September 25, 2017 – Tupper Lake, NY
Length: Approximately 3 miles
Trailhead parking: 45 Museum Drive – Tupper Lake, NY 12986
Admission fee: Youth: $13.00 – Adult: $20.00 – Senior: $18.00 – Tickets are good for two consecutive days.
The Wild Center is a natural history center in Tupper Lake, NY, near the center of New York state’s Adirondack Park. It officially opened on July 4, 2006 and is based out of an 81-acre site in Tupper Lake, NY. The 54,000-square-foot Natural History Museum of the Adirondacks, also known as “The Wild Center,” is a celebration of the wildlife and community of the Adirondacks, featuring live exhibits such as otters and trout. The museum is highly interactive, encouraging visitors to truly experience the animals, plants, and ecology of the Adirondack region. The mission of the museum is to “ignite an enduring passion for the Adirondacks where people and nature can thrive together and set an example for the world.”
The Wild Walk, opened in 2015 and is described as “A Trail Across the Treetops.” The Wild Walk experience includes a four-story snag tree house and swinging bridges, a spider’s web where people can hang out, and chances to just sit and observe the forest below. There’s a full-sized bald eagle’s nest at the highest point where visitors can perch and imagine.
This is another one of those places that you hear or read about and put on your list of places to visit. That list gets long if you don’t actually check off any of the places. I had the opportunity to check off a few on my recent road trip to the Adirondacks. Although it’s really geared towards kids, I found it enjoyable and quite educational as well. Knowing fully well that there would be lots of kids running amok, we chose a Monday morning to visit. We were the first ones at the door when they opened at 10:00 am. After purchasing our tickets, we made a beeline for The Wild Walk. I wanted to experience that section before it became too crowded. When we got to the start of the elevated trail, there were at least 30 rowdy First Graders blocking the way. As it turned out, they were only posing for pictures and were on their way out. Apparently school trips have access to the grounds prior to it opening to the public. We had the place to ourselves and this big kid had some fun exploring. I went straight for the eagle’s nest, which I thought was pretty cool.
This is the highest point on the trail, 42 feet in the air and I was there in a flash.
The view was decent, but I expected it to be better. The treetops need trimming.
The thousand feet of bridges and platforms are well designed and solidly built.
The spider web is like a trampoline. I tried it out and it was fun.
The swinging suspension bridges lead to other areas of the treetop trail.
Growing up, none of my treehouses looked like this.
Or like this, a four-story snag tree house.
We walked down the steps of the treehouse and exited through a lower opening.
We then walked across another suspension bridge and made our way back.
This place is pretty cool and definitely worth the visit. The best thing about it was that we had this giant play set and treehouse all to ourselves.
People started to come in and we decided it was time for us to leave. There are some regular type trails on the property so we decided to check them out. We took a walk towards the Raquette River.
We followed the wide trail downhill to a wooden viewing platform. It was very hot, in the mid to upper 80’s and the canopy of trees along the trail, kept us from roasting in the sun.
It was peaceful and quite scenic by the edge of the Raquette River.
We walked over to another of the viewing platforms, which are solidly built.
A different view of the Raquette River.
We made our way back up the hill and began heading towards the museum. On the way, we passed the Pines Wild Play Area. Kids can climb on a tipped up tree, play with piles of sticks, or beat on log drums in this perfectly natural clearing in the woods. Just like when I was a kid.
The carved bear is a nice touch.
We bypassed iForest, a trail that broadcasts music via twenty four hidden speakers in the surrounding woods. Instead, we continued heading towards the museum and came to a wooden foot bridge that crosses the pond at the rear of the museum.
We walked around the pond and entered the nicely air conditioned museum. The museum is quite interesting and I am glad that we took the time to check it out. I did not capture any images as there were people all over the place, but it’s full of useful information about wildlife and the ecology of the Adirondack region. The Wild Center is definitely a must do if you happen to visit the Tupper Lake area.
Wild Walk was designed specifically to give everyone a chance to experience it and it will be accessible to people of all generations and abilities. “A mother with a stroller, a family visiting with a great grandparent, a friend with a wheelchair–Wild Walk is designed for everyone to enjoy and experience,” the Wild Center said in a press release.
Pros: Pretty much everything.
Cons: Gets crowded.