The Eifel National Park centre
The “Wildnis(t)räume” (“Wilderness Dreams”) exhibition
Leaves murmur gently in the wind, birds twitter and there is rustling on the soft forest floor. In the Eifel National Park centre at the Vogelsang IP “International Place”, visitors can experience nature with all their senses - indoors and outdoors. Surrounded by dense mixed deciduous forests, the modern visitors’ centre above the Urftsee lake has hosted the “Wildnis(t)räume” (“Wilderness Dreams”) exhibition - a barrier-free, interactive nature experience for people of all ages - since September 2016.
In the middle of the Eifel National Park, where nature has been increasingly left to its own devices for 14 years, and where the “virgin forests of tomorrow” are now being created, the exhibition, covering an area of 2,000 square metres, presents the natural cycle of creation and decay in the National Park. Starting with a walk, “From the Crown to the Root” of a (virgin) beechwood forest, visitors are taken through fascinating water worlds, experience the environment from the perspective of an animal and are offered an impression of the incredible variety of species that are gradually reconquering their natural habitat in the forests between Cologne, Bonn and Aachen. Here, touching and trying out activities at the wide range of different stations is expressly encouraged. Tactile models of animals, the scent of plants and the soft fur of a beaver also make the exhibition an exciting tour of the wilds for visitors with a visual impairment.
A barrier-free guidance system, with raised and Braille lettering, points the way through the seven modules. The content is presented in German, English, French, Dutch and Simplified Language, and guided tours are also offered in sign language. All this reflects the fact that the Eifel National Park centre regards itself as an international meeting place, which stands for tolerance, open-mindedness and respect for nature. From the terrace of the visitor centre, which focuses on the eventful history of the Vogelsang site in a second exhibition, visitors also enjoy impressive panoramic views over the steep valleys, dense forests and lakes in the National Park.
The Eifel National Park centre is open all year round. It is also the starting point for regular walking tours through the National Park with a ranger guide.