Explorium at Horicon Marsh set to open

Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center (WLUK photo/Eric Peterson)

Did you ever want to know what it is like to step inside a glacier? Or experience what it might have felt like during the last Ice Age?

A new exhibit at the Horicon Marsh is designed to do just that.

A few steps inside the Explorium can take you back 10,000 years.

"You get the feeling of it actually being cold, like you're walking into a glacier," said Liz Herzmann, Horicon Marsh Wildlife Educator.

Herzmann says the chill in the air is for effect.

"We even have smells of what a mammoth might smell like," said Herzmann.

So what does a mammoth smell like?

"It's not good," said Herzmann.

The new Explorium exhibit takes a look at the history of the marsh, from the Ice Age, to the wetlands of today.

"We lift these boards and it releases water, and that's how we can drain some of the impoundments at the marsh," said Herzmann as she demonstrated a water control structure.

Tools of the trade are on display. People are asked to look, and touch.

"One of our goals through the Explorium is to educate people about Horicon Marsh, but doing it in a way where they don't know they're learning," said Herzmann.

Park leaders say the experience is designed to go beyond the Explorium and the nature center. Visitors are encouraged to take what they learned inside, outside.

"We have about five miles of hiking trails that go through different portions of the marsh. Those trails go through a variety of different habitats, wetlands of course, but also your prairies, and your forested areas that are around the marsh as well.

"You feel like you're really part of what's going on in the world when you're out there and walking the trails, and experiencing the wildlife that's there," said Gloria Krueger, Mayville.

Krueger volunteers at the marsh. She welcomes the new exhibit.

"They will be excited about the marsh, and probably understand it a little bit better than they would have if they hadn't had that experiencing the Explorium," said Krueger.

The $3.7 million project is scheduled to open August 22nd.

Marsh officials hope attendance at the park will triple because of the new Explorium.

Click the "Image Gallery" link above to see photos of the Explorium.

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