Step inside Hickory Run State Park's new visitor center and take in the sights and sounds of the more than 15,000 acre park through five interactive exhibits.

From the Lehigh Gorge to the Boulder Field, visitors of all ages can get a self-guided tour of some of Hickory Run's most unique features.

"It's a good place to start. They can get the fun stuff in here and get a little bit of base knowledge and head out into the park and really get to experience it," said assistant park manager, Nick Sherlock.

The exhibits are the highlight of the $11 million visitor center, which the park didn't plan on opening during a pandemic. Yet it comes at just the right time, when more people are visiting state parks than ever.

"Some events and other activities for people were getting shut down and state parks have remained open the whole time and it's been a help for people and we've had a lot of new visitors over this year," said Sherlock.

Because the exhibits are interactive, there are COVID protocols in place to make sure visitors stay safe.

"We do clean it daily in the morning every other day but we do the deep cleaning on Tuesdays," said Sherlock.

With an outdoor fire pit, electric car charging stations, and a classroom for educational programs, park managers say the new center is a big improvement from what they had.

"The old building was just an old two-story house, not really up to par with what we need to serve the visitors," said Sherlock.

Once COVID-19 is gone, they say the possibilities of events they can hold inside are endless.

"We're really excited about what the future gonna hold with the building now," said Sherlock.

The visitor center is open daily from 10 to 4, except on Tuesdays when it is closed for cleaning.