(Maggie Valley, NC)
For the second year in a row, the Wheels Through Time Museum is projecting record numbers of visitors to the 38,000 square foot Maggie Valley Motorcycle Mecca for the 2008 Summer season. The museum, which houses the premier collection of vintage and antique American motorcycles and automobiles, has chosen Northern Arizona as its new destination and looks forward to opening its doors in mid-2009.
Since the museum’s grand opening in July of 2002, over 320,000 people have flocked to the small Western North Carolina town of Maggie Valley in search of good old-fashioned motorized history. And this year looks to be no different, with record numbers of visitors are making their way to the Motorcycle Mecca. Since January 1, 2008, the museum has hosted groups and visitors from 25 countries and all 50 states.
Wheels Through Time attributes much of this summer’s early success to the announcement of the museum’s plans to relocate out of North Carolina by the beginning of 2009. After the formal announcement, visitor phone calls began coming in by the hundreds, asking when the museum was closing, and how long they have to visit before it’s too late.
Jim Quinn and Chuck Cole rode their motorcycles from Omaha, Nebraska with friends to visit the museum before it relocates. “We heard through the grapevine that it wasn’t going to be here much longer, so we figured we better make it one more time before it’s too late,” said Cole. Quinn and Cole are both lifetime members at the museum, and have made the trip to Maggie Valley eight times, bringing new friends each visit. “I’m really looking forward to my next visit….I’ll just have to drive a little further,” said Quinn. Their visit can be seen on the museum video website, located at www.WheelsThroughTime.com.
“Visitation so far this year has been fantastic,” says museum curator, Dale Walksler. This Memorial Day weekend we had one of our best weekends to date, and it only looks to be getting busier. We have already scheduled more visits and tours for this summer than all of last year.” says Walksler.
This Thursday, June 5, the museum will host a ride put on by the Tennessee State H.O.G. Rally in Townsend, TN. Over 1000 motorcyclists from all over the country chose to sign up for the ride and tour of Wheels Through Time. Event organizer, John Adams, stated, “We’re really going to miss this place once it relocates, which is exactly why more people than ever have turned out for this years ride and tour.”
The museum expects to host over 150,000 visitors this summer, which would more than double visitation from last year. “We’ve also made the decision to extend our closing date to November 15, as record numbers of visitors are already planning their second and third trips of the season,” says Walksler. “We’ve got new machines, new exhibits, and many new faces, and look forward to sharing our passion with everyone who comes to visit.”
Wheels Through Time, located at 62 Vintage Lane in Maggie Valley, NC will be open seven days a week from 10a.m. – 5p.m. through November 15, 2008. For information, directions, or other inquiries, call the museum at (828) 926-6266.