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.
In Kill Devil Hills, the entertainment extends well off the shoreline to a number of plazas, shopping centers, museums, and other iconic OBX sites. Because Kill Devil Hills is located in the heart of the Outer Banks, it's veritably close to everything, making it easier for visitors to explore the following list of quintessential rainy day destinations
Historic Sites and Museums
Wright Brothers Memorial - On a rainy day, visitors might forego making the outdoor trek to the base of the monument, but there are plenty of cool exhibits - including a replica of the first 1903 glider - as well as multi-media presentations to explore at the Visitors Center
Jennette's Pier - It might be too rainy to walk the plank, but the "pier house" visitors center is worth a look for its series of rotating exhibits, which are typically borrowed from the North Carolina Aquarium, and shed light on the unique coastal environment
North Carolina Aquarium - Located in Manteo, the North Carolina Aquarium features a world of local, regional and even deep-sea species on full display, as well as special programs throughout the day, "touch tanks" for kids, and one of the largest saltwater tanks in North Carolina.
Children at Play Museum - This engaging Kitty Hawk museum features hands-on exhibits that are designed for the Outer Banks' youngest visitors, and which focus on varying grown-up professions, the local wildlife, and even pirates.
Bodie Island Lighthouse - Take a gander at one of the Outer Banks' signature lighthouses, the Bodie Island Lighthouse, which features a visitors center, gift shop, and seasonal climbing hours. (The lighthouse is open on rainy day, but closed for climbing when there are thunderstorms in the forecast.)
The Outer Banks Beachcomber Museum - This Nags Head attraction has a variety of old-school exhibits, from local store merchandise to a century's worth of beachcombing finds from the Outer Banks' shoreline.
Outer Banks History Center - This sprawling archive of all things Outer Banks has a series of rotating exhibits which feature a special segment of local history, as well as spotlighted regional and local artists. The center is found at the Roanoke Island Festival Park in Manteo.
Destination Fun - This indoor plaza features an extensive laser tag arena, an arcade, 3D mini golf, and special rates for large groups and birthday parties.
Paradise Golf and Arcade - Forego the mini golf, and settle into the arcade for a couple hours of off-the-beach entertainment with classic and new video games.
YMCA - With an indoor swimming pool, indoor game areas, and a full schedule of fitness classes for kids and adults alike, the Nags Head YMCA is a great destination for burning off a little extra energy.
R/C Theater - The R/C Theater in Kill Devil Hills features 3D digital projection on select films, huge wall to wall curved screens, stadium seating with high back rocking chairs, and an on-site game room. With plenty of daily matinees to choose from, it's a solid option for a rainy afternoon.
OBX Bowling - This Nags Head bowling alley is open daily, year-round, with special reduced rates in the off-season and on weekdays. The bowling alley also features an on-site arcade as well as a snack shack for quick, easy-going meals.
Kitty Hawk Kites - The flagship Kitty Hawk Kites store in Nags Head, located right across the street from Jockey's Ridge State Park, offers multiple levels of fun, including an indoor rock wall which is open for climbing rain or shine.
Gallery Row - Head to Nags Head's famed Gallery Row and browse through a half dozen of the area's best art galleries, which showcase a myriad of local, regional, and statewide artists.
Spa Day - Pamper yourself at one of the region's many day spas, including the Lotus Day Spa and Boutique, Awesome Massage and Bodywork, and the Aqua Spa and restaurant in nearby Duck.
Avalon Pier - The rain may put the fishing on hold, but young visitors will have a blast at the on-site arcade.
Glazin' Go Nuts Paint Your Own Pottery - Spend a quiet afternoon creating the perfect souvenir at this Kill Devil Hills destination that allows patrons to paint their own hand-picked ceramic piece.
Garden of Beadin' - With thousands of beads to choose from, Kill Devil Hills visitors can craft the perfect necklace, bracelet or other treasure to enjoy at home.
Trio - this chic foodie favorite that focuses on the trio of beer, wine and cheese is the perfect spot to leisurely pick out a dinnertime wine or beer while sampling a number of fine regional beverages and international cheeses
Dare County Library - Located on Mustian Street, the Kill Devil Hills library is open Monday through Saturday for visitors, and features a regular story hour for young visitors. Visit http://www.earlibrary.org/killdevilhills/ for upcoming events and hours of operation.
Shopping and Dining
With an array of eclectic and name-brand shops, and plenty of restaurants to choose from, Kill Devil Hills is a haven for shoppers and diners of all tastes. Be sure and scope out these regions or destinations on the next overcast afternoon.
Shoppers will feel right at home in Kill Devil Hills, as the region is home to a large number of standard beach shops, like Wings and Reef, as well as a handful of shopping plazas, boutiques, and other stop-worthy destinations.
Stop by Belk, Kill Devil Hill's premier department store for southern fashions, or head south to Nags Head to scope out the Tanger Outlets - a shopping center which features an array of name brand outlet shops including Gap, Bass, Coach and Polo. Other area shopping centers include Seagate North and the Surfside Shopping plaza - both of which are easy to spot along US Highway 158.
For a truly unique shopping experience, head 20 minutes north to Duck, which is renowned for a collection of shopping plazas all concentrated within a 1 mile square area, including the Scarborough Lane Shopping Center, and the Waterfront Shops.
Kill Devil Hills and Kitty Hawk are also known for a collection of funky stores and consignment boutiques. Head to the Beach Road, (aka NC Highway 12), to discover these "finds" that are well off the beaten path. The Hotline Thrift Store, which is close to the Belk shopping center, is also a good spot to do some bargain hunting.
From hearty diner-style breakfasts to upscale fine dining establishments, Kill Devil Hills has it all. Spend a rainy morning, afternoon or evening checking out these famed Kill Devil Hills establishments
Colington Cafe - located in Colington, this cafe with a romantic wooded setting is an ideal destination for a fresh seafood dinner for two.
Kill Devil Grill - Found on the Beach Road, this top-rated eatery serves upscale diner fare in a fun, and nostalgic atmosphere.
Duck Donuts - This donut shop is a local favorite when it comes to a hot cup of Joe topped off with an assortment of melt-in-your-mouth soft donuts.
Good Life Gourmet - Part deli, part specialty food shop, and part restaurant, this is a good spot to sample a wealth of regional salads, sandwiches, delicacies, and North Carolina beers.
Bad Bean Baja Grill - An ideal destination for Fresh Mex, this spot has become a favorite with the after-beach crowd.
Mama Kwan's Grill & Tiki Bar - Unique fare with an island spin is Mama Kwan's specialty. The restaurant turns into a popular night spot after hours in the summer.
Jolly Roger Restaurant & Bar - This Beach Road staple has cool pirate decor that almost rivals the heaping seafood platters.
Outer Banks Brewing Station - Take a "flight" and sample 4 of the Brewing Station's homegrown beers, and top it off with an appetizer for the perfect OBX Happy Hour.
Henry's Restaurant - This no-frills eatery is a local favorite for hearty breakfasts and lunchtime sandwiches and southern plates.
Chili Peppers - Featuring Southwestern fare with a coastal twist, Chili Peppers is the go-to for afternoon drinks and apps, or after-hours entertainment.
Ocean Blvd - One of the most acclaimed fine dining restaurants in the central Outer Banks, Ocean Blvd has a palette-pleasing menu that changes with the season. Special vegetarian menus are also available upon request.