Tupper Lake, NY – The Wild Center opened for its 2023 season on May 5. Off the heels of a USA Today Readers’ Award where it was voted Second Best Science Museum in the U.S., The Wild Center has expanded its offerings and activities with new exhibits and experiences. Among these are Backyard Wilderness – a film that captures the beauty and complexity of the natural world that exists just beyond your doorstep and Birdly – a state-of-the-art virtual reality (VR) flying simulator.
Produced by the award-winning SK Films, Backyard Wilderness offers a stunning cinematic experience that transports viewers into the hidden world of nature in their own backyard. Through breathtaking visuals and engaging storytelling, the film reveals the extraordinary life cycles and relationships of the plants and animals that surround us every day. The film will be shown daily in The Wild Center’s Flammer Theater, a state-of-the-art cinema with 50-foot screen and advanced sound system, and included with general admission. On-site programming will complement the movie’s content, inspiring visitors to engage and appreciate the natural world in their own backyard.
“Backyard Wilderness is a fantastic film that offers a new perspective on the nature that surrounds us,” said Stephanie Ratcliffe, Executive Director of The Wild Center. “Through its immersive storytelling and incredible imagery, it reminds us that the natural world is full of wonder and beauty, and that we can all play a part in protecting it.”
Another way The Wild Center is helping to connect visitors with nature is by partnering with Birdly, a state-of-the-art virtual reality (VR) flying simulator that offers visitors a unique and thrilling experience of soaring through the sky like a bird. Birdly is a highly immersive VR experience that allows visitors to fly over mountains, lakes, and forests while controlling the direction and speed of their flight with their body movements. The simulator recreates the sensation of flying with its cutting-edge technology, including a motion platform, wind effects and a 4K display, which offers a stunning view of the natural landscape.
“We’re excited to offer our visitors the opportunity to experience the exhilarating sensation of flying like a bird over the Adirondack Mountains,” said Ratcliffe. “Birdly is a fantastic addition to our exhibits, as it not only offers a thrilling experience but also allows visitors to learn about the science and mechanics of bird flight.” The one-of-a-kind experience will be available for $6 per person.
Special events and programming will be held throughout the summer to both educate and entertain visitors. On July 1, The Wild Center will hold the Get Outside Festival, inviting individuals to reconnect with the unexpected wonders of nature right outside their door. Attendees are encouraged to spend their day in nature while they climb, build, and play in the fresh air and natural landscapes of the Adirondacks. The day will feature family activities ranging from fly fishing and nature scavenger hunts to stick fort building, insect races or just laying back and watching the clouds as they pass.
On August 5, Plug in Electric Fest will feature a range of fun and educational activities that showcase the latest technologies and innovations in clean energy. Visitors can explore interactive exhibits, participate in hands-on workshops and demonstrations, and learn from experts in the field. With live music, local food vendors, and a lively atmosphere, Plug In is a great way for people of all ages to learn about the benefits of renewable energy and have a wild time doing it.
The Wild Center is now open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. From Memorial Day to Indigenous People’s Day, the Center will be open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Admission can be purchased on The Wild Center’s website at www.wildcenter.org/visit and provides access to the award-winning Wild Walk, immersive Forest Music experience and hiking trails. Daily activities at the center include animal encounters, fish-feeding demonstrations and programs with The Wild Center’s North American River Otters. Naturalist-led exploration activities will take place on Wild Walk and across campus daily.
Later this summer, visitors will also have the opportunity to once again canoe the Raquette River with a NYS-licensed guide, exploring wetland habitats and the native wildlife. Canoe tickets are separate from museum admission and should be purchased in advance.
Visitors may access digital maps, audio tours and self-led scavenger hunts through The Wild Center mobile app.
For more information, visit The Wild Center’s Visit page: www.wildcenter.org/visit/.
About The Wild Center:
The Wild Center invites visitors to explore new ways that people and nature can thrive together. Located in Tupper Lake, NY, the Center uses science-based experiences, exhibits and programs to open new ways to look into the relationship that people have with nature. A 54,000-square-foot facility, The Wild Center features outdoor space, live animals, its popular Wild Walk – an elevated trail across the Adirondack treetops, and its newly opened “Climate Solutions” exhibition.
Photo at top: The Wild Center building. The Wild Center website photo.