Popular Western New York tourist attraction debuts two new games, unveils exhibit upgrades to enhance clean energy educational experience
The New York Power Authority invites visitors to rediscover its Power Vista Visitors Center in Lewiston, following an infusion of $500,000 worth of upgrades, including the addition of two new games to add to its roster of multimedia experiences designed to make learning about clean energy fun for all ages.
Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin visited the Niagara Power Plant on Monday and learned about the Power Vista upgrades from NYPA’s Western New York Regional Manager and Chief Transformation Officer Daniella Piper. View photos of the lieutenant governor’s visit to the Niagara Power Plant here.
“It was a pleasure to tour the Niagara Power Plant with New York Power Authority Regional Director Daniella Piper,” Benjamin said. “We talked about the important work NYPA is doing to provide affordable power, strategic investments and employment opportunities to New Yorkers. The $500,000 worth of upgrades to the Power Vista Visitors Center in Lewiston will ensure that New Yorkers who visit these facilities will have the opportunity to learn about the impact of NYPA, just like I did on my tour.”
The upgrades took place over the past six months, and the new visitors center attractions were opened to the public last week. The Power Authority first undertook a comprehensive redesign and reconstruction of the facility in 2016, adding such features as a “Power Up” 4-D simulator, hands-on interactive technologies, large touch screens, and internet connectivity. The 2016 improvements also included redesigned floor layouts to enhance accessibility, including a new elevator, to complement the existing escalator. Pre-COVID-19, the Visitors Center regularly drew close to 100,000 visitors annually. The popular tourist attraction first opened in 1963.
“It’s hard to believe it has been more than five years since we completely transformed the Power Vista experience, so we are excited to share these new enhancements with visitors,” NYPA Interim President and CEO Justin E. Driscoll said. “Just as we need to invest in our power plants to modernize our generation and transmission facilities, we want to keep our visitors' experiences representative of our reputation for innovation.”
Piper said, “The new and improved Power Vista visitors center is not a static attraction. It grows and changes to keep pace with science and technological improvements. It is my first stop for any out-of-town friends and family, and it’s inspiring to realize that the dynamic and interactive experience will be fresh and new each time we visit.”
Many of the recent improvements were designed to make the exhibits more reliable and allow guests the option of using the exhibits with or without souvenir “Power Player” badges. Last week, NYPA reopened the Power Vista’s surround-sound, multisensory “Power Up” 4-D theater, which allows visitors to hear, see and feel the experience of a single drop of rain as it travels across the state, through the power plant switchyard, and eventually lands in the Niagara River – where it gets pulled through the turbines of the Niagara Power Project and is transformed into a unit of energy. Several videos within the facility have also been updated, and more new ones are planned.
Frequent visitors to the Power Vista will notice a new challenge to determine which sources of energy are renewable. There is also a new challenge that allows guests the opportunity to site and build the most effective wind, solar and hydro facilities. Popular features that allow guests the opportunity to take photographs in themed backdrops for sharing on social media were also enhanced. Exhibits showing NYPA facilities across the state, the status of solar cells powering the exhibit space and area community activities were also improved.
In accordance with New York state indoor family entertainment centers guidelines, the Niagara Power Vista visitors center, located at 5777 Lewiston Road, has resumed seven days a week operations (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Among the upgrades is a state-of-the-art indoor air filtration system to protect visitors and NYPA employees.
NYPA continues to offer reserved or walk-in opportunities for school groups, families or individuals with a mix of guided and self-guided experiences.
To protect visitors and NYPA employees, all visitors must wear masks. Due to changing conditions in response to COVID-19, up-to-date information regarding the facilities is available at nypa.gov/VisitorsCenters or by calling 716-286-6661.
NYPA is the largest state electric utility in the nation, operating 16 generating facilities and more than 1,400 circuit‑miles of transmission lines. More than 80% of the electricity NYPA produces is clean renewable hydropower. NYPA uses no tax money or state credit. It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity. For more information, visit www.nypa.gov.