Vision Statement:To be a premier center for tourists and families, providing an attractive and safe destination for great experiences, discovery and quality education.
Mission Statement: To inspire a sense of awe and stewardship for the natural world by supporting conservation, education, discovery and recreation.
Focus on the Future: Experiential Learning Environments
Planning is currently underway to change the focus of the landscaping within the Riverside Discovery Center (RDC), so that not just the animal collection and future museum/education complex will serve an educational purpose, but also the grounds themselves.
Interactive elements for children from toddler through adulthood are being planned to encourage people to interact with the environment, not just look at it.
Climbing rocks will be placed throughout the RDC grounds, rope ladders will transport people to the islands within the pond, paths will wind through short-grass prairie, montane, and wetland ecosystems.
Research has borne out the fact that a nature connection is essential for healthy well-balanced human development. Today’s youth lack a connection to nature.
This planned experiential learning environment will afford an inviting place for children to hark back to the days we all remember from our own childhood- climbing around in the trees, exploring around a pond, looking underneath a log and above all connecting and becoming one with nature.
The Riverside Discovery Center will expand its use of the grounds as an Outdoor Classroom:
…a place where students can interact with nature, enrich their learning experience, stimulate their imaginations and provide a “sense of wonder”, encourage physical activity, and reduce their time spent indoors in front of electronic devices.
Along with our Outdoor Classroom training for teachers, this demonstrates the creative use of the outdoors to enhance learning, improve students’ concentration, productivity and cognitive development, and encourages schools to utilize outdoor classrooms themselves.
We also provide training for schools on how to incorporate an outdoor classroom at their school.
To make our vision a reality we will:
- Provide a quality recreational experience for our visitors by creating and maintaining a clean, safe and enjoyable environment
- Build a children’s museum focused on hands-on discovery of the natural world and man’s place within that, which generates an interest in science for the young visitor
- House a natural history museum which exhibits ecosystems from around the world, complete with animal mounts providing a glimpse of wildlife in a moment in time and space
- Maintain a zoo which displays animals from around the world to provide our guests with a wider world view as well as animals from local ecosystems to gain a sense of place
- Develop appropriate programs and partnerships to provide quality conservation education and discovery opportunities to people of all ages, social, economic and ethnic backgrounds where the focus is “No Child Left Inside”
In everything we do we will endeavor to :
- Provide an understanding of nature through discovery
- Give guests a sense of the impact humans have on the environment and flora & fauna
- Build a safe restful place for the mind and body for communing with nature
- Apply and encourage conservation techniques
- Inspire a love of nature
- Provide interactive/hands-on exhibits which spark interest
- Provide a place where families can spend the entire day, have fun, and learn
- Educate about the diversity of life
- Build stronger connections to the community
- Collaborate with educational and tourism partners
- Provide inspiring guest experiences
- Become participants in saving the environment
- Assume the role of “ownership for change”
- Emphasize how everything in nature is interconnected (ecology)