The rich history of the Outer Banks has been thoughtfully preserved so it can be shared for generations to come. Visit the spot where the Wright Brothers took their first flight, climb a lighthouse or explore the mystery of the Lost Colony on your next visit to learn more about local legacies.
The Whalehead Club is located on the grounds of the Currituck Heritage Park on the northern Outer Banks which was historically known as a paradise for waterman and shooting enthusiasts. The entrance to Currituck Heritage Park is on your left just before the Currituck Beach Lighthouse. The Whalehead Club sits at the water’s edge. The abundance of wildlife led Edward C. Knight Jr. and his wife Marie Louise LeBel Knight to the area in the late 1800s when Mr. Knight was a member of the shooting club Lighthouse Club of Currituck Sound. The legend goes that Mrs. Knight was also an avid hunter but because shooting clubs only permitted male members; her husband built her "The Whalehead Club” so that she could also enjoy the annual waterfowl hunt.
The Whalehead Club was built on what was called Corolla Island between 1922 and 1925 for $385,000 and boasted 21,000 square feet of Art Nouveau inspired design. Features included a gabled copper roof, cork floors, Tiffany fixtures, an elevator, 6,000 square foot basement, a moat and outstanding views of the Currituck Sound. Over the years the Whalehead Club has changed hands numerous times and operated as a U.S. Coast Guard training facility, as summer school for boys and as rocket fuel test location for the Atlantic Research Company.
In 1992, after many years of neglect, Currituck County purchased the Whalehead Club and the surrounding 39 soundfront acres and completed a $5 million restoration to return this landmark to its former glory. Today guests can enjoy walking in the steps of history by taking one of several tours offered 9am-5pm daily year-round. (Except holidays) For additional information contact (252) 453-9040. The grounds are also a popular and picturesque setting available for weddings and receptions.
The Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education is the newest facility located on the Sound in Currituck Heritage Park. This 22,000 square foot facility which houses classrooms, an auditorium, exhibits and a gift shop opened in 2006. The Center’s focus is to educate the public on conservation, waterfowl and hunting heritage, natural history, local heritage, ecology and fishing. The Center offers exhibits on waterfowl hunting, decoy-making and the wildlife present in this barrier island environment.
The Wildlife center also offers many programs for children and adults such as Nature Nuts, a program series for young children ages 3-7 years old; Eco-Explorers, a program series for 8-13 year olds; educator workshops such as WILD, Aquatic WILD and CATCH; wildflower and tree identification workshops, stream investigations and fishing programs.Not only can you learn about the region’s diverse wildlife, but you can also discover how hunting, fishing, decoy-making and boating, all traditional coastal pastimes, reflect the strong connection between the community and its environment. Best of all admission is FREE! For more information contact (252) 453-0221.