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Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center Rating: None

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Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center chronicles the famous journey of Lewis and Clark and explores the historical significance of the United States' westward expansion through various exhibits, films, live presentations and special events. The center, located on a bluff overlooking the Missouri River in Giant Springs Heritage, starts the indoor tour with an introductory film by acclaimed documentarian Ken Burns in the 158-seat theater with six wheelchair-accessible seats. Then, join a ranger in exploring the many hands-on exhibits in the center operated by the USDA Forest Service since 1998.

Filled with hands-on interpretive displays, maps and specimens from the Corps of Discovery's 1804-1806 exploration, the center offers an in-depth view of 20 carefully selected events that shaped the outcome of the exploration. Based on the actual reports and journal summaries of Captains Lewis and Clark, each display is crafted with an eye to accuracy. Included in the display are replicas and original artifacts of specimens that the team sent back to President Thomas Jefferson in 1805, such as an accurate hand-drawn map of their trail from St. Louis to Ft. Mandan (presently North Dakota) and specimens of unusual plants and animals found along the route. An interactive display allows visitors to "recreate" parts of the journey which shows viewers how the trip might have turned out had the explorers picked a different path to reach their destination.

The center?s exhibits and ranger programs bring alive the indomitable spirit of exploration. Visitors can enjoy the self-guided exhibit hall's centerpiece which is a two-story diorama of the portage of the Missouri River's five great falls, and have an enhanced journey of the past with a 30-minute audio tour available in English, Spanish, French, German, and Japanese. Or choose the optional 45-minute audio of actors portraying William Clark and George Shannon reminiscing 20 years after the expedition - available in English only. Entry fee is $8.00, children under the age of 16 are free.
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