The Wild Center



 The Wild Center / Natural History Museum of the Adirondacks, located in Tupper Lake, New York, describes a wholly new kind of institution: a non collections based Museum of Natural History that tells its stories with living exhibits in media rich environments. The Wild Center serves as a base camp for its visitor’s explorations: its exhibits bring alive the marvelously rich and varied wild places that each will transit as they embark on their Adirondack Journey through the Museum and then, within the Park itself. Guests enter the Great Hall, a domed clearing in the forest. Illuminated by an oculus, the light of knowledge metaphorically pierces the darkness. Surrounded by large glacial erratic boulders and towering birch trees, the Great Hall gives upon Blue Pond, a wetland created on the site to join visitors to water, wood and stone… the Adirondacks.

" linger in this glorious place..."

   The Wall Street Journal


" paradis pour enviromentalistes..."

   Le Journal de Montreal


" stunning design... first rate talent..."

   The New York Times






"Don't miss the Wild Center..."

  USA Today


"Stunning state of the art museum..."

  Readers Digest


"The wonderful Wild Center..."

  Frommer's Guides



The naturalist’s lean-to sits at the edge of the clearing. Beyond, a glacier, animated…misty…cold…crashing …celebrates the creation of the Adirondacks and provides a jumping off point for visitors as they travel vectors of space and time as they walk The Living River Trail. The trailhead is at the Marsh exhibit, an extension, within the museum, of Blue Pond. From here, visitors travel the trail upward through the Raquette River watershed finally reaching the High Peaks. The journey through living exhibits and laboratories that allow intimate, close-up, hands on, and minds on, explorations of the ox-bows, bogs, lakes, streams and rivers, the woodlands and forests, meadows and peaks that form the various biomes they pass through.
The Trail surrounds Find Out Forest, a woodland filled with large format media based exhibits: interactive HDTV journeys out into the Adirondacks; the Systems of Nature described by the Flying Karamazov Brothers; “Adirondack Views”, interactive conversations with naturalists and scientists that describe the natural history of the Adirondacks and their future well being. “Close-Ups” allows visitors to zoom all about and way into a number of Adirondack vistas, expressing one of the underpinnings of the entire exhibit framework: learning to see. Throughout the design of the Wild Center every part was considered within the context of the choreography of the visitor’s experience. The exhibits were thought of first, the ideas surrounding their development informed and shaped the design of the building and the site. From this, a most cohesive expression of the Adirondacks came into form.
To the right... a quick, virtual tour of the Wild Center, three minutes or so long. In the real world visitor dwell times are in excess of three hours. The exhibits, at 14,000 square feet, represent less than one third of the Wild Center's spaces.


See the next phase: The Wild Walk