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From museums and historic homes to outdoor activities and sporting events, Kinston-Lenoir County offers something fun for everyone to enjoy.
1. Kinston-Lenoir County Visitors Center
191 E. New Bern Rd. at Hwy 70 & 258 Intersection
Monday-Friday 9am to 5pm Saturday. 10am to 5pm Sunday. 1pm to 5pm
The Visitors Center is located on the historic battlefield of the first battle of Kinston. Indoor and outdoor displays are representative of the Civil War. A 50 seat auditorium with films showing Lenoir County its current attraction and Civil War Kinston battle history.
2. First Battle of Kinston Battlefield Park
Battlefield Memorial Site – On Hwy 70 turn at King’s Restaurant and go one block. Site at corner of Meadowbrook and Harriet Drive
Hours: Dawn until dusk
Harriet’s Chapel/Starr’s Battery Site – Hwy 258 South, one quarter of a mile south of the intersection of Hwy 70 East and Hwy 258 South. (1/4 of a mile from the Kinston-Lenoir County Visitor and Information Center)
Hours: Dawn to Dusk
Contact: (252) 522-0540
Admission: Free but donations appreciated
First Battle of Kinston took place December 1862. It was part of Foster’s Raid and the far reaching Union strategy to capture Richmond. Visit Kinston to learn the rest of the story.
3. Lions Adventure Water Park
2602 W. Vernon Ave.
Hours: 11:30 – 5:30 Mondays-Sundays
Open through Labor Day Weekend
Admission: $9.95 for non-member (all day) Group rates available
This outdoor water park features a variety of activities that promise lots of fun for the family. Attraction include; zero entry 550ft lazy river, 32 ft. tower with 3 water slides, 5,000 ft. Leisure pool with water play areas, 1000sq. ft wellness pool and 8 lane 25 yd. competition pool.
4. Neuseway Park –Planetarium, Health & Science Museum, Nature Center and Big Daddy Train
403 W. Caswell St. (West side of the Neuse River) (252-939-3303)
9:30 to 5 Tuesday-Friday Closed on Saturday 1pm to 5pm Sunday
Kids will love the fun and never realize they’re learning as they crawl through a gaint model of intestines, a mouth, a stomach, and underground tunnel of blood vessels, or watch a puppet show in the museum. They will love the hands on science exhibits designed to teach and amuse children of all ages. The 52 seat planetarium has a giant dome to display the sun, moon, stars and planets. Children and adults will gaze with wonder at the galactic shows offered at 1 and 3 pm Tuesdays through Fridays. On Saturdays, the shows start on the hours from 1am until 4 pm and on Sundays, from 2pm to 4pm. The Nature Center has exhibits of wild animals. A ride on the Big Daddy train provides fun for the young and the old.
5. CSS Neuse II
Corner of Herritage and Gordon Streets
Hours: 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday; 9 a.m-5 p.m. Saturday 1 p.m.-5 p.m. Sunday
Admission: Free. Donations appreciated
Visit the world’s only full-sized facsimile of a Confederate gunboat to realize what a sailor’s life was like during the Civil War. The project was under the direction of master shipbuilder Alton Stapleford. The 158-foot long boat draws visitors from across the United States and from foreign countries. If you’re fortunate, you may visit the Neuse II while teens train as Confederate naval cadets.
The boat rests a scant distance from the “cat hole” in the Neuse River where the original ironclad gunboat was fitted with iron plating.
6. Historic Harmony Hall
109 East King St.
Hours: 10am to 4pm Tuesday –Saturday
The house was built 4 years before the American Revolution. Richard Caswell, Revolutionary War hero and NC‘s first elected governor, once owned the house and for a brief time it became the state’s capital, housing important records and accounts. The home has been restored and is open to the general public. A one room furnished 1900 schoolhouse is located at the rear of the site.
7. Kinston Community Council for the Arts
400 North Queen Street
Hours: 10am to 5pm Tuesday –Friday Saturday10am – 2pm
The state-of-the-art 30,000-square-foot center is today on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of the finest arts centers in the state. Visual art occupies one-third of the space, with exhibits changing every six to eight weeks. As many as 300 works by up to 200 local, regional, national and international artists are on display at any given time. A large, detailed model train display is part of the permanent exhibit, and runs from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. every first and fourth Saturday of the month.
Look, linger and shop in the premier showplace for artists working in a variety of media. The tiny gift shop is crammed floor to ceiling with beautiful examples of jewelry, pottery, paintings, drawings, photography, woodcrafts, children’s toys, glass and other highly desirable, and reasonably priced, products from local artists, artisans and writers. You can even select from seasonal decorations.
8. Gov. Richard Caswell State Historic Site
2613 W. Vernon Ave. (U.S. 70 Bus.)
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays-Fridays
The story of Richard Caswell’s life is memorialized in a museum at the state site bearing his name. Caswell was a Revolutionary War hero, North Carolina’s first elected governor and a prominent businessman. He was a delegate to the Second Continental Congress, and only ill health prevented him from becoming a signer of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.
9. Caswell No 1 Fire Station Museum
118 South Queen Street
Kinston has been plagued with many fires over the years. Learn the story of the devastating fire of 1895 that destroyed much of downtown business and the courthouse. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places and is the city’s original fire station and the oldest brick structure in Kinston
10. Heritage Place – A Genealogy Research Center
231 NC 58 South on the Lenoir Community College Campus in the main library
252-527-6223 ext 508
Hours: 9am to 5pm Monday-Thursday
You won’t find a better collection of historical information about eastern North Carolina, Virginia and South Carolina than at Heritage Place. Walking into the room is like taking a step back in time. Pick up a family tree packet and trace your roots. Read priceless family notes and records donated to the center, as well as wills, deeds and vital statistics. You can even study U.S. Census reports from 1790 to 1930, or local newspaper records from 1855 through current issues. Online help from Ancestery.com and HeritageQuest is available
11. Mother Earth Brewing
Mother Earth Brewing Company is located on the corner of Heritage and North Street in Kinston NC. The facility includes the brewery itself, a bottling facility and Mother Earth’s corporate offices. For tour enter at the Tap Room
The tap room is open Tuesday – Thursday 4pm-10pm and Friday – Saturday 1pm-10pm. Tours are on the hour.
12. CSS Neuse Interpretive and Civil War Center
100 N. Queen St.
9:00 a. m. to 5:00 p.m. Tuesday –Saturday
The CSS Neuse was a Confederate Ironclad that was used in the Kinston, NC area during the Civil War. The ship was built at White Hall (now Seen Springs, NC) in 1862 and was completed in Kinston in 1864. The Gunboat was involved in the Battle of Wyse. The CSS Neuse Civil War Interpretive Center showcases the State’s largest historic artifact. The remains of the CSS Neuse and the associated artifacts were relocated to a fully enclosed and climate controlled facility. Currently the remains of the CSS Neuse are on display with a ghosting above it, exhibits with artifacts, and an orientation video.
One trip just isn’t enough. That’s why families and history lovers continue to come back to Kinston and Lenoir County, NC for vacations full of fun, education and inspiration. Kinston offers an intriguing past, a vibrant present and an exciting future. Visit Kinston soon, and let us captivate you with our Southern charm. Civil War buffs can find plenty to explore in Kinston and Lenoir County as you visit the First Battle of Kinston and Battle of Wyse Fork battlefields. For nature lovers, Kinston is an ideal location with plenty of parks, waterways and recreational spaces.
The Kinston-Lenoir County Chamber of Commerce has been serving Kinston and Lenoir County since 1911. The Chamber acts as a voice and advocate for the community regarding economic, community and government issues and represents Kinston and Lenoir County as a great place to live, work and play.