Welcome to Roanoke Island Festival Park, a 25-acre island across from the Manteo waterfront, where history comes alive and art and nature surround you. There is fun for everyone, rain or shine, year round. Through a 16th-century ship, living history, an interactive museum and a variety of performing and visual arts, Roanoke Island Festival Park is a celebration of Roanoke Island's place in history as the birthplace of English-speaking America.
In 1584, 23 years before the Jamestown settlement, the dream of an English-speaking nation began on the shores of Roanoke Island. Then in 1585, this small island was home to the first temporary English settlements in the New World, sponsored by Sir Walter Raleigh. Roanoke Island Festival Park celebrates this period of Roanoke Island History through history-made-fun and a passion for the arts.
On Elizabeth II, a representative 16th-century sailing ship, you'll meet sailors like those who sailed across the Atlantic in 1585. Dressed in period garments and speaking Elizabethan dialect, these interpreters bring the history of the voyages to life.
In the Settlement Site, you'll encounter soldiers bravely facing the challenges of the New World. By viewing the film The Legend of Two Path, you'll find out how the 1584 arrival of the English changed the life of the native Roanoke Island population, the Algonquians.
In the Roanoke Adventure Museum, interactive exhibits explore the 400 years of Outer Banks history since America's beginning. You can site a star with an astrolabe, meet Algonquians through John White's illustarations and Debry's engravings, climb aboard a spritsail skiff and hoist her sails, meet a pirate who sailed with Blackbeard, learn about lighthouses and lifesaving, experience duck hunting and a take shopping trip to a 1930's general store.
The spacious Art Gallery features monthly changing exhibits by artists from far and near. The Museum Store offers distinctive gifts, books, jewelry, toys, nautical gifts and more with the flavor of the Outer Banks.
A variety of performances take place year round at Roanoke Island Festival Park. Check the Calendar of Events for what's on now and what's coming soon. Don't forget to visit the Outer Banks History Center offering a reading room and research library.
Boardwalks, through natural marshes, surround much of Roanoke Island Festival Park and new worlds of nature await discovery. Here, life takes on a whole new perspective as you get up-close to nature and visually observe its hidden pristine beauty and quite surrounding. You will discover dew-covered wildflowers illuminated by the sweet light of early morning and stunning sunrise hues across Roanoke Sound. Take a break along the way and observe first-hand our award-winning shoreline, Aquatic Habitat Restoration and Protection Project, which includes 5 acres of maritime forest and shallow estuarine habitat. Examine the surrounding rock sill, providing protection for the habitat and public facilities from future erosion. The area embodies the heritage of Roanoke Island, a walk back to a simpler way of life, in its ecological blend inhabited by turtles, otters, egrets, rabbits, osprey and red-winged black birds.
In addition, are picnic tables, a fossil pit and expansive lawns and flowers.
Don't miss the NC Maritime Museum on Roanoke Island, just a block away, that features a working boathouse and the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse. The screw-pile light is a reproduction on one that stood near the site. View the permanent display on the history of the structure.
For more information, call (252) 475-1500 or email
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