Where can you go this fall that has enchanting foliage, adorable animal ambassadors, a plethora of outdoor activities, and the opportunity for people of all ages to learn about the world around them?
The Wild Center, nestled in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains, is an interactive natural history museum and science center, which works to ignite a future where people and nature can thrive together. At just under a 2.5 hour drive away from the Thousand Islands region, this makes for an easy day trip or overnight excursion. Whichever you choose, this journey will rekindle your appreciation for the world's natural wonders.
This fall, discover new ways to connect with the natural world as you get back outside, embrace the serenity of the season, and see the world through a new lens.
Wander through interactive exhibits that awaken your inner curiosity and give you hope for the future of our environment. Breathe in that crisp autumn air as you hike up into the treetops and re-ignite a sense of awe for the wilderness that surrounds you. From exhibits that put a spotlight on animals who call this planet their home, to the comforting views of colorful fall foliage, and a serene lake, every moment at The Wild Center is a reminder of our special connection with nature.
So, what exactly can you expect from a trip to The Wild Center?
There is so much to do on the grounds of this 115-acre campus.
Perhaps the most compelling reason to visit The Wild Center during fall is to indulge in the views that only Wild Walk can provide. Designed to transform the way we see the natural world, this attraction leads you up a trail of bridges and into the treetops of the Adirondacks. Its goal: to provide a new perspective of the rest of nature. The reward: unparalleled views of the surrounding forest.
Wild Walk was purposely crafted to provide an inclusive adventure for everyone, so it is accessible to people of all generations and abilities.
Insider tip: for the best fall foliage, visit The Wild Center in the middle of September or early October. Adirondack trees come alive with vibrant colors earlier than other places in the state as it’s located farther up north.
The Wild Center wants you to see nature through the eyes of a child. While exploring the grounds, you’ll come across Hopscotch: A Stickwork Creation, a whimsical immersive art piece made entirely out of sticks! Artist Patrick Dougherty, creator of this piece, tapped into a sense of nostalgia to create a larger-than-life sculpture that is inspired by childhood and the natural world of the Adirondacks.
Let your senses lead the way in Forest Music, where twenty-four speakers have been placed throughout a looped trail, wrapping guests in man-made music that blends with the natural sounds of the forest.
Of course, if you’re looking to embrace the quiet, there are plenty of opportunities to stroll along the self-guided trail, which reaches the Oxbow on the Raquette River.
The adventure only continues when you head inside the walls of The Wild Center.
One of the newest defining features of the museum is Climate Solutions, which empowers you to explore the ways that we all can proactively confront climate change in our everyday lives. This interactive exhibit found only at The Wild Center teaches about the people, technology, and social movements that are tackling climate change in New York’s Adirondack region and beyond.
The museum’s lovable mascot, Ollie the Otter, represents the commitment to wildlife conservation. In fact, The Wild Center is home to more than 900 live Adirondack animals. You have the chance to see otters, porcupines, ravens, snakes and fresh-water fish in the indoor Living River Trail or up-close during a live Animal Encounter.
While the museum's resident animal ambassadors add an extra layer of wonder and excitement to the overall experience, The Wild Center is always updating their activities so there’s something new to explore with each visit. Perhaps the coolest new attraction is an unexpected experience designed to replicate the exhilarating feeling of flight that only belongs to inhabitants of the animal world who bear wings. Get ready to soar to new heights and live out your dream of flying in ways you've never imagined.
Enter: Birdly. Hop into the world of virtual reality as you put on a pair of Oculus Rift 3D goggles, strap onto a platform, and flap your arms as if they’re wings. It may sound silly, but it truly is a thrilling adventure like no other.
Also new to The Wild Center in 2023 is Backyard Wilderness, playing inside the Flammer Theater.. This short film will surprise you by showcasing the unexpected wonders of nature that are right under our noses and in our own backyards. The film reminds us that Wi-Fi is not the only connection that matters, and that you can often uncover extraordinary things in seemingly ordinary places, if only you step outside.
For a well-rounded trip, spend an evening in surrounding Tupper Lake. Retreat to the comfort of cozy lodging and make friends with the locals. Savor farm-to-table meals and warm up by crackling fires while exchanging stories with fellow adventurers.
A road trip to The Wild Center is sure to be a welcome escape this fall. Get away for the weekend, re-connect with nature, and immerse yourself in autumn's embrace.
Buy your tickets online and get ready for your autumn adventure.
The Wild Center is open daily; 10am to 5pm. Beginning October 10, The Wild Center will be open Friday through Sunday only.
By Mary Eggert
Mary Eggert is the Travel Trade Coordinator at Break the Ice Media, a tourism marketing and public relations agency. She is based in Buffalo, NY and has been with the company since graduating from Niagara University in 2022.
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