Walking on the Wild Side Has Never Been So Much Fun or Inspiring
Imagine a place where you can be serenaded by the trees that surround you. Or a venue where you can walk above the treetops and see nature from an entirely new perspective. These unique and delightful experiences and many more await you in New York’s Adirondack Mountains when you visit the Wild Center.
The Wild Center is a 150 acre educational and recreational wonderland located on the banks of the Raquette River. It is comprised of a multitude of sweet surprises both outdoors and at the 54,000 square foot interactive museum. Here are three of the Wild Center’s many attractions in which my husband and I delighted during our visit.
As soon as you enter the museum, a treasure trove of interactive exhibits revealing the history, beauty and challenges of nature in the Adirondacks will sweep you away. The entire building is alive with sights of otters, birds, fish, and other captivating creatures. Sounds of running streams and birdsong will caress your ears. Opportunities abound to interact with the beating heart of the Adirondacks through scheduled animal encounters, demonstrations, and hands-on exhibits.
The Wild Center provides a window on the environmental concerns of the region, as well as Native American art and culture. The museum also offers a “Back of the House Tour”, that gives a fascinating behind the scenes peek at how this dynamic facility functions.
We could have easily spent an entire day in the museum, but other breathtaking surprises awaited us outside.
Inspired by the High Line in NYC, Wild Walk is an exhilarating experience that presents a bird’s eye view of the natural beauty of Wild Center. Following a gently upward sloping path that will soon have you walking above the tree tops, you can learn about bird watching and feeding, walk a board game where players are the pieces, stand in a giant replica of a spider web, climb to a massive eagles’ nest, and more.
The Snag is the largest of Wild Walk’s treehouses, standing four stories tall with an interior spiral staircase to the top. Plaques along the walk offer fascinating facts about the area’s wildlife. Like every feature of Wild Center, Wild Walk is an ideal family friendly venue where both children and adults can learn and play.
Another of Wild Center’s unique treasures is iForest, a quarter-mile forest path where the trees seem to sing to you. In reality the serenade flows from 24 tracks emanating from 24 speakers strategically positioned inside the tree-line on both sides of the path.
The musical tribute to nature in five parts plays on a continuous loop throughout the day. Titled “I Walk Towards Myself”, the piece was created specifically for this forest by British composer Pete Wyer. It consists of voices from The Crossing, a Philadelphia-based chamber choir. The lyrics are sung in the Mohawk language and the effect is as haunting as it is beautiful.
As we walked, different sets of voices seemed to be coming from different sides of the path, and I felt completely wrapped up in nature’s music.
Stories in the iForest is presented every hour on the hour. You can follow a short word piece played over the speakers along the iForest path.
The story we followed as we walked told of the love between the sun and an Adirondacks apple tree. Expertly narrated, this tale touched me in unexpected ways.
We visited the Wild Center in early September, before the area dressed in its vibrant Fall coat of brilliant colors. But, although the center’s winter hours begin after Columbus Day, there is something fun and exciting going on year-round: Halloween activities for the kids, the trees decorated in twinkling holiday lights, and winter fun in the snow. No matter what time of year you visit the Wild Center, you will find countless ways to explore, learn, and enjoy.
If You Go
The Wild Center is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Memorial Day through Columbus Day. Winter hours are Friday through Sunday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Wild Walk is open 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Tickets are all-inclusive; with the exception of the Back of the House Tour and some special activities. Admission is free for members as well as children under 5 years. Tickets for children 5 – 17 cost $10, adults 18 – 64 cost $17, and seniors 65 and over and members of the US Military is $15.
Tickets are good for two consecutive days and are all-inclusive; with the exception of the Back of the House Tour and boating activities.
All areas of the Wild Center are wheelchair accessible; with the exception of some areas of Wild Walk.
Disclosure: Our visit to the Adirondacks was generously hosted by the Wild Center. However, all opinions, as always, are entirely my own.
Penny Zibula is a freelance travel writer and blogger based in New Bern. Visit her blog at SixLegsWillTravel.
By Contributing Author, Penny Zibula, Six Legs Will Travel