This is preview of the state of the art, HD video programs presented at the
new Craig Thomas Discovery & Visitor Center in Grand Teton National Park. One unique feature of the visitor center are the “video rivers” streaming across the floor in the exhibit areas. Glass screens, four feet by 15 feet, embedded in the floor play exquisite cinematography, providing a bird’s eye view of wildlife, scenery and park activities. The flow of the video rivers mimics the sensation of a river flowing through a canyon, serving as a symbol of the Jackson Hole valley.
The 22,000 sq. ft. Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center was built through a partnership project funded by
the National Park Service, the Grand Teton National Park Foundation, and the Grand Teton Association. Its
innovative architecture and interactive exhibits were designed to create a premiere facility to welcome visitors
to Grand Teton National Park. The center will serve as a focal point to orient, educate and inspire visitors from
near and far, and to encourage people to form personal connections to the natural world and to contemplate the
power of philanthropy and stewardship for America’s iconic treasures and national heritage.
Discussions about the prospect of a new visitor center began over twenty years ago. At that time, park managers
and the Grand Teton Association (formerly the Grand Teton Natural History Association) began to strategize
about adding an auditorium onto the Moose Visitor Center. To address concerns about inadequate conditions in
the Moose Visitor Center with regard to over crowding, seismic stability of the building, and minimal space for
interpretive exhibits, it soon became apparent that a new building—not just an auditorium— was needed.
Construction on the new visitor facility began in 2005 after a groundbreaking ceremony at which Senator
Thomas served as the keynote speaker. The Grand Teton National Park Foundation then launched an ambitious
capital finance campaign which has provided over 12 million dollars and counting to this project. The Grand
Teton Association has contributed 1.5 million to this project, and will continue to provide financial support for
the park’s interpretive and scientific programs through income generated from their bookstore operations.
Senator Thomas secured 8 million dollars in federal appropriations for this project.
The Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center is the park’s first new visitor center in the past 30 years; it is
projected to serve the visiting public for the next 100 year—a world class visitor center for one of the nation’s
most beloved national parks.