Challenged to transform a handsome but aging nature center into a dynamic new family-focused attraction, the Maymont Foundation turned to Main Street Design. We worked with our client to develop a concept that retains the gallery's sequence of large-volume freshwater aquarium tanks but places them within an entirely new experience framework. The result is Run of the River: The James River Discovery Experience.
A celebration of Virginia's longest river, which bisects downtown Richmond, the project invites guests on a journey from its Appalachian Mountains headwaters to the Chesapeake Bay. Along the way young explorers encounter the creatures and habitats of the James in a vibrant mix of live animal exhibits, hands-on and whole body interpretive play opportunities, and interactive multimedia programs. Features include a large-format motion-responsive video wall that takes visitors beneath the surface of the river, and a custom 30' tall climbing structure themed to showcase the microbiology of a single drop of water. Stylized constructed “boulders” beneath the climber evoke the complex stream bottom environment while forming interpretive alcoves and display surfaces for smaller-scale focus exhibits.