Deep in the heart of a bustling DFW metroplex, the River Legacy Living Science Center is a sanctuary of environmental education whose aim is to encourage an appreciation of nature through interaction with the natural world. In 2017, after over 20 years of operation, River Legacy approached 900lbs to be part of a major renovation project to rejuvenate the building and inspire today’s youths. How do you reach this younger generation to teach them about nature when most are transfixed by their technology indoors? By bringing the outdoors…indoors. Our goal was to let younger visitors explore nature in a fun, game-like interaction that speaks their language.
The “Life in the Forest” wall is an interactive projection, serving as a 30 foot wide “window” into the outside world, letting kids not only “see” what’s just outside the building, but actually letting them interact with the animals and fauna they might not see otherwise. By “gamifying” the animals and environment into mini games and highlighting aspects of that particular wildlife, kids are able to learn by doing, and subconsciously become familiar with some of the Trinity River ecosystem’s favorite critters.
Technically speaking, the large-scale wall is a mixed media compilation utilizing short throw laser projectors, 3 Microsoft Kinect depth cameras and custom exhibit fabrication that combines digital content with the physical experience. The outcome is a combined effort of months of game development, hyper-detailed environment design, 2D/3D animation and computer vision algorithms. Photos from the Kinect cameras capture the users in action for River Legacy to share on social media. This is one of the most complex projects to date for 900lbs, requiring a focused design that adhered to the TEKS education curriculum foundation while also remaining fun and engaging to kids. To increase the center’s appeal for special events and weddings, 900lbs also created a scalable backend CMS that allowed the staff to plug in any event media to customize the wall.
The River Legacy Foundation’s goal was to rejuvenate the Science Center with new exhibits and enhance the whole experience with modern technology. Through our Discovery process, 900lbs generated concept art and interactive prototypes that helped the foundation successfully complete the capital fundraising campaign by visualizing the art of the possible.
The Life in the Forest exhibit serves as the centerpiece to the renovation and the Science Center has already seen an increase in attendance. This attraction has allowed a new paid admission revenue stream as well as bolstering event rental offerings with a customizable media system.
900lbs is proud to say that the River Legacy Foundation and its wonderful staff have won the Arlington Chamber of Commerce’s 2018 Nonprofit Organization’s of the Year award! Special thanks to Jill Hill and her staff for being such a wonderful group of people to work with and a valued partner on this project.
900lbs and the River Legacy Foundation staff are already in talks of future initiatives and enhancements to the space.