The Wild Center is fast becoming a top draw in New York. The Boston Globe called it "the place to go" in the Adirondacks. The New York Times called it "stunning," and this summer the Museum adds a brand new film narrated by Oscar nominee Sigourney Weaver to its array of attractions. The movie, shown on the museum's one-of-a-kind Panoramas Theater takes visitors on a fascinating journey into the often cataclysmic history of the Adirondacks.
This is a new kind of museum, there are live animals for one, and staff that can help visitors see into the lives of all kinds of wildlife. The Museum has an outdoor campus with trails, its own river frontage and private pond, and its main museum exhibits housed in a 54,000-square-foot building mix up the indoors and outdoors with enviable results.
The Wild Center expertly helps its visitors see the surrounding Adirondacks. This is not a stuffy museum, and visitors praise it for letting them explore on their own terms. The museum was designed by the same firm responsible for the National Air & Space Museum in Washington, D.C and it shows. You enter the Wild Center through a soaring rotunda with floor-to-ceiling windows that offer unusual waist-high views of the pond that laps against the outside of the building. There's a lean-to in the Great Hall and a massive moving glacial ice wall that describes how last ice age carved the modern Adirondacks.
(Enterprise file photo — Jessica Collier)
Pass the glacier and you're on the Living River Trail - passing lakes, bogs, streams, rivers, waterfalls and forests to the summit of a High Peak. When they say "living river" they mean it. There are more than 2,000 live creatures in and around the Pataki Hall of the Adirondacks.
Nature infuses the Hall, including the sounds of cascading water from the plunge pool at the dramatic 20-foot-high Otter Falls. Here you can watch the Wild Center's resident otters show you exactly why they have a reputation for playful behavior.
There are plenty of interactives. You can feel how cold the earth was when the glaciers were two miles deep over the Adirondacks, or run your hands through a cloud.
The museum has a cafe, store and good trail system.
The Wild Center is located at 45 Museum Dr. in Tupper Lake. Visit online at www.wildcenter.org. Or call (518) 359-7800.