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Wright Brothers Memorial

Take in the Wright Brothers Memorial on the Outer Banks

The Outer Banks has played a key role in several moments throughout history, so it’s no surprise it has more than its fair share of famous attractions and landmarks. Iconic sites like the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and the Chicamacomico Lifesaving Station attract numerous visitors yearly and delight beach vacationers with their deep history and beautiful photo-worthy facades.

However, one of the most world-renowned OBX attractions is just off Cape Hatteras in Kill Devil Hills. the Wright Brothers National Memorial is a "must-see" for any vacationer with a love of history, aviation, architecture, and/or all of the above.

Experiences Attractions Wright Brothers Box1 Monument Close Sunset 960X600 203K
Experiences Attractions Wright Brothers Box2 Historic Shot New 960X600 218K

All about the Wright Brothers Memorial

Standing 60 ft. tall, the granite monument that makes up the Wright Brothers Memorial is found on a sand dune in the center of the Northern Outer Bank. Visible throughout the town of Kill Devil Hills and lit at night, this towering monument is a tribute to Orville and Wilbur Wright, two  brothers who successfully completed the world's "first flight" in 1903.

Thousands of visitors visit the 426-acre Wright Brother Memorial National Park every year and pay homage to the two former bicycle shop owners turned fathers of aviation who came to the Outer Banks to see how high their ambitions could reach. Inspirational and fascinating for vacationers of all interests, the Wright Brothers Memorial is an enlightening day trip destination that's simply a must for any Hatteras Island visitor

The Beginnings of Flight in the Outer Banks

After spending years studying and testing in Kill Devil Hills and Kitty Hawk (which included the building of three previous gliders that did not meet expectations), these Ohio brothers took their newly constructed Wright Flyer I to the top of a high Outer Banks dune on a windy December day. With a photographer on stand-by to record the event, the glider made history on Dec. 17 by flying for 120 ft. in just 12 short seconds. Only five people witnessed the event, but the "first flight" soon made headlines worldwide. This event opened the public's imaginations with the revelation that flying was indeed possible for mankind.


The Kill Devil Hills Monument

Today, the monument is a reminder of this historic accomplishment, and the national park surrounding the sites has a few additional attractions to explain the story to visitors. The on-site Wright Brothers museum is a captivating part of the park and features a full-scale reproduction of the successful 1903 glider, as well as previous Wright Brothers models. The museum is also home to authentic memorabilia, tools the brothers used, and a complete history of their time on the Outer Banks. Regular talks are given throughout the day by park rangers, and special kids' programs and activities may be available as well.

Dec. 17 is also always a noteworthy day for the park, and off-season visitors can expect a lot of special guests, celebrations, and informative programs that coincide with the anniversary of this legendary flight.

Learn more about the history of the Outer Banks on your getaway with Surf or Sound Realty by adding a trip to this North Carolina memorial to your itinerary!

Bronze sculpture detail of John T. Daniels of the Lifesaving Service who took the famous photo of the Wright's 1st flight