New Visitor Education Center at Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park Opening

Old Faithful - Yellowstone National ParkIn the Spring of 2007 the demolition of the 1960s visitor education center at Old Faithful was complete. This made way for the construction to begin on the new, state of the art, sustainable 26,000 square foot facility to take its place.

It has taken nearly two years to complete the construction of the new center. The building was designed specifically to blend architecturally with other existing buildings in the Old Faithful area. It has the same rustic style.

The building’s design has raised the bar for standards of accessibility and for presentation of complex, scientific information to the public. The designers of the new Visitor Education Center took sustainability and conservation in mind. The building will be one of the first education centers in the National Park Service to receive the highly acclaimed LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold Certification presented by the U.S. Green Building Council.

The opening day, August 25, will coincide with the 94th anniversary of the creation of the National Park Service and the public is invited to join in the dedication ceremony. The ceremony will start at 11:00 am.

Over half of the 27 million to build the building was raised by the non-profit Yellowstone Park Foundation. This organization is the official fund raising partner of Yellowstone National Park. Donations from individuals, corporations and foundations made contributions to the project ranging from two dollars to three million dollars.

The building is situated right in front of Old Faithful and there is a large window in the lobby that frames the geyser perfectly.

There are mechanical exhibits that display and explain the inner workings of a geyser. Another one displays a thermal pool. There are other exhibits including touch screen videos, an animal tracks wall and interactive displays.

The building has more than just a display floor. It includes a 219 seat theater, a small library, a gift shop and a ranger-staffed information desk.

The opening day ceremonies will include the park’s Mounted Color Guard, the Wyoming National Guard’s 67th Army Band and several guest speakers. The speakers will include the host, Superintendent Suzanne Lewis, and noted Yellowstone historian, Paul Schullery. Mr. Schullery will be giving the keynote address.

The doors will open after the ceremony and all visitors to the park will be able to enter and enjoy the new building.

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