This Outdoor, Treetop Museum Is Unlike Any Other
You’ve never seen a museum like this. The Wild Walk is the latest addition to the Wild Center, a museum which promotes the education of the natural history of the Adirondacks, in upstate New York. “We wanted to create a museum that was situated in the natural environment,” says Board of Trustees Member Rick Godin.
The attraction features a four-story treehouse, swinging bridges, and a human-size spiderweb, all suspended 45 feet high in the canopy. The center, which hosts nearly 140,000 visitors every year, celebrates its tenth anniversary this year.
Photo: “We consider ourselves a museum with a 6 million-acre collection,” says Godin in reference to their prime location in the middle of the Adirondacks.
The Wild Center is the first LEED-certified museum in New York, meaning they are resource efficient and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Facilities includes a movie theater, interactive animal displays, and guided hikes. “We’re hands-on everything,” says Godin.
Steel poles help suspend the Wild Walk in the canopy. Along the walk, visitors can spot flying squirrels and 72 species of wild birds in the treetops overlooking the Adirondacks.
Visitors can learn about the local watershed by paddling on the Raquette River. They can watch turtles lounging in the sun, bass swimming in the shallows, and if they’re lucky, an osprey grabbing a fish on the fly.
The climax of Wild Walk is a simulated eagle’s nest. At 10 feet in diameter, the nest is only slightly bigger than the largest eagle’s nest ever found.
Navigating through the treetops provides visitors a unique, closer view of life in the canopy.
Wild Walk is wheelchair accessible, although there are a few shaky suspension bridges to add a little excitement. “We call it safely dangerous,” says Godin.
The Wild Center hosts school groups from around the county. Teachers can choose from a variety of customizable programs including hikes, live animal programs, and canoe trips.
Wild Walk is a chance to scramble through the treetops, to balance off the ground, and to experience a slice of the life in the forest.
From its highest point, Wild Walk provides 40-mile views with no man made structures in sight.