The Wild Center: A Walk Among the Tree Tops
Sitting in the heart of the Adirondacks in the quaint village of Tupperlake sits an outdoor treetop adventure where young and old explorers alike can step out and take a walk on the wild side. The Wild Center is the perfect destination for family friendly hikes, animal encounters, and exploration! The Wild Center is located just 40 minutes outside of the Olympic famed village of Lake Placid.
The outdoor course takes visitors across bridges, inside an actual tree, inside a giant bird’s nest, and across a giant spider web to explore nature in the Adirondacks from a different angle.
How To Get There
If heading to the Wild Center from Lake Placid, take route 86 into Saranac Lake and to route 3. Route 3 will take you into Tupper Lake and a left onto Hosley Ave. at the first traffic light will take you to the Wild Center, which will be on the left.
If heading to the Wild Center from Old Forge you will want to take Route 28 to Route 30 in Blue Mountain Lake. Route 30 will take you into Tupper Lake and you will take a right onto Hosley Ave. The Wild Center entrance will be on the left.
45 Museum Drive
Tupper Lake, NY 12986
The Wild Center is generally open daily from 10am to 5pm. Hours may vary, however, so be sure to check before your visit. In the winter months the Wild Center is open Friday through Sunday 10am to 5pm.
Reservations are currently required for admission to the Wild Center
- Adults aged 18-64: $20
- Seniors (65+)/Military: $18
- Youth ages 5-17: $12
- Age 4 & Under: Free
Sections of the Wild Center
The Wild Walk
The Wild Walk is perhaps the most popular attraction at the Wild Center. The Wild Walk resembles a boardwalk, but with bridges, wooden pathways, staircases, and some special treats (read on to find out what!)
From the parking lot you will find a booth marking the entrance to the Wild Walk on one side and the entrance to the indoor exhibits on the other side. You can choose which you would like to do first (***indoor exhibits are currently closed due to COVID***).
The trail leading to the Wild Walk has many interactive areas the kids can explore before reaching the walk. The walk from the parking lot to the beginning of the Wild Walk takes about five minutes and is along a paved, flat path.
You will soon come upon the start of the Wild Walk. The Wild Walk is a wooden boardwalk that takes you up into the tops of the trees through gradual incline and stairways.
One section near the beginning of the Wild Walk takes you through an actual tree that has been carved out. Inside the tree you will find a staircase and some exhibits with interesting facts about wildlife and trees. You will come out at the top and head back over the bridge to continue on to the giant bird nest and spider web.
Walking across the many bridges like the ones pictured above were a great hit with my daughter. After all, what kid doesn’t like to bounce?
Continuing on you will some come upon the giant spider web and bird’s nest.
The Giant Spider Web is one of the major draws of the Wild Walk. Visitors can climb out onto the spider web and look below at the lively woods. (This is not for me and my daughter couldn’t get up the courage to do it-but for those of you who may be a bit more adventourous-this can be a lot of fun!).
The giant spider in the background makes for a great photo op!
Adjacent to the spider web is the giant bird’s nest. Climb into the nest for some great views of the surrounding woods and mountains in the distance.
Located in the section around the nest you can find markers noting the location of surrounding mountains and pipes that you can glance to to guide you to views of the mountains.
After enjoying this section, continue along the boardwalk heading back towards the entrance and many other great areas of the Wild Center!
Plan on reserving 30-45 minutes for exploring the Wild Walk.
The Nature Trails
Another feature of the Wild Center is the nature trails located throughout the center. Along the paved path that leads to the Wild Walk you will come upon a fork that will direct you to the nature trails and down towards Raquette River. While you walk along the trails you will be treated to a variety of “forest music,” a combination of music and natural sounds such as birds chirping and buzzing insects.
Otter Falls Exhibit
An indoor/outdoor exhibit, you can watch as Otters play, swim, and if you time it right eat in their habitat.
The Pines Wild Play Area
The Wild Center also has an outdoor play area for the kids to enjoy. The Pines Wild Play Area is a natural playground area made of tree trunks, brances, and logs that bring out the creativity in the kiddos!
My daughter had tons of fun creating this Princess Castle, made entirely out of log and pine cones. The play area is the perfect spot for the kiddos to use their imaganation!
Guided canoe tours are available daily at 1pm on Raquette River’s Oxbow. Along the tour you can expect to see marshes and plenty of wildlife while enjoy the tree lined shores. In the fall months you will be even more delighted with stunning blends of colors.
The dock is reached along the nature trails and is about a half mile walk from the parking lot. The canoe experience is suited for ages 5+.
***The indoor exhibits are currently closed due to COVID***
The Wild Center has two main exhibitions indoors and behind the scenes tours.
Ways of Knowing
Ways of Knowing includes four exhibits that focus on the indigenous people of the area through art and storytelling.
Hall of the Adirondacks
This section contains live animal exhibits, including a variety of fish species, turtles, and plant species.
The Naturalists Cabinet
The Naturalists Cabinet is a section of the indoor Wild Center that allows visitors to explore different natural exhibits.
The Flammer Theater features films throughout the day. A Matter of Degrees explores the history of the Adirondacks and The Wild Adirondacks features high quality images of locations within the Adirondacks that are not commonly visited.
Animal Encounters are offered throughout the day in the Big Wolf Great Hall (normally) and on the outdoor patio currently due to COVID. Animal encounters may include snakes, turtles, blue jays, owls and porcupines.
Planet Adirondack is an interactive display that brings to life the planet from a bird’s eye view. Visitors can watch as airplanes take off, watch storms, and explore other planets in the solar system.
Behind the Scenes Tours
Behind the Scenes tours are available of the Wild Center, which will walk you through several areas of the center’s operation. This includes the center’s green energy system, the wild life ambassadors, and the systems that maintain the habitats of the otters and trout. The tour is one hour long and involves a half mile walk. Reservations are needed and can be made here. (***These may not be available currently due to the pandemic***).
Looking for more to do near the Wild Center? Check out some of the other great attractions in the Adirondacks:
- High Falls Gorge
- Whiteface Mountain
- Natural Stone Bridge & Caves
- Head Out for a Hike
- Visit Lake George, NY
- Explore Old Forge