Explore the Wild: Major New Outdoor Wildlife and Wetlands Experience Embodies Adventurous World of Wildlife Biologists


Grand Opening Saturday, May 13

DURHAM, N.C., March 23 /PRNewswire/ — The Museum of Life and Science, Durham, N.C., home of Magic Wings Butterfly House and a leading science center in the Southeast, will debut Explore the Wild, a six-acre woodland habitat and wetland site featuring live animals and state-of-the art technology.

This interactive one-of-a-kind outdoor science park, called a “national model” by the National Science Foundation, meshes immersive qualities of zoo experiences with inquiry-based learning found in science centers to create a new model for outdoor science education.

“Applying our philosophy of inquiry-based learning to the great outdoors, this promises a deeper encounter with animals in a natural setting. It’s a learning method to inspire visitors to better comprehend both the subtle and dramatic character of our natural world,” said Barry Van Deman, Museum President.

Four major outdoor learning components:

Black Bear, Red Wolf and Lemur Investigative Overlooks

A six-acre reclaimed quarry is now home to native black bears, endangered red wolves and exotic lemurs. Observation areas and outdoor technology-zoom cameras, microscopes and computer kiosks-enable visitors to investigate like wildlife biologists.

Black Bear Yard

Home to five American black bears, the exhibit features a towering waterfall, deadfall trees for climbing and rock formations with unobstructed views of bears at play. Visitors can interact with the animals using zoom cameras. Multi-media kiosks explain their habitat, habits and nutritional needs and showcase bear biologists — their careers, tools and skills.

Red Wolf Habitat

The red wolf (Canis rufus) is one of the world’s most endangered animals, a shy species that once roamed the Southeastern U.S. as a top predator. The Museum of Life and Science is a member of a national network that houses red wolves as part of the Species Survival Plan.

The habitat will house three brothers and features a waterfall, running stream and wolf den with zoom cameras that bring their behaviors up-close.

Lemur Habitat

Nine lemurs, collared brown (Eulemur fulvus collaris), ring-tailed (Lemur catta) and red ruffed (Varecia variegate rubra) will roam an interactive playground of tall trees. During cold months, these mammals will be housed in a unique indoor enclosure featuring a large viewing window. Featuring a kiosk identifying their habitat and behaviors, visitors can also steer zoom cameras to view these highly active primitive primates up-close.

Wetlands Overlook and Lab

Pump live samples of water to identify microscopic life teeming in the wetland or experiment at a stream table to learn about runoff.

The Museum of Life and Science expansion is the culmination of a long- range plan that debuted with the award-winning Magic Wings Butterfly House in 1999. Remaining components are Explore the Wild (May 13, 2006) Catch the Wind (September 2, 2006) and newly designed Dinosaur Trail (2007, date TBA).

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