RALEIGH — The N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences was the most popular museum or historic site in the state last year, surpassing the Biltmore mansion and grounds in Asheville.
Its the first time the museum has topped the list that the Biltmore has dominated since Carolina Publishing Associates began compiling visitor data nine years ago.
The company found that 1,220,814 people visited the science museum in downtown Raleigh in 2012, compared with 1,123,144 at the Biltmore. The museums numbers were boosted by the opening last spring of the Nature Research Center, a new wing that emphasizes the work of natural scientists.
Charlottes Discovery Place, the N.C. Zoo in Asheboro and Fort Macon State Park in Atlantic Beach rounded out the top 5 attractions. Other local attractions included Marbles museum in Raleigh at sixth, the Museum of Life and Sciences in Durham at tenth, the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh at thirteenth and the N.C. Museum of Art in Raleigh at fourteenth.
Based in Matthews, Carolina Publishing Associates publishes the Carolina Heritage Guide, Carolina Field Trips Magazine and the African-American Heritage and Visitors Guide.