A new permanent exhibit at the EcoTarium takes visitors literally to the edge - and back. Famous for having some of the world's worst weather, Mount Washington is the basis of The Arctic Next Door: Mount Washington, an interactive exploration of the unique weather, ecology, and geology of New
England's highest peak.
Appropriately located on the museum's newly-renovated Upper Level and designed for all ages, The Arctic Next Door, gives visitors a thrilling mountain-top experience when they walk onto a glass-floored ledge and survey the museum's indoor and outdoor landscape through mounted viewing scopes. Then, stepping into a hurricane simulator, they feel the incredible blast of up to 78-mile per hour winds, while nearby they can test their climbing skills on a horizontal bouldering wall.
Additional interactive activities include tracking local weather, learning how the mountain was created, experimenting with wind, fog, and other meteorological phenomenon, exploring the mountain's diverse life-zone ecology -- and even taking a virtual trip up the mountain's famous auto road.
The Arctic Next Door is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 12 to 5 p.m. General admission is $12 for adults and $8 for children (2-18). For more information, visit www.ecotarium.org, or call 508-929-2700.
Three-day opening celebration takes place November 11 - 13
The EcoTarium will celebrate the opening of The Arctic Next Door: Mount Washington with three days of related events, which are free with admission.
Friday, November 11
Save Vanishing Species Stamp Unveiling, 11 a.m.
Join Worcester's Joseph D. Early Post Office at the EcoTarium for the official unveiling of a new charity postage stamp that helps to support the protection of endangered species. Worcester Postmaster Daniel P. O'Neill will share the story behind the new stamp, followed by a brief talk about endangered
wildlife in New England. Then meet two local endangered species in a live animal presentation.
Super-Cold Science, 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.
What happens when it's arctic cold? Amazing things happen when matter changes temperature. In this program, visitors will experience the remarkable changes of size, shape, and behavior that occur when a variety of objects and substances are super-cooled.
Bouldering Wall Challenge, 1 to 4 p.m.
Central Rock Climbing Gym will give demonstrations and teach basic techniques for climbing on the exhibit's horizontal bouldering wall.
Saturday, November 12 and Sunday, November 13, 12 to 4 p.m.
The Mount Washington Survival Challenge
Every year, hundreds of hikers get caught by surprise on Mount Washington when the weather changes and they are unprepared. What would you do if that happened to you? Throughout the weekend, wilderness survival experts will show how to prepare for a hiking expedition on New England's highest peak (and home of some of the world's worst weather!). You'll learn how to survive the elements if you are caught on the mountain without shelter or gear. Come take cover in a primitive leaf debris hut, and learn how to make a marsh reed arrow and use a bow drill fire set. Then embark on your own adventure by taking the Survival Challenge. Prepare yourself for the great outdoors! Program held rain or shine.
Activities also include a backpacking campsite display by New England Backpacker; presentations by Al Sculthorpe, founder of Mountain Medicine Education, a non-profit organization that uses Mount Washington to train for off-road medicine rescue; a new EcoTarium Science Investigation (ESI) program about the science of mountains; preschool story time; and free hot chocolate -- to warm up after your outdoor Survival Challenge.
Bouldering Wall Challenge, 1 to 4 p.m.
Central Rock Climbing Gym will give demonstrations and teach basic techniques for climbing on the
exhibit's horizontal bouldering wall.
Exhibit is part of Third Century Plan
The Arctic Next Door: Mount Washington is a featured element of Phase One of The Third Century Plan, a multi-year initiative that supports the EcoTarium's mission to inspire a passion for science and nature as the museum approaches its 200th anniversary. The plan includes investments and upgrades all with the purpose of enhancing lifelong learning and the experience of discovery and exploration in the physical and natural sciences.
About the EcoTarium
The EcoTarium is a unique indoor-outdoor nature and science museum. Set in an urban oasis, the EcoTarium offers visitors a chance to take a thrilling multimedia journey through the galaxy at Massachusetts' first digital planetarium, meet wildlife, stroll nature trails, walk through the treetops (seasonal), ride a narrow-gauge railroad, and get hands-on with three floors of family-friendly exhibits. The museum, located at 222 Harrington Way in Worcester, Mass., is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sundays 12 to 5 p.m. Admission is $12 for adults and $8 for seniors, college
students and children ages 3-18. Parking is free. For information, visit www.ecotarium.org, call 508-929-2700 or e-mail .
Julieane K. Frost
Manager of Communications and Marketing