Lonely Planet Writer

World’s first permanent visitor centre on climate change to open in Ireland

The first ever permanent visitor centre dedicated to climate change has opened in County Wicklow, Ireland, featuring an interactive experience aimed at inspiring positive action.

Sir Richard Branson officially opened the centre on 10 January 2018.
Sir Richard Branson officially opened the centre on 10 January 2018. Image by Jason Clarke Photography / Justin Mac Innes

Located on the picturesque grounds of Powerscourt House, Cool Planet Experience was officially opened on 10 January in a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by Richard Branson. The centre is the brain child of entrepreneur Norman Crowley, who envisioned it as a place that would educate visitors in an engaging and dynamic way. Connecting science, engineering, gaming and drama, the centre is the first of ten that are planned to open around the world over the next three years, with plans already in place for centres in Dubai and Sydney.

The centre is located at Powerscourt House in County Wicklow, Ireland.
The centre is located at Powerscourt House in County Wicklow, Ireland. Image by Dave G Kelly/Getty Images

“Cool Planet is the first of its kind, it takes visitors on a journey through climate change that’s interactive and fact-based, but also fun, and aims for visitors to leave feeling informed but also inspired about what they can do themselves. Research has shown that people are frustrated and just don’t know what to do when it comes to climate change. Cool Planet aims to change the conversation on climate change by not only showing what the impacts are, but also the really cool solutions and technologies that already exist,” Vicky Brown, CEO of Cool Planet Experience told Lonely Planet Travel News.

Cool Planet Experience founder Norman Crowley addressed visitors at the opening of the centre.
Cool Planet Experience founder Norman Crowley addressing visitors at the opening of the centre. Image by Jason Clarke Photography / Justin Mac Innes

The experience takes approximately an hour and a half to go through fully, with one of the highlights being an interactive game called Can You Save Your City?, which sees visitors being transported to the year 2050, racing to tackle issues such as transport, waste and energy. Workshops aimed at inspiring younger generations will also be hosted at the centre, as well as the Cool Planet Champion program, which is designed to train people from all walks of life on how to put together compelling presentations on climate change and encourage them to take action with local representatives and communities.

Cool Planet Experience will be open to visitors from February onwards. More information is available on the official website.