Described by Southern Living magazine as "America's Loire Valley", Wilmington is the gateway to the beautiful Brandywine Valley and all its treasures. It's known for grand du Pont mansions, breathtaking gardens and comprehensive art collections. The area's unique "moving museums" have remained less noticed, but are definitely worthy of attention.
In 1638, 25 passengers arrived in the New World aboard the Kalmar Nyckel. They established the Colony of New Sweden, the first permanent European settlement in the Delaware Valley, in what is modern day Wilmington. The original Kalmar Nyckel made four documented transatlantic voyages before being lost at sea. Now visitors can board a full-size, seaworthy re-creation of the original Tall Ship which serves as Delaware's sea-going ambassador. Every year, thousands of school children come to the shipyard to experience the navigational challenges of this historic journey and the commercial, religious and political realities which compelled people to leave their homes with the hope of starting new lives in foreign lands. The Kalmar Nyckel is also available for various excursions and day sails when it is in port.
Wilmington & Western Railroad
Experience the Golden Age of Railroading as you chug through the scenic Red Clay Valley aboard the Wilmington & Western Railroad. Originally chartered in 1867 to moved goods between the mills along Red Clay Creek, WWRR has functioned as Delaware's only operating railroad museum for almost 50 years. Today, coal-powered steam locomotives in excess of 100 years and early-generation diesel-electric locomotives pull passenger cars through the rolling countryside. The railroad is operational year-round and offers a variety of special events including Murder Mystery Rides, Dinner Trains and the beloved Santa Claus Express.
Marshall Steam Museum at Auburn Heights
Auburn Heights, home of the world's largest collection of operating steam cars and 1/8-size steam railway, is now part of the Delaware Park System. The two hundred-acre estate and its grand Victorian mansion, which was built in 1897 and housed three generations of the Marshall family, are now open to the public. The Marshall Steam Museum, which is still operated privately, celebrates the dawn of the automotive age. View fourteen operating Stanley steam cars, one Mobile, a Rauch & Lang electric car and two classic Packards or board the Auburn Valley Railroad and take a 5/8-mile trip through the estate courtesy of a 1/8-size coal-burning steam locomotive. Steamin' Days are traditionally held on the first Sunday of the month from June thru November and on the Saturday after Thanksgiving from 12:30PM-4:30PM.
Air Mobility Command Museum
Located on the grounds of the Dover Air Force Base in Dover, the focus at the Air Mobility Command Museum is aircraft and aviation history. More than two dozen significant aircraft, including airlifters, refuelers, jets, helicopters and gliders, are on exhibit in the airpark and WW II hanger. The museum is open Tuesday thru Sunday and admission is free.
American Helicopter Museum & Education Center
Located in Pennsylvania about 30 minutes north of Downtown Wilmington is the American Helicopter Museum & Education Center. It's the country's only museum dedicated exclusively to the science and technology of rotary wing aviation. Over 40 civilian and military helicopters, autogiros and convertiplanes are on display.
For more information go to www.VisitWilmingtonDE.com or call our Visitors Center at (800) 489-6664.
The Greater Wilmington Convention & Visitors Bureau is a
non-profit organization founded in 1978, chartered by the Governor of
Delaware, the New Castle County Executive and the Mayor of Wilmington.
Its mission is to serve as the community's customer-focused destination
marketing organization, generating economic growth through leisure
travel and meetings development by aggressively marketing attractions,
facilities, amenities and services for visitors.