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“Very good programming; poor facilities and out-dated displays.”

Ocracoke Island Visitor Center
Ranked #6 of 30 things to do in Ocracoke
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Pick up information about the island, view exhibits and visit the bookshop. You can also arrange to use the Park Service docks, pick up maps of the bike paths, and attend free summer programs run by the Rangers.
Reviewed 13 September 2013

My children and I took advantage of several of the lectures, demonstrations and so forth that the National Park Service provides from this facility and elsewhere on the island. That part of the center is exceptional. We watched a turtle nest excavation, heard a very good presentation on turtles (my son really enjoyed having his picture taken with the huge loggerhead turtle shell on his back), got to feed the banker ponies after a brief talk about their history on the island, and really enjoyed the "night lights on the beach" presentation, although I might have the name of the last one wrong. We saw our first ever "ghost crabs" during this last presentation, and learned more about the lighthouses than we learned visiting the Ocracoke lighthouse. The thing my kids liked best, though, was the lesson on how to go crabbing. The park ranger was very good with kids, teaching them not only how to catch the crabs, but showing them how to hold one without getting pinched. They loved it so much, we went to the local bait and tackle shop and bought inexpensive equipment to go back on our own. (Incidentally, don't listen to the office staff about how many chicken necks you need to buy for the crabbing lesson; a pack of four necks is probably adequate for at least three kids for the lesson only.) We had the same young park ranger in each of our programs and he deserves a real attaboy! I think his name is Andrew--young fellow with a goatee, first year on Ocracoke. This portion of the Center deserves a "5."

Unfortunately, the men's bathroom at this site is horrible! It is an embarrassment to the federal government, in my opinion. On a visit early in the week in August (week of 18th), it was not only very nasty (urine everywhere, flies, etc.), but the fit and finish was in terrible shape. I don't know about the ladies room, but I expect it was the same. My daughter is only 8, so I can't rely too much on what she says (but she said it was nasty).

The visitor information part has outdated displays that look like they were created several decades ago.

Finally, the communication isn't great. There doesn't appear to be much coordination of event scheduling between Ocracoke, Hatteras and surrounding islands. How hard would it be to have staff trained to answer questions about events on each island, and online scheduling at each site for all of the sites along this seashore, rather than requiring folks to ferry across to Hatteras to register for a later event, for example?

Given these other things, I can only give this center a 3-star, rather than the 5 it would get for programming and presentations.

1  Thank MichaelMarion
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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104 - 108 of 150 reviews

Reviewed 12 September 2013

We didn't get a lot of helpful informations here. In fact the woman at the golf cart rental down the street was much more friendly and informative. However, Ocracoke was a lazy day blast even with the kiddos. So, fork over the cash for the golf cart..yes the six seater..pile in and cruise around. Soak up the island beauty, do nothing but pop in to crazy places like the Blackbeard Exhibit and the British Cemetery. When will you be back? Eat outside and a truck and shop at the boutiques. We had a great day doing nothing but seeing how the other half live. Mackinac ...check. Ocracoke...check.

PS : Free ferry!! Your tax dollars at work. Enjoy them!

Thank Festnoz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 September 2013

After watching all the yuppies in the northeast mecca to OBX each year,
..we tried Ocracoke this September.
It's a sea of people, golf carts and tourist traps. My gawd...what are they getting away from???
The beach is ok...
..incredibly windy and rough. It certainly wasn't safe the last few days...

The southern folks are friendly and helpful...and we stayed in an incredible house.....
However...if you really want to see a nice beach...for a few more bucks...there are sooo many private spots in the carib.....

Thank JoseModay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 September 2013

The rangers here seemed to be very knowledgable about the island and were friendly as well. We participated in a very informative talk about the island and it's history with pirates. Another evening we came back to enjoy a picnic dinner under the shade trees.

Thank dbgsmm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 August 2013

Our grandsons were excited to earn their Jr. Park Ranger badges. The rangers were very good with the boys and spent time reviewing their notebooks, talking about what they had seen on the island and educating them further about the National Seashore. A great activity for our 8 and 10 year old boys

Thank jnndavis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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