The groundbreaking occurred in May of 2008, with continuous construction since – not an easy thing since in winter the area is not only 30 below zero, but accessible only by snow machine. This 26,000 square foot building is more than a visitor center – it is an education center, complete with a 4,500 square foot exhibit hall and a resource room to facilitate research. From the lobby visitors can get a spectacular view of Old Faithful, while in the Young Scientist Room (which also doubles as a classroom), there is a working model geyser. The park’s hydrothermal features and the volcano that powers them are explored here, leaving visitors with a better understanding of how unique Yellowstone truly is. A diorama of a thermal area will allow visitors to discover the living creatures found in and near this extreme habitat. Four of every five visitors to Yellowstone visit Old Faithful, and now tens of millions of online visitors will have access to the center as well.
More than 15 million of the 27 million cost of design was from donations to the Yellowstone Park Foundation. Individuals provided 400 financial contributions, with several corporate gifts of $1 million or more. A grant from the National Science Foundation paid for educational exhibits. More than 99% (4,800 tons) of construction waste was recycled, landing the new center the Gold certificate in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) from the U.S. Green Building Council. And about 26 percent of the building materials are recycled. The shingles are recycled rubber made to look like wood, (a great idea considering the imminent fire danger) and fieldstones for the exterior walls and information desk came from the GibbonBridge project.
Is there a visit to Yellowstone in YOUR future? Now is a great time to begin planning that family RV trip for next summer to take advantage of lower rates and to get the best campsites available. Contact one of our trip consultants by phone, or chat with them on our website about planning your 2011 summer vacation.