New York State announced the grand opening of Wild Walk at The Wild Center in Tupper Lake, New York. The new exhibit which opened July 4, 2015 allows visitors to travel across the Adirondack treetops 40-feet above ground. Visitors can expect a quarter mile trip over bridges and platforms, up a four-story twig tree house, and onto a human-sized spider’s web suspended 24-feet above ground.
The Wild Center, established in 1999, is a natural history museum located on 81-acres of the Adirondack Park. The 54,000-square-foot Museum provides indoor and outdoor science-based programs, exhibits and experiences with 50 species of live animals native to the Adirondacks. Wild Walk opened after nearly eight years of planning and development, three test builds, and a $5.5 million fundraising campaign. The completion of this project was made possible by an Empire State Development (ESD) grant of up to $1 million awarded through Governor Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council initiative.
“The newest Adirondack trail, dubbed ‘Highline of the Forest,’ is just one more example of why New York’s tourism industry continues to thrive,” said ESD President, CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky. “With support from the Governor’s Regional Council initiative, The Wild Center has transformed 84 tons of steel into an organic, Adirondack adventure. At the same time, we are retaining jobs, attracting more visitors to the North Country and strengthening the regional economy.”
The grand opening marks the first day of The Wild Center’s 10th Anniversary Year, with Wild Walk opening on the same July 4th date the Museum opened in 2006. Wild Walk’s debut is the first of three events to celebrate the grand opening this summer. Two additional events will follow, including live raptor flights around the Museum’s campus on July 18, and Play Outside Day that will include a chance to learn survival skills and meet a live wolf on August 2. To learn more about The Wild Center and Wild Walk, visit www.wildcenter.org.
“The Wild Center has developed into what is now an anchor attraction for tourism in Upstate New York,” said Empire State Development, Executive Director of Tourism, Gavin Landry. “Bringing visitors from across the state, country and abroad, the Wild Center’s newest addition, Wild Walk, will help drive the economic success we continue to see in the region. It’s a great addition to the many activities and assets already available in the Adirondacks, from hiking, paddling and whitewater rafting; to enjoying the crystal clear waters of places like Lake George and Lake Placid; to exploring the Adirondack Museum, Fort Ticonderoga and Great Camp Sagamore.”
“We have this great hub for exploring nature in the middle of the woods,” said Stephanie Ratcliffe, The Wild Center’s executive director. “This has been our dream for years, to have a chance to knock down the walls and see what happens when the roof is the sky and the floor takes you up off the ground, and then fill the whole experience with stories that let us all see the natural world from new perspectives.”
This newest project exemplifies the North Country Regional Economic Development Council’s commitment to support existing business entities, tourism, and improving the quality of life in North Country communities. The Wild Center has received a Market NY grant through I LOVE NY/ New York State’s Division of Tourism to support the promotion of Wild Walk, the new tourism destination to attract visitors to the North Country region.