The BC Forest Discovery Centre (BCFDC) is a museum with an educational mandate to tell the story of the past, present, and future of the forest industry in coastal British Columbia.
The BCFDC uses artifacts, innovative interactive exhibitions, and educational public programming o inform inspire and entertain the general public
Our education programs are aimed at all ages, many with the school curricula in mind while others include outdoor tours and courses with environmental content.
The 100-acre site also employs a fully operational steam railway that educates as well as entertains our 60,000 visitors a year.
We also have approximately 70 volunteers, the largest percentage being seniors and retired tradesman that help in all areas of the facility. Last year more than 13,000 hours were donated by our team of volunteers.
Over the past few years a concerted effort has been made to improve all areas of the facility at the same time increasing community involvement and raising the Centre’s profile.
With the addition of a wheelchair lift on the train, new accessible washrooms and improved boardwalks and trails, the entire site is now more accessible and inclusive for those visitors with mobility issues.
We are proud of the improvements we have made to the site and can now boast that we are the third largest pay for admission attraction on Vancouver Island and the premier tourism destination for visitors to learn about BC Forestry practices. We continue to attract local, national, and international tourists, students, outdoor enthusiasts, forestry workers and BC wood products consumers.
The BCFDC allows visitors to share the story of the forest sector and illustrates how vitally important it is to coastal life today, not only as an employer and economic driver, but also as a connector of people to the outdoor lifestyle and wild places that are so celebrated on of BC coast.
British Columbia’s forest sector has a long and storied history, with roots in the formation of the province, and for thousands of years prior to that with First Nations who have depended on the timber in B.C.’s rich and abundant forests for building materials, as a canvas for art, and for cultural items and ceremonies.
For half a century, the BC Forest Discovery Centre has been preserving the history and heritage of forestry – one of British Columbia’s cornerstone economic drivers. The Centre’s unique educational approach has inspired young minds for five decades and entertained local, provincial, national and international visitors of all ages and abilities.
The BC Forest Discovery Centre is a 100-acre museum park full of opportunities for discovery, education and fun! From our operational narrow-gauge railway to our forested trails, from our Ranger Station exhibit to our historic 1930s logging camp buildings, there is always something engaging to experience.
Getting young people interested in the forest sector through artifacts and interactive exhibits stimulates their imagination and innovation, promoting the industry early in their lives as a possible career path. Informing those who visit the Centre of the key role of forestry in shaping our province is an excellent reminder of the sector’s importance to the province’s identity – and to its future.
For the past fifty years, the BC Forest Discovery Centre has offered diverse and engaging educational programs for students between the ages of 3-18. These programs vary in length from 1.5 to 2 hours and focus on engaging children with unique activities and meaningful learning opportunities.
In the Forest Heritage education programs, students travel back in time through their visit to our heritage logging camp. With a focus on the community, students discover what a logging camp was like in the early 20th century. Children also learn the unique lingo that was used in logging camps.
In the Forest Ecology education programs, students take a walk through our mature second-growth forest while discussing the concepts of the parts of a tree, forest recycling, and how trees are used as a natural resource. This program provides a hands-on learning opportunity for students to engage with the animals and plants found in the surrounding forest ecosystem.
Each program is led by a knowledgeable interpreter and is structured to encourage interaction and active student participation.
A not-for-profit Society the BCFDC has been a major attraction in the Cowichan Valley for over 50 years.
The Discovery Centre is a 100-acre museum/park full of opportunities for discovery, education and fun!
From our operational narrow-gauge railway to our forested trails, from our Ranger Station exhibit to our Historic 1930’s logging camp buildings, there is always something engaging to experience.
With the addition of the new exhibit, Forests Forever: Innovation in Modern Forestry- the Centre has truly become a world class museum facility. The exhibit is housed in the impressive main building and has injected new life into the BC Forest Discovery Centre making it a premier tourist destination on Vancouver Island.
The BC Forest Discovery Centre continues to improve on its offering of education programs as over 1450 students and educators participated in active learning programs in the past year. We continue to experience an increase in attendance with our Forester’s Walk and Camp Life tour. Our popularity with tourists from Denmark, Finland, and Sweden is encouraging as well as International Students from Japan, China and around the world.
We have introduced a new Interactive Multimedia Educational Computer which educates children and adults on our Pollinating Ecosystem and Garden highlighting on the declining bee populations.
The Centre remains committed to providing engaging learning activities to facilitate active, curriculum-based learning. We anticipate the continuation of these educational programs in the coming years with the addition of new and revised programs relating to future exhibits.
We now welcome more than 60,000 visitors a year and our Christmas Express event attracts more than 17,000 families each Christmas season and our Halloween event keeps growing in popularity welcoming at least 12,000 visitors annually.
As quote from our Minister of Forests, Steve Thomson, in 2018 states “Thank you all for your efforts to sustain B.C.’s incredible forest sector legacy and congratulations to the management, staff, and volunteers who dedicate so much of their time to ensure the Centre’s ongoing success.
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