WANTAGH, NY — The new Jones Beach Energy and Nature Center has opened , Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday.
The center, which opened during Climate Week, aims to teach the public about how energy shapes New York’s natural systems and how that same energy can help advance the state’s efforts to fight climate change. The facility was created by the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
“The Jones Beach Energy & Nature Center embodies New York State’s leadership in protecting the environment and promoting renewable energy,” Cuomo said in a statement. “Long Islanders know firsthand how the devastating effects of climate change and extreme weather are impacting our lives on a daily basis and this Center will equip visitors with knowledge to join the fight against climate change and protect our environment for generations to come.
The environmental education center specifically teaches how humans consumption of energy changes the environment. The center has on-site renewable energy sources and environmentally responsive architectural elements making it a model for net-zero energy use and adaptive, resilient design. It also features 19 inside and 13 outside science exhibits with dynamic graphics, videos, and interactive games.
Visitors can explore:
- Outside installations such as a classroom, sensory playground, pollinator garden, and “Fauna Footprints” that highlight the variety of beach-living species.
- The Lobby and South Gallery, which immerses guests in the regional energy infrastructure and the physical development of Long Island and Jones Beach.
- The East Gallery, which investigates “The Power of Nature” in ecological systems and the role of conservation efforts in supporting resilient coastal landscapes. This gallery includes exhibits on the ecosystems of Jones Beach and the surrounding ocean, as well as present-day restoration efforts like plastics clean-up and artificial reef construction.
- The West Gallery, which focuses on “The Nature of Energy” and the transformation of natural energy sources into power for human use. An example is represented in a display highlighting how wind speeds and other factors effect energy production by wind turbines. A unique aspect of the Center is its proximity to one of the State’s first offshore wind energy projects, the Empire Wind project, located approximately 18 miles off the coast of Jones Beach. This positions the facility to educate the public about that project, and offshore wind energy generally, by keeping visitors informed during all phases of that project’s development. An energy-efficient house exhibit demonstrates how consumers can manage energy consumption in their own homes, while other exhibits highlight sustainable energy technologies and the impact of extreme weather on the power system.
The center cost $32.8 million and was made possible with the support of Long Island Power Authority, the state’s Energy Research and Development Authority, the state Power Authority, the Rauch Foundation, the Long Island Community Foundation, the Open Space Institute, and SUEZ North America, as well as individual people.
The facility will open daily from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursdays and Saturdays, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. the rest of the week. Click here for more information on programs and events. The entrance to the building will be limited to 25 percent capacity amid the coronavirus, officials said. Visitors must wear face-coverings and socially distance from others. Hand sanitizer and masks will be available on site.