This family-friendly exhibit starts with an open entry space and watershed play area. Here, children can explore a real watershed and investigate the salmon images in the walkway beneath their feet. Overhead is a tumble of logs that creates a shelter over the “streambed” walkway, while clear walls on either side give visitors an intimate view into the underwater life of salmon and otters.
These above-ground tanks enable visitors to see otters playing on one side, and on the other view salmon feeding, guarding a redd (nest), and perhaps even a salmon carcass from the other side of the tank – all demonstrating the important role salmon play in human, animal, and forest life on the North Coast. The entire exhibit is a living example of a healthy watershed, where visitors can learn how everything is interconnected – and how they can help protect this fragile environment.
At the far end of the exhibit in the McLean Foundation Raptor Aviary, visitors encounter a pair of Bald eagles sharing their home with a pair of ravens, as well as long-time residents Winky, the Northern spotted owl and Dorsie, the North American porcupine. This exhibit provides a permanent home for injured birds that can no longer fly, within a natural setting on the edge of the redwood forest. A magnificent redwood tree inside the aviary serves as a focal point where visitors can step inside their habitat for close-up views of these magnificent birds and to get a sense of what their life in the forest is like.