A research firm says the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences was the most visited of the state’s museums and historic attractions last year. It’s the first time in nine years that Biltmore Estate has not topped the list. Mathews-based Carolina Publishing Associates compiled the numbers. The firm says 1,220,814 people visited the museum in 2012. Biltmore attracted 1,123,144 visitors.
The status as the state’s most attended museum coincides with the opening of the new Nature Research Center last spring. The Museum of Natural Sciences recently received another accolade. It was named as a finalist for the National Medal for Museum and Library Service. It is considered one of the highest honors for institutions involved significantly in community service.
Charlotte’s Discovery Place was third on the list of most visited museums and historic sites followed by the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro and Fort Macon State Park in Atlantic Beach. Rounding out the top ten were Marbles Kids Museum in Raleigh, Fort Fisher State Historic Site at Kure Beach, Wright Brothers National Historic Site at Kill Devil Hills, the North Carolina Arboretum in Asheville and the Museum of Life and Sciences in Durham