Unlike yesterday, today was set to be the hottest day of our week in the capital of North Carolina, so we decided to do our indoor activities for the day!
Since it is my life’s mission to visit every U.S. state capitol building, we drove to downtown Raleigh to start our day there.
NC State Capitol
At first glance, the capitol building of North Carolina is very similar to those of other states, with a domed roof and white marble exterior. But what I really enjoyed about NC’s capitol was that it was surrounded by about a dozen different statues and monuments, all depicting people from North Carolina who have done important things in local and US history.
The inside of the capitol is actually smaller than I imagined, but it’s there’s a lot of natural light and it’s a neat space. Right in the middle is an Italianized statue of George Washington, who sits under the blue domed ceiling. The statue is only a replica though, because the building burnt down in 1831, ironically, when they were working on making the building fireproof.
You can also look into the governor’s office, of which I’m actually very jealous, he has a lot of space! On the second floor, there’s the state house of representatives and the state senate. To get to the third floor, you have to walk up a steep staircase, but it is worth it because it has some really unique rooms for a state capitol, like a library and a geologist’s lab.
The library and geologist’s lab. Not sure why they’d put the geo lab in the capitol, but it’s a bold choice and I like it!
There’s even a fourth floor, but it was roped off, so if you’ve been up there, I urge you, please please please tell me what they’re hiding!!
NC History Museum
Since it was right across the street, we went to the NC History Museum. It’s free, which is a big plus. The museum starts with exhibits about the Native American tribes that used to live in the area, primarily the Cherokees. Next was my favorite exhibit, the pirate exhibit! Did you know that Blackbeard sailed his ship, Queen Ann’s Revenge, right off the coast of North Carolina? I’d always thought they’d just hang out in the middle of the ocean.
The museum also covered the civil rights movement in NC fairly extensively. What was especially admirable about this exhibit was that it was honest about North Carolina’s confederate past, and struggle to overcome Jim Crow laws instead of trying to brush over it or cover it up, as they often do in other history museums.
The museum is supposed to cover NC’s history in a chronological order, but we got turned around and had to go back in time from civil rights to the working life and economy of NC’s first settlers. In this area, there’s a really cool puppet show display of the different industries in North Carolina. There’s also a replica of the Wright brother’s flying machine (the first airplane), but it’s kind of in a weird spot, and I was surprised to find out that there wasn’t much information about the brother’s flying experiments.
Mad props to the North Carolina History Museum, I really enjoyed visiting! I think free museums are more fun in general, because I don’t feel pressured to read every single placard and exhibit in order to get my money’s worth.
Lake Johnson Pool
By mid-aftertoon, it was blisteringly hot, so we went to find a public pool to swim in. Lake Johnson pool is a standard public swimming pool, so there’s not much to say about it, but we did get a punch card that was good for 15 tickets for $48, not a bad deal
Historic Oakwood Neighborhood
Oakwood is a historic neighborhood near downtown Raleigh that’s known for boasting beautiful mansions of all colors. We drove down and cruised slowly down the streets, admiring each home. These houses were splashed in every color combination you could ever imagine: purple and saffron, orange and red, teal and white, Oakwood had it all. And not only were the colors of the houses all different, there were all sorts of styles! Some were the classic Victorian homes you’d expect in a big city, but others had that slanty-modern style. Some even had their own theme going on, like I saw one with the clapboards arranged to look like flames!
I really love the brightness and boldness of this teal house
Usually I like to explore places on foot as opposed to seeing them from a car, but at 102*F, I was grateful to be touring Historic Oakwood from the car window. Although, I’d love to come back and ride my bike through someday, I bet that’d be a perfect afternoon!
So that was our second day here in Raleigh! Next up is another day full of parks! You can read about it here! See you later skater.