Yellowstone visitors in late summer will want to check out the new Canyon Visitor Education Center's grand opening on August 25. The new exhibits will focus on the park's volcano and geology stories, said Linda Young, deputy chief of interpretation.
On the first floor will be a 20-foot wide, three-dimensional topographic map of Yellowstone. High-tech lighting systems of fiber-optics and LEDs will be programmed to illustrate supervolcano eruptions, glacier movements and lava flows that helped create the Yellowstone Plateau of today, she said.
According to Young, the giant map can be observed from both the first floor and a second floor gallery. "We'll also have what looks like a giant lava lamp to illustrate the movement of magma," she said, as well as a globe that shows the world's volcanic hot spots.
Other exhibits include the ash falls that came from past supervolcano eruptions, and the research underway by the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory, "with earthquake exhibits showing real-time measurements, as well as exhibits about the park's hydrothermal features," Young said.
Park staff are hard at work on a new education center planned for Old Faithful, with a grand opening set for the fall of 2008. That exhibit will focus on the park's hydrothermal features.