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Battleship North Carolina

Experience a leap back in time and place - to the Pacific Ocean during World War II - with just an hour's drive from Myrtle Beach at the now decommissioned Battleship U.S.S. North Carolina in downtown Wilmington, NC.

Moored in the Cape Fear River since its retirement in 1961, the Battleship North Carolina played a major role in turning the tide in the Pacific Theater of Operations during World War II. As the most decorated battleship in the war with 15 stars, the U.S.S. North Carolina was the first newly constructed ship in the Pacific and it participated in every major naval battle, using superior American firepower to overtake Japan in sea supremacy.

Earning the nickname "The Showboat" for its unprecedented size, speed and power, the 36,000-ton model BB-55 was a state-of-the-art aircraft carrier at the time of its commission in 1941. Featuring four giant steam turbine engines turning propellers at cruising speeds of 26 knots (30 mph), the ship was the first of many models of its kind.

Capable of transporting more than 2,000 enlisted personnel and 133 officers, the ship has been preserved just as it was when sailors called it their homes away from home. Visitors can experience the thrilling history of the ship and stand on the deck and imagine what life must have been like aboard the North Carolina under more volatile conditions.

Visitors can tour the entire ship from bow to stern, including the tight sleeping quarters of the crew and massive galley that served thousands of meals each day. Explore the captain's deck, where the enormous ship was  steered and radar screens warned of potential enemy activity, and check out the giant gun turrets on the deck.

The adjoining museum features photos and stories of the ship's experiences at sea, as well as letters from crew members who became heroes for their service. A gift shop offers various souvenirs, and a series of interactive screens tell stories that bring the North Carolina's rich history to life.

From Myrtle Beach, take Highway 17 North approximately 60 miles and look for signs before you cross the river into downtown Wilmington. The North Carolina is open daily for tours and tickets range from $6 to $12. For more information, call 910-251-5797 or visit http://www.battleshipnc.com

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