The River Legacy Environmental Science Center is a non-for profit organization that has a relationship with the City of Arlington Texas. Their mission is to preserve and enhance the parkland along the Trinity River encompassing 1,300 acres. As part of their mission they provide education, recreation areas and expertise to maintain their facility and the River Legacy Park system for the benefit of the community and environment.
ARLA Studios was approached by the science center and exhinit contractor to help re-design the River Legacy’s main exhibit hall. Our approach was to re-create parts of the Trinity River landscape, to demonstrate both terrestrial and aquatic habitats as well as improve the function of the exhibits for the children who visit on a daily basis.
Using cues from the native environment found within the backyard of the science center, we recreated the river environment within the building. We designed a terrestrial wall that demonstrates the components of the terrain adjacent to the river system, enhancing features such as soil strata, earth layers, gravel beds and felled trees commonly found in the area. Exhibits were placed with both the visitors and animals in mind. Low exhibits containing spiders and some amphibians were incorporated into the wall using a low light theme. These exhibits were located at a height easily accessible to small children without the need for stools or ladders. A tree exhibit punctuates the wall and is home to native snakes and other animals commonly found in the river ecosystem.
Along the aquatic wall, we designed a tank system that would demonstrate a pond environment followed by a stream environment with a stronger pump system to create a flowing water environment. Within this exhibit area we continued the theme of the terrestrial wall exhibit and embedded features and cues into the wall that would help educators at the science center demonstrate the ecology and animal habitat of the Trinity River system.