Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Opens April 15
Contact: Outer Banks Group, 252-473-2111
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse to Open on April 15
The first day of climbing the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse for the 2011 season is Friday, April 15, 2011. Climbing hours will be 9 a.m. -4:30 p.m. daily in the spring and fall; and 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. May 27 through Labor Day, Monday, September 5. The lighthouse will remain open through Columbus Day, Monday, October 10. Tickets are required.
Climbing tickets are $7 for adults and $3.50 for senior citizens (62 or older), children (12 and under, and at least 42" tall), and those holding a National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands Access Pass. Tickets are available on a first come/first served basis and can only be purchased in-person at the site the day of the climb. There are no advance ticket sales for climbing tours.
Ticket sales begin at 8:15 a.m. Climbing tours will begin at 9 a.m. and will run every 10 minutes with a limit of 30 visitors per tour. Ticket sales close at 4:30 p.m. in the spring and fall, and 5:30 p.m. May 27, 2011 through Labor Day. Ticket holders should arrive at the lighthouse gate five minutes prior to their ticketed tour time.
On Friday, April 15, 2011, the first day of climbing for the 2011 season, the National Park Service invites members of the local Outer Banks' communities to climb the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse at no charge. On this day only, free tickets will be available on a first come/first served basis and can only be obtained in-person at the site the day of the climb. This fee-free day applied to park visitors as well.
Built in 1870, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse protects one of the most hazardous sections of the Atlantic Coast. Offshore of Cape Hatteras, the Gulf Stream collides with the Virginia Drift, a branch of the Labrador Current from Canada. This current forces southbound ships into a dangerous twelve-mile long sandbar called Diamond Shoals. Hundreds and possibly thousands of shipwrecks in this area have given it the reputation as the "Graveyard of the Atlantic".
In 1999, after years of study and debate, the Cape Hatteras Light Station was moved to its present location. The lighthouse was moved 2,900 feet in 23 days and now lies 1,500 feet from the shore-- its original distance from the sea.
The National Park Service maintains the lighthouse and the keepers' quarters. The U.S. Coast Guard operates and maintains the automated light. For more information, go to www.nps.gov/caha .
Did You Know?
Lightning whelks eat about one large clam per month. The whelk pries the clam open with its muscular foot, wedges the clam open with its shell, then eats the soft inside of the clam. Lightning whelk shells, which whorl to the left, wash up on the beach at Cape Hatteras National Seashore.