The Triangle: Raleigh, Durham & Chapel Hill
Raleigh – www.visitraleigh.com, 1-800-849-8499
Less than 30 miles on I-40 East from Durham is the capital of North Carolina, Raleigh. Often referred to as the "Smithsonian of the South," Raleigh is home to three state museums and is the center of the state government. Tour the North Carolina State Capitol and learn the story of the sculpture of George Washington wearing a Roman toga. Also ask to hear about the ghost stories and the legend of the secret rooms. Visit the North Carolina Executive Mansion. The mansion has been home to 26 governors since 1891. Head over to Mordecai Historic Park, home to some of North Carolina's most extraordinary treasures, including the Mordecai House and the birthplace of Andrew Johnson, the 17th president of the United States. Stop by the "North Carolina and the Civil War" exhibit at the North Carolina Museum of History to see an extensive collection of authentic artifacts. Tour the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, the Southeast's largest natural history museum. Here you will see the world's only Acrocanthosaurus and "Willo," the first dinosaur ever discovered with a heart. Tour the newly redesigned North Carolina Museum of Art and enjoy an art collection with an estimated worth over 1 billion including one of the largest collections of Jewish artifacts in the United States. Learn about the unique collection of contributions made by African-Americans toward the development of North Carolina and America at the African-American Cultural Complex. Innovations in science, business, politics, medicine, sports and the arts are included. Exhibits include “African-American Hall of Fame” and “Women of Note.” Be sure to see the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Gardens, the first public park in the United States solely devoted to Dr. King and the civil rights movement. It is bordered by the King Memorial Wall of 2,500 named bricks recognizing state and national supporters of the facility. A colorful variety of trees, shrubs and flowering plants encircle a life-sized bronze statue of King, and a 12-ton granite water monument honors the area’s notable pioneers in the civil rights movement.
Durham – www.durham-nc.com, 1-800-446-8604
Durham is home to Research Triangle Park, Duke University and North Carolina Central University and many "City of Medicine, USA" medical centers. Research Triangle Park is one of the largest research-related parks in the world and includes the headquarters of numerous international companies. For fine art enthusiasts, visit the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University. For history lovers, check out the Bennett Place State Historic Site, Duke Homestead State Historic Site and Tobacco Museum or Duke University Chapel. Learn about the Civil War history of Durham and how tobacco played a role in Durham’s history at the American Tobacco Campus. For nature lovers, visit Museum of Life & Science, including Magic Wings Butterfly House, Explore the Wild, Catch the Wind, Dino Trail or the Sarah P. Duke Gardens. For sports fans, be sure to visit Durham Bulls Athletic Park, overlooking historic Downtown Durham and designed by the architects of Camden Yards.
Chapel Hill – www.visitchapelhill.com, 1-888-968-2060
Less than 15 miles from Durham is Chapel Hill. The National Trust for Historic Preservation named Chapel Hill one of its 2011 Dozen Distinctive Destinations for its stately charm, dynamic cultural offerings and its citizens’ dedication to protecting and sharing its unique heritage. The Ackland Art Museums’ permanent collection of more than 15,000 objects includes the art of Asia, Africa, Europe and America, with works ranging from ancient times to the 21st century. Morehead Planetarium & Science Center's GlaxoSmithKline Fulldome Theater is the largest digital video planetarium on a college campus in the world. A Southern Season is a 60,000 square-foot landmark gourmet, featuring wines, teas, gift baskets, chocolates, North Carolina products, Italian dinnerware and much more. The Carolina Basketball Museum chronicles the history of University of North Carolina basketball and includes nearly 500 authentic artifacts, hundreds of photographs, and videos of various players, coaches, championships and historic moments. The interactive museum is the first basketball-only museum for a university in the country. The Charles Kuralt Learning Center is located in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's School of Journalism. Much of Kuralt's TV works, including the famous CBS "On the Road" episodes have been digitized so visitors can watch the programs using touch-screen technology.