Museum launches trail-walking program

Jun. 11, 2014 @ 06:26 PM

A walking program that leads visitors through the Museum of Life + Science’s trails and entertains them along the way was launched Wednesday.
Thanks to a $150,000 gift from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, the museum will add 1.8 miles of outdoor trails to its campus on Murray Avenue off Duke Street. That will give the museum’s 440,000 annual visitors access to four more acres of new, outdoor exhibits planned to open by 2016.
After a ribbon-cutting Wednesday morning, hundreds of museum visitors took part in the inaugural walk.
The program, part of a three-year partnership between Blue Cross and the museum, aims to address childhood obesity while providing fun through scavenger hunts and other explorations along the trails.
The Walk of the Week program builds on the museum’s existing, interactive experience through self-guided tours with a new nature theme each week.
Walkers are given a clue at the start of the walk, along with a map leading them to a discovery.
“Physical activity in any form is a good thing,” Brad Wilson, president and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, said. “Building new trails and expanding existing ones is an easy, efficient way to provide an alternative for people to get out and exercise.”
Michael Porter, chairman of the museum’s board, said the program is a fun way to discover something on a trail at the museum’s 84-acre campus.
“It’s a good way for families to blend exercise with exploration,” he said. “We thank Blue Cross for the gift to make possible our expansion.”
Also at the ceremony was Brenda Howerton, vice chairwoman of the Durham County Board of Commissioners, who said the museum is for people of every age.
“It’s a great resource to stimulate curiosity in children and encourage discovery,” Howerton said. “We can all learn through out lifetimes.”
One of the first visitors to walk the trails Wednesday was Lewis Deberry of Durham.
“I think this program is great for kids and adults to get more active,” he said. “It’s easy nowadays to sit at home watching TV or be on the Internet, but this will help bring people out.”
Phil Lankford came with his family from Chapel Hill, and said they’re regular trail walkers. “This is a great idea to get people outside,” he said.
For Roxboro resident Laurie Reaves, the museum is like a second home.
“I’ve been bringing my girls here for 24 years, and we all love it, “she said. “I think this program is wonderful.”

Follow Blue Cross and the museum on Facebook and Twitter using #walkoftheweek and #lifeandscience hash tags to learn about a new Walk of the Week through 2016.