Virginia state parks go hi-tech, target younger visitors

WASHINGTON – In an effort to attract new nature lovers, Virginia’s state parks are investing in technology and making upgrades to several visitor centers.

The idea behind the overhaul is to connect people, especially younger generations, to the great outdoors through the use of technology.

“Increasingly in our modern society, people have grown distant from the outdoors,” says Jim Meisner, a spokesperson with the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, which manages Virginia’s state parks. “These are 21st-century technologies that young people especially will use as a new gateway to enjoy the outdoors.”

Lake Anna State Park in Spotsylvania is the first state park to go through a high- tech renovation. It has been upgraded with a 3-D theater, interactive touch screens and a picture wall of 70 flat screens.

Meisner says the audience will be able to view on-screen scenes of the state park and of the animals that call the park home. He says some people are intimidated by the outdoors and this is a way of letting people get closer to nature without actually being out in nature.

“Our goal is to have this type of technology in all of our visitor centers as we refurbish and build,” says Meisner.

Lake Anna State Park’s visitor center is hosting a sneak preview of the updated space on Feb. 23 and 24 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

WTOP’s Kathy Stewart contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2013 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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