun turrets while learning about what was life for the 2000 men who called the ship home. Learn more about visiting the Battleship North Carolina here.

  • 2. North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

    Raleigh’s North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is actually the only one on this list I haven’t visited. It’s home to special exhibits currently Dueling Dinosaurs. The museum is made up of the Nature Exploration Center and Nature Research Center. Both are filled with dioramas, theaters, and interactive experiences. Learn more here.

  • 1. North Carolina Museum of Art

    And the most popular museum in the state? The North Carolina Museum of Art, also located in Raleigh. The museum recently celebrated its 100th anniversary. It includes the indoor art museum with a vast collection of pieces spanning the Italian Reniassance, Egypt, contemporary American Art, and more. There is also the 164-acre museum park featuring permanent and temporary sculptures and other forms of outdoor art. It’s a popular place to walk, and free to visit. Learn more here.

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