Roanoke Island Festival Park and Manteo

Roanoke Island Festival Park

On the outskirts of Manteo, just bordering the town's bustling downtown, lies the Roanoke Island Festival Park. Dedicated to the area's rich history, and with a wealth of activities to explore, visitors will find they can spend an entire day viewing exhibits and participating in interactive activates. Attractions pay homage to the colonial-era settlers, the indigenous Native Americans, maritime history, and the Civil War history of Roanoke Island.

One of the best known and most visible attractions is the Elizabeth II, a replica of the 16th Century ship that the first colonists used to get to the Americas. Visitors can climb on board and explore this remarkable replica from every angle, assisted by costumed 16th century sailors who serve as tour guides to the ship. Like many of the park's exhibits, the ship is an interactive attraction, and visitors can engage in setting the sails, plotting a course with an astrolabe, helping the captain raise the anchor, or even take part in more lowly activities like swabbing the decks.

The American Indian Town exhibit lets visitors explore the culture, history and daily life of the Algonquin Native Americans. The "town" is a full-fledged representation of the coastal Native American community the colonists first encountered when they arrived on Roanoke Island, and features life-sized homes, agricultural areas, work shelters, and a number of other attractions along the small sandy paths that wind through the area.

Nearby, lays the Settlement Site portion of the park. Like the American Indian Town, this area features a working colonial village circa the late 1500s when the settlers first arrived. The exhibit features historically accurate buildings and structures as well as in character representatives of the community's members, from soldiers and sailors to blacksmiths and children. Visitors of all ages can join in and try some traditional woodworking, watch the Blacksmith at work, try on armor, or play some Elizabethan games.

The centerpiece of Roanoke Island Festival Park is the interactive Roanoke Adventure Museum. Here, guests can enjoy the full spectrum of the area's 400 years of history on a self-guided tour, from the original Native Americans to the pirates who haunted this area during the Golden Age of Piracy. Like the majority of the park's exhibits, the museum features authentic guides in period costumes to offer help and explanations of the various points of the island's history throughout the centuries.

The Roanoke Island Festival Park also features a number of exhibits that change on a regular basis, and one such example, is the on-premise art gallery. As one of the park's centerpieces, the gallery features a rotating showcase of various local, statewide, and national artists in a number of mediums, including fiber, clay, wood, metal, paint, pencil, pastel, photography, stone, mixed media and more. Artists from the East Coast display their work either solo or in a group, and receptions are usually held every first Sunday of the month. Visitors can also purchase a number of the pieces.

Another one of the Park's attractions that is always changing is the year-round performance series, which is a chance for North Carolina's best young talent to shine. Featuring a seasonal mixture of drama, music, opera, dance, and children's shows, the series invited performing arts programs from all around the state to come and put on a show. Past productions include Gilbert & Sullivan works, "Steel Magnolias", "Little Shop of Horrors" and many evenings of jazz, folk, and musical reviews. All performances at Roanoke Island Festival Park are free and open to the public, and everyone is welcome to come and enjoy great family entertainment for all ages.

The Roanoke Island Festival Park also features a number of seasonal and holiday special events, and visitors are encourages to check out their website for hours of operation and special activities.

Downtown Manteo

Tucked away off the side streets of US 64, and bordering the waterfront, lies historic downtown Manteo. This charming area gives visitors a chance to explore a number of cafes and restaurant, art galleries and coffee shops, all while enjoying a scenic view of the beautiful sound waters.

With a small residential community of just over 1,000 people, the unique feel of Manteo is due in no small parts to the town's efforts to maintain its historic charm. Turn-of-the-century Victorian and Colonial homes have been transformed into eclectic shops, and a number of local and regional artists call Manteo home and display their wares in small street front locales. In fact, over a dozen studios and galleries call Manteo home. Because of its rich history, the area is also well known for its antiques, and there are a number of antique shops to visit in and around the area.

For visitors who want to curb their spending and would prefer to simply explore, there are a number of boardwalks that boarder the waterfront for sunset strolls, and a nearly 9 mile bike trail winds along the entire length of the island, along the waterfront and beyond.

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Terms: Roanoke Island: Festival Park and Manteo

Information on Roanoke Island: Festival Park and Manteo.

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