This article is sponsored by The Wild Center
During summer, the Adirondacks are a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, attracting countless visitors. And when winter drapes the region in its white mantle, the Adirondacks reveal a different kind of beauty, offering other unique and captivating attractions.
These include the Wild Lights experience presented at the Wild Center, in the small town of Tupper Lake, about a two-hour drive from Montreal.
The Wild Lights
Renowned for its commitment to environmental preservation and education, the Wild Center transforms into an intimate, magical winter wonderland.
With the early arrival of night in this cold season, the Wild Lights light show, which runs until February 24, 2024, transforms dormant nature into an enchanting universe of color and light.
Since its first edition in 2020, this experience has evolved, offering an even more spellbinding light show every year.
The event takes place in two main areas: the Forest Music and the Wild Walk, next to which is the Hopscotch art installation.
The Forest Music trail stretches for half a kilometer and can be covered in 15 to 20 minutes.
This looping trail, with over 130 trees wrapped in coloured lights, illuminates the forest to the rhythm of music composed by Whatever Penny.
Wild Walk and the Hopscotch installation are in the same area and are relatively short walks.
The Wild Walk elevated trail takes on a whole new look after dark, when it glows with a thousand lights.
Brightly coloured hexagonal light tunnels guide visitors along the various paths, and are also great photo opportunities.
Another highlight is Patrick Dougherty’s Hopscotch art installation, which lights up spectacularly after dark.
Once the tour is over, warm up inside with a hot chocolate bar or enjoy a Wild Lights Light Lager, a special collaboration between neighboring microbrewery Raquette River Brewing and the Wild Center.
Other things to do at the Wild Center
To make the most of your visit to the Wild Center, it’s a good idea to arrive in the late afternoon so you can explore the site in natural light. There’s a lot to see and do once you’re there.
Between its interactive exhibits, nature trails and captivating installations, the center offers a rich and diverse experience.
In addition to the Wild Walk and the Musical Forest, you’ll find :
- The Pines Wild Play Area, a natural playground where children can climb a leaning tree,
- The Indoor Living River Trail, an indoor exhibit that takes you from the highest peaks of the Adirondacks to the bogs and marshes of the lowlands. You can also see otters, turtles and many other animals. The exhibition is very interesting, and even grown-ups will make discoveries.
- Birdly, a virtual reality experience that makes you feel like you’re flying.
About the Wild Center
Opened in 1999, the Wild Center at Tupper Lake redefines the traditional notion of a museum or nature park.
The Wild Center aims to uncover the history of the Adirondacks and explore new ways for humans and nature to coexist. It also holds the distinction of being New York’s first LEED-certified museum, underlining its commitment to the environment.
Website – 45 Museum Drive, Tupper Lake, NY 12986
Practical info – Organizing your visit
- Wild Lights runs until February 24, 2024, on Fridays and Saturdays from 5pm to 8pm.
- Tickets can be booked online, which is recommended to avoid waiting times.
- The site is vast, so bring comfortable shoes for exploring and warm clothing.
- Allow between 60 and 90 minutes to visit all the Wild Lights installations.
Where to eat near the Wild Center?
During our visit to the Wild Center, we had the opportunity to try two great places, Raquette River Brewing and Woodshed on Park.
Raquette River Brewing
Raquette River Brewing is a microbrewery offering some 15 house beers on tap, as well as a selection of ciders, wines and other beverages.
Food trucks parked in front of the microbrewery offer a variety of dishes all year round: wood-fired pizzas, nachos, sandwiches and even poutine.
In summer, two street food trucks add to the offer, serving tacos and other Mexican specialties, sandwiches, burgers and smoked meats.
Take a seat in the huge room, with its large fireplace, and enjoy your meal accompanied by one of their fine beers, such as the Maple Cream Porter.
Dogs are also welcome, adding to the welcoming atmosphere.
Website – 11 Balsam St, Tupper Lake, NY 12986
Woodshed on Park
Woodshed on Park offers a dining experience with a menu that celebrates the region and its French-Canadian roots. So don’t be surprised to find a shepherd’s pie on the menu.
In a chic, eclectic setting reminiscent of the houses of the past, the atmosphere is warm and the service particularly careful, ensuring a memorable experience.
Other menu items include a mix of comfort foods such as burgers, chicken casserole and fried chicken, as well as refined dishes like yellow beet salad with whipped ricotta, braised pork and daily specials.
Using local ingredients is a priority, and many items, such as bread and ice cream, are made on site.
The wine selection focuses on natural wines and original cocktails.
Website – 218 Park St, Tupper Lake, NY 12986
Where to stay?
The Wild Center, where Wild Lights takes place, is about a two hour and a half drive from Montreal, New York.
For those wishing to make the most of their visit or avoid the evening drive home, the region lends itself perfectly to a weekend getaway.
Just 30 minutes from the Wild Center, the charming town of Saranac Lake is an ideal destination to stretch your stay.
During our visit, we stayed at the Hotel Saranac, part of the Curio by Hilton collection, combining comfort and history. Opened in the 1920s and renovated in 2018, this hotel is also a member of Historic Hotels of America, offering a unique experience that combines modern luxury with historic charm.