ELY— Since it first opened in 1993, the “Wolves and Humans” display has been an educational mainstay for the International Wolf Center. Yet visitors to the center will soon find a new and …
ELY— Since it first opened in 1993, the “Wolves and Humans” display has been an educational mainstay for the International Wolf Center. Yet visitors to the center will soon find a new and highly-interactive exhibit in its place, one that will highlight the role that wolves play in nature.
“The innovative exhibit will use interactive technology and powerful stories to teach kids and adults about the roles that wolves play in ecosystems, and how they are managed to co-exist with humans,” said Rob Schultz, executive director. “Board members, wolf biologists, volunteers and staff have been planning with the design team for nearly a year.”
To prepare for the new gallery, center staff are documenting the current exhibit, which is now closed to the public, before they begin to dismantle it.
The rest of the Wolf Center will remain open to visitors on weekends for its usual winter hours. Visitors will still be able to watch the center’s ambassador wolves, listen to numerous programs in the auditorium, and watch wolf-related movies in the theater.
Since the original exhibit was built in the early 1980s by the Science Museum of Minnesota, the world has learned much more about wolves. Scientific research is evolving, the climate is changing, research is expanding, and biologists now have a deeper understanding of wolves and wolf behavior than when the original display was created.
“The new exhibit will give visitors, especially families, an opportunity to experience wolves in fun, creative ways,” Schultz said. “A howling room will simulate what it’s like to hear wolves at night in the wilderness, an airplane cockpit will recreate the unique birds-eye view that just a few biologists experience while tracking and observing wolves from the air, and a science lab will help children of all ages explore the biology of wolves.”
The new exhibit is made possible through a $1 million grant from the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources. “The International Wolf Center Board has been deeply appreciative of support for the project by Rep. Rob Ecklund, Sen. Tom Bakk, Ely Mayor Chuck Novak, and the Ely City Council,” Schultz said.
Installation of the new exhibit will begin in early April, and the staff anticipates it will be open to the public by May 1, in time for the busy summer tourist season in Ely.
The center’s winter hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays.
For more information, visit wolf.org.