Tralee Bay Wetlands Centre
Tralee Town Council
County Kerry, Ireland
WWT Consulting was subsequently contracted to design freshwater and brackish habitats for the nature area of the Tralee Bay Wetlands Centre. Ecological surveys informed the detailed designs, which included planting plans and a hydrological assessment to determine how water levels and flow would be regulated, as the site is adjacent to the River Lee estuary and some parts are tidally influenced. The design allows visitors to experience some of the interesting wetland habitats and species that are found in the wider River Lee Valley, via a series of paths to viewing hides, a guided boat safari and a pond dipping activity area.
WWT Consulting also designed, produced and installed the interpretation for the visitor centre, which acts as a gateway from a free-access activity area to the nature park, and also as a gateway to the wider County Kerry, introducing visitors to the habitats and wildlife of the adjacent Ramsar site and beyond. The interpretation employs a mix of bright, accessible graphics in English and Gaelic, hands-on interactivity, including a tracing table and magnetic Create-a-Creature game, sculpture, poetry, interactive multilingual IT stations with information, videos and games, and integrates some stunning on-demand AV footage. A hand-held audio guide provides interpretation in other languages for non-native English speakers. The interpretation is continued outside on the trails and around the pond dipping activity zone to create a fun learning environment and encourage locals as well as tourists to enjoy wildlife watching.
The centre opened to the public in May 2012 and has received positive local and national press coverage, as well as a glowing review from the Chair of the Irish Ramsar Committee. This article appeared in the July/August edition of Perspective, the magazine of the Royal Society of Ulster Architects (RSUA).