Did you know Franklin County is one of the first areas in the entire state to see changing colors on the leaves? Get a front row seat to the first foliage of the year at The Wild Center in Tupper Lake, where they offer prime access to the captivating colors of fall in the Adirondacks and much more.
Where & When to Experience Fall Foliage at Its Prime
“I know I’m biased, but there’s no better spot to see fall foliage than on the Wild Walk,” Wild Center Marketing Manager Nick Gunn told us.
When it comes to viewing foliage it’s hard to argue that point after a visit to the Wild Walk, one of the The Wild Center’s most popular attractions. This trail across the treetops brings you 30 feet high to see the forest up close and personal.
As they put it on their website, “Wander into places you may not have seen since you scraped your younger legs up a tree trunk.” Although this is a family-friendly thrill at any time, the vivid colors of autumn are what makes this Wild Center activity pop.
While the Southern Adirondack region tends to see peak foliage around the second week of October, The Wild Center starts seeing those reds, golds, and yellows the second week of September. Which means you don’t have to wait much longer for that fall fun!
Enjoy the Otters & Other Animals – Outdoors!
In the days of COVID The Wild Center has gotten super creative in order to provide an equally exhilarating experience for guests as they would have at any other time. This has primarily consisted of turning the museum “inside out;” all features are now outdoors. Here’s what has been reimagined for the creatures that call The Wild Center home:
Next to the Wild Walk, the otters are probably the most beloved feature at The Wild Center, and Otter Falls is indoors.
“So what we’ve done is we’ve built an Otter Play Yard outdoor viewing area where folks can get a chance to see where our five otters spend time when they’re not at Otter Falls,” Gunn said. “That’s been pretty popular. The otters are pretty active out there.”
Live Animal Encounters
The Wild Center typically offers Live Animal Encounters inside and this has simply been moved outdoors and takes place twice a day. But, there’s more.
They’ve also created a new viewing area that shows the “back of the house” – animals indoors – that guests have never been able to see before. This includes birds and some of the mammals that don’t typically take part in the Live Animal Encounters.
The Wild Center staff is always available to chat and answer questions as you check out the animals – they’re also knowledgeable on the science behind leaves changing color!
More to Explore With Canoe Trips, Forest Music & The Wild Play Area
Here are a few more fun things to enjoy at the Wild Center, each of which is undoubtedly enhanced by the captivating colors of fall:
Guided Canoe Trips
Guided canoe trips along the Raquette River happen daily through the fall from 1pm to 3pm. This two-hour add-on option requires a separate reservation, and the trips are led by experienced guides.
New Forest Music
Two dozen strategically placed speakers are scattered throughout the Wild Center’s trails that play woodsy sounds for a unique combination of man-made and natural sounds of the forest. And, there’s new music for this year!
The Wild Play Area
Let the little ones go wild in the Wild Play Area! Instead of sliding down a plastic slide kids climb on a tipped-up tree and beat on log drums. There’s an area close by for adults to rest while watching.
Know Before You Go & Make Those Reservations
Visitors to The Wild Center typically spend two to four hours at this Adirondack hotspot, although you’re welcome to stay as long as you’d like to explore the 115-acre property. (Pro tip: You’re allowed to bring your own lunch, or they have limited grab-and-go options on site, to make a day of it.)
If you’re wondering about any COVID-related regulations or updates not covered here there’s plenty of information on the Reopening FAQ page of their site.
Reservations must be made ahead of time – hurry before they fill up for fall so you can be among the first in the region to catch the foliage!