The Appalachian Wildlife Center will be a one-of-a-kind, family-friendly destination in southeastern Kentucky offering unique and diverse opportunities to view and learn about the wildlife and wild landscapes of the region. The center will be developed on a 19 square- mile tract of forest and reclaimed mine lands. The area is home to the largest elk herd east of the Rocky Mountains, as well as black bears, whitetail deer, wild turkey, coyotes, and numerous small mammals. Located adjacent to a major North American flyway, during the year over 240 different species of birds can be seen on site.
Visitors will be able to view the wildlife and landscape from the comfort of their cars along a 15 mile Loop Road, horse drawn wagon rides that go "off road", or by foot on the wildlife viewing trails. In addition to the wildlife and wild landscape, visitors will be able to tour various research demonstration sites that will include honey bee hives, habitat use by elk, Bobwhite quail and imperiled songbirds and the establishment of vineyards, orchards, and American chestnuts, hops and the cultivation of hops and on reclaimed mine lands. They will also be able to use the Astronomy & Stargazing pavilion, the numerous picnic facilities, visit the butterfly and pollinator gardens or sit back and enjoy a movie in the Surround Sound® theater located in the Visitor Center
The purpose of The Center is to serve as a significant tourist attraction and be a world-class conservation education and research facility. The Center will capture and offer a full range of teaching and learning opportunities that will be unique and unavailable anywhere else. An accredited conservation education program will be implemented that features both remote learning and on-site classroom programs.
The Visitor Center will house the theater, a regional museum, a birders hall, a general display hall, taxidermy and natural history exhibits, class rooms, numerous interactive displays, a gift shop, an artisans market, a dining room and offices.
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