The noted explorer, archaeologist, anthropologist, paleontologist, and part-time plumbing contractor from the University of Chicago, Professor Duffer A. Hacker, led two expeditions to the outer banks in the late 1920’s. The purpose of these expeditions was to search for an answer as to what happened to the lost colony of Roanoke Island and to look for treasure believed to have been hidden by Blackbeard the Pirate. Professor Hacker’s first surprise was the discovery of an old mining train built by the Confederate Army during the Civil War. They were searching for gold to finance their war effort. Take the mining car* to the top of the mountain and follow Professor Hacker as you putt your way through an adventurous expedition to find gold and diamonds.
Kill Devil Hills is ideal for kids, thanks to a collection of on and off-the-beach activities, and a central locale that makes a trip to neighboring Outer Banks attractions a breeze. Take a break from the sandcastle building, and discover these sites, attractions and activities that are sure to keep little hands busy
Educational Sites and Attractions
Wright Brothers Memorial - This historic attraction, managed by the National Park Service (NPS), features exhibits and authentic glider replicas that will fascinate young visitors. Special programs for kids are also available seasonally on site as well. Visit http://www.nps.gov/wrbr/forkids/index.htmfor more information.
Children at Play Museum - This Kitty Hawk Museum combines hands-on activities with educational tools to create a fun environment for kids to spend an afternoon. Open daily, this museum is appropriate for kids from 1-10.
Roanoke Island Festival Park - Board the Elizabeth II, a stunning replica of the 16th century ship that first transported colonists to the New World, or explore the authentic Native American and European colonists' villages. Roanoke Island Festival Park has a wealth of activities that will educate and thrill young visitors, and is only located a 20-30 minute drive away.
Island Farm - See how the Outer Banks locals lived in the mid-1800s, and meet and greet with friendly local farm animals at Manteo's Island Farm. This engaging outdoor museum also has a wealth of regular children's programs which can be found online at http://www.theislandfarm.com/special-events-programming/.
North Carolina Aquarium - The North Carolina Aquarium has a discovery center for budding biologists, several touch tanks where young visitors can get their hands on manta rays and hermit crabs, and a series of exhibits that cover the coastal Carolina habitat from the sea floor up. For special kids programs that are held regularly on-site, visit http://reservations.ncaquariums.com/roanokeisland/CalendarView.aspx.
Elizabethan Gardens - Take a long stroll through this beautiful Roanoke Island destination that features a wealth of native plants, trees and flowers, and carefully imported European species. Holidays are a big deal at the Gardens, and kids will adore the special family-friendly events that coincide with Easter, Christmas, and October's "Harvest Heyday."
Lighthouses - For kids who are old enough to tackle an arduous 200+ step climb, head to Corolla's Currituck Beach Lighthouse or the southern Bodie Island Lighthouse. Both are located about 30 minutes away, provide guided treks to the top, and promise a view that family members won't soon forget, regardless of age.
Watersports Lessons - Athletic visitors will love diving into a new waterfront sport, and the Kill Devil Hills area has plenty of options for Outer Banks newcomers. Stand up paddle boarding, surfing, kayaking, and even kiteboarding or windsurfing can all be enjoyed in Kill Devil Hills, and visitors can find equipment rentals and lessons available at Kitty Hawk Kites, Kitty Hawk Watersports, and the Kitty Hawk Kayak and Surf School.
Public Parks - The town of Kill Devil Hills is home to several public parks for free off-the-beach entertainment. The Aviation Park on Veteran's Drive features a fitness trail, skate park, playground, and parking for visitors, while the West Hayman Boulevard Recreation Area boasts a playground and picnic area. Additional playgrounds and playing fields for pick-up games can also be found at Meekins Field.
Mini Golf - Mini golf is a favorite activity in Kill Devil Hills, and there are three area courses to choose from, including Paradise Arcade and Golf, Destination Fun, and Lost Treasure Golf. More courses are also found in neighboring Kitty Hawk and Nags Head - specifically Paradise Golf and Arcade, and Galaxy Golf.
Amusement Parks - Kill Devil Hills is home to several small specialty amusement parks, such as the Wet ‘n Wild Bumper Boats park and the Colington Speedway. For a truly thrilling adventure, book a family trip via the Kitty Hawk Aero Tours in Kill Devil Hills and enjoy an aerial view that visitors will never forget.
Waterfront Kayaking Tours - Take an eco-tour of the Albemarle Sound and see the natural habitat of the Outer Banks' famed wildlife up close. Kitty Hawk Kites offers a range of guided tours for beginner and expert paddlers alike.
Jockey's Ridge - The Jockey's Ridge State Park is home to a wealth of activities. The soundside beaches are perfect for young visitors who want to splash around, while the nature trails that wind over towering sand dunes and dense maritime forests will keep older kids fully engaged.
YMCA - Besides boasting an expansive indoor swimming pool and fitness center, the YMCA in Nags Head is also home to one of the largest outdoor skate parks on the Outer Banks. Lessons and local tournaments are regularly available at the skate park for participants and spectators.
Fishing Piers - Both the Avalon Pier in Kill Devil Hills and Jennette's Pier in Nags Head offer reduced rates for younger anglers, and kids under the age of 16 do not need a fishing license to start casting. Jennette's Pier also hosts a number of kid-friendly fishing tournaments and special exhibits and programs designed with young visitors in mind. Visit http://www.jennettespier.net/ for more info and upcoming events.
- Take in a movie at the R/C Theater multiplex in Kill Devil Hills, or for a more historic movie-outing, head to the Pioneer Theater in Manteo - one of the oldest, still operating movie theaters in the state of North Carolina.
- Challenge the family to a game of laser tag at Destination Fun, which also offers visitors a 3-D mini golf course and an arcade.
- Have a family bowling tournament at the OBX Bowling Center. Newly reopened and under new management, this Nags Head staple is the perfect destination for a rainy day afternoon or family-friendly evening on the town.
- Feeling crafty? Head to Glazin' Go Nuts or the Garden of Beadin' and try your hand at creating unique jewelry, or painting a ceramic piece to serve as your own personalized Outer Banks souvenir.
- Head to the flagship Kitty Hawk Kites store, located right across the street from the Jockeys Ridge State Park, and try out the rock climbing wall, pick out a kite to enjoy along the oceanfront, or take advantage of the numerous special kids' events from hang gliding clinics to wintertime visits with Santa.
- No need to leave the vacation rental home to have fun, as many modern vacation rentals boast game rooms, theater / media rooms, and private pools, providing hours of entertainment for young ones without ever stepping out the front door.