Kinston has been formally a city since 1762. With over 350 years under its belt, Kinston has grown into quite an interesting place to live. Despite its longevity, the town has a rather small population of about 20,000. That's still plenty of diversity to bring in all kinds of ideas and activities to keep the townsfolk busy, even on a rainy day.
So, get your rain boots and umbrella, we're getting out of the house!
CSS Neuse Civil War Interpretive Center
What better way is there to spend a rainy day than indoors looking at thought-provoking history? Not only will you meet your daily steps, but you will be transported through time by way of exhibits. The most prominent of which, on the first floor, is what's left of the original CSS Neuse. Standing in front of a relic from the past. Is one of the best things about visiting this Center. Since you get to take a moment to imagine what the ship must have been like in its heyday.
Other exhibits include topics such as The Making of a Gunboat, Construction in White Hall, and Recovery of the Gunboat. Basically, you won't leave without having a new perspective on this Civil War vessel and everything going on in the country at the time.
The museum is open Tuesday - Saturday from 9 am through 5 pm. Admission for adults is $5.
Mother Earth Brewing
After a day of exploration at the interpretive center, it is time for a sit-down. Connect with the community by visiting a local brewery called Mother Earth Brewing. But before you get comfortable trying a new beer in the taproom, there is a facility tour option.
During the walk-through, you can get a better idea of the sustainable brewing and energy that goes into the process. Mother Earth opens up just as the museum is winding down, with hours open from 4 pm to 10 pm, Tuesday through Saturday. The parking is free.
Kinston Lenoir County Visitors Center
If you have about an hour free, you may want to check out the visitor center. Even if you've lived in a place your whole life, it may be something overlooked by day-to-day activities. The visitor center gives a deeper history of the town, including a treasure trove of artifacts and items left from a bygone era.
The staff here are local and can give you insight into the area if you're new. Also, they can provide you with maps, vending machines, and the cleanest of restrooms. The center closes at 5 pm every day and opens Monday through Friday at 9 am, Saturday at 10 am, and Sunday at 1 pm.
Ellis Planetarium, Health & Science Museum
It's always a good day to visit a planetarium, but on a rainy day, you can forget the cloudy skies and focus on space. Not only are there shows to get a closer look at the stars, there is also an interactive museum that would be a great treat for kids. As one visitor explained, "There are unique exhibits that allow kids to get hands-on with a number of specimens, play in different outfits, and learn about things like farming."
As an added bonus, all this knowledge is free! Both are open Tuesday through Saturday from 9:30 am to 5 pm and Sunday from 1 pm to 5 pm.
Has your family been in the area for generations? Perhaps you can use an overcast afternoon to head over to Lenoir Community College. For the past three decades, the Leigh and John McNairy Library inside the school has showcased genealogical records from local residents but also some from the greater east side of North Carolina.
You might even find info from Virginia. Beyond family ties, there is a wide assortment of records and area-related literature, as well as microfilm with census information.
The library is, of course, free and is open from 7:45 am through 6:30 pm, Monday through Friday.
Must Eats of Kinston
Alright, let's chow down! These are a few of our favorites around town with ample indoor seating to watch the rain from while filling your belly.
So, as you can tell, just because it's gloomy outside does not mean that all plans are canceled. It's an opportunity to forget about driving out to the beach. And instead, head inside for more mentally stimulating entertainment.