YELLOWSTONE - Yellowstone National Park will unveil a brand new Old Faithful Visitor Center next Wednesday. It replaces an old center which was built in the 1960s. At that time, there were 1 and a half million visitors each year, now there's double that.
Four out of every five visitors who go to Yellowstone stop by Old Faithful, making it their biggest attraction.
"They want to know when the geyser goes off. They want to know what causes it to go off. They want to know what causes all the steam as they drive up to Old Faithful. This new Visitor Education Center is designed to engage them, inform them, and prompt them to learn a little bit about the park," said Yellowstone Park Spokesman Al Nash.
The new visitor has a prime piece of real estate. When you first go inside you can see Old Faithful.
"We really hope this is going to have an incredible impact on visitors. To really understand, to get a strong science lesson on what is happening with geothermal features," said Karen Kress, President of the Yellowstone Park Foundation, who helped raise $15-million to build the visitor center.
"Exhibits in the new visitor center explain that we're on a volcano, and that it takes heat, it takes water, and it takes fractures to make the Old Faithful geyser work."
"This is a model of a geyser, it could be Old Faithful, but there are hundreds of other geysers in Yellowstone, and it helps people get an understanding of what happens underground," said Linda Young, who specializes in the exhibits.
There's also a stadium seating theater and a bookstore inside the center. And while no visitors have yet seen the inside, they have plenty of things to say about the exterior.
"From what we've seen it's a lovely building. It seems to be designed with an eye to blending into the basic ambience of the area," (said Julien Caillet, from Tucson Arizona.
"I like the architecture. I think it's interesting, I like the way the peeks mimic the mountains, but it's not exactly like the rest of the architecture that is around," said Christine Mckissock, from Boston Massachusetts.
Crews have less than a week to finish putting polishing touches on the center before it opens to the public.
The new Old Faithful Visitor Center will be dedicated next Wednesday at 11am, and will then be open to the public for the first time.