ECHO - which stands for Ecology, Culture, History, Opportunity - is situated in downtown Burlington on the banks of Lake Champlain. The two-story lake aquarium and science center has nearly 100 hands-on interactive exhibits including 12,000 gallons of aquariums with over 60 species of fish, amphibians, and reptiles. It offers spectacular views of Lake Champlain. ECHO strives to educate and delight visitors of all ages with diverse program offerings focused on the ecology, cultural, history, and opportunities for stewardship of the Lake Champlain Basin. ECHO includes a variety of educational exhibits, including a theater, a walk-in replica of the General Butler shipwreck, and a Champlain Sea tide pool with native aquatic species.
In October 2003, ECHO at the Leahy Center for Lake Champlain became the first LEED-certified building in Vermont. The building draws much of its material from regional sources, and includes a state-of-the-art, energy-saving HVAC system. The building utilizes a facility-wide digital control system, efficient T5 fluorescent and LED lighting, daylight-responsive atrium lighting, recycled-content materials, and human- and lake-friendly products throughout. Super-efficient windows and insulation systems with very low air leakage were also incorporated into the building design. High-quality materials and sturdy construction techniques ensure the building's durability.