Tom Ridge Environmental Center, Erie

#3 of 6 in Parks in Erie
Park · Hidden Gem · Nature / Park
The Tom Ridge Environmental Center is a center on the grounds of Presque Isle State Park in Erie, Pennsylvania. Named after former Pennsylvania Governor and former U.S. Department of Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge, the center opened on 26 May 2006. The center has 65,000 square feet (6,039 m2) of space including interpretive exhibits highlighting local and regional flora and fauna, as well as information on the human history and culture of the area. The center also has a large-format movie theater, a gift shop, a cafe, a visitors center, and an observation tower of 75 feet (23 m) that overlooks Lake Erie. The facility also has five conference rooms and eight laboratories for environmental education and research of supporting organizations, plus the administrative offices of several environmental and conservation groups and agencies.

The center was designed by Wallace, Roberts & Todd Architects, and received the 2007 American Society of Landscape Architects President's Award for design-build projects in Delaware and Pennsylvania.
The parking lot in front of the facility was previously occupied by a drive-in theater, the Peninsula, which opened in 1969 and closed in 2001 (five years before the environmental center opened)

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Tom Ridge Environmental Center reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
476 reviews
  • Love to wander around and learn more about PI and Lake Erie. Great gift shop. Clean bathrooms. Fun for kids and adults. And FREE!  more »
  • we come here everytime we come to Erie. The movie is always nice to see, and plenty to learn and see. The gift shop is nice but everything is highly priced.  more »
  • Worth a stop in on a day to and or from presque isle and the beautiful beaches or on a colder or rainy day in the winter. Lots of information about wildlife with lookouts as well as a children's reading area. Lots of exhibits to inform for all ages and nice look back on local history section. Gift shop fun Staff friendly Makes for fun visit Plan about 2 hours
  • Very good place to learn about Presque Isle, i love that it's free and my favorite part is the observation tower which is also free, great views, great exercise by taking the stairs but there is an elevator too. I love this place and i strongly recommend it.

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