The success of any visitor centre depends on:
- choosing the right location – which must take into account visitor flow patterns and integration of the centre into the local community;
- designating functions – this type of tourism infrastructure can have multiple functions: information and education for visitors and locals, administrative role for the protected area, open space for various community activities, economic role by facilitating additional income for locals via services they provide inside the tourism destination serviced by the centre, food and accommodation services, etc.;
- developing the interpretive themes – the centre must tell a story that sends a coherent message;
- using the most appropriate interpretation techniques, in accordance with the budget, the interior and exterior of the building, and the type of visitors;
- integrating the yard or any other nearby potential attractions into the interpretation concept and the story the centre tells.
When planning the building project, the following should be taken into account:
- identifying which green building methods could be used;
- deciding which way the building faces by taking into account sun exposure and the best view point for observing the subject of the main interpretive theme;
- providing space for all identified functions, both inside and outside the building;
- evaluating maintenance costs;
- interpretation techniques to be used.
Călimani National Park Visitor Centre includes:
- an indoor exhibit;
- a souvenir shop selling locally produced items;
- a photo gallery featuring old photographs provided by the local community;
- a conference room equipped for showing movies;
- outdoor games for children and adults;
- an interpretation trail in the courtyard;
- an interpretation trail in the nearby Șaru Dornei peat bog.
Quick facts about Călimani National Park Visitor Centre:
- located on the main access road to Călimani Mountains;
- offers at least half a day of activities to its visitors;
- it represents an important tourist attraction for Țara Dornelor ecotourism destination;
- a team of 10 professionals (ecotourism and tourism interpretation specialists, architects, designers, photographers and biologists) worked for 2 years to bring the centre to life.