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Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum

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Address: 5000 Discovery Drive, The Dalles, OR 97058
Phone Number: +1 541-296-8600
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Today
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
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Hours:
Sun - Sat 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Description: The 48,200 sq. ft. facility won an American Institute of Architects Honor...
The 48,200 sq. ft. facility won an American Institute of Architects Honor Award for its appealing design. The Center is situated on a 54-acre point of land adjacent to the Columbia River and the Historic Columbia River Highway. The site provides walking trails, a pond, and scenic overlooks. Its location in The Dalles, Oregon is an ecosystem transition zone, facilitating the interpretation of both the rain forest west of the Cascade Mountains and the arid region to the east. Live raptor education programs engage all ages in issues related to habitat preservation. The area includes one of the oldest continuously occupied areas in North America (over 11,000 years), immediate proximity to one of the largest rivers on the continent, and access to the Lewis and Clark and Oregon Trails. The multimedia, interactive museum inspires appreciation and stewardship of the natural and cultural treasures of the Gorge and Wasco County. Exhibits focus on the volcanic upheaval and raging floods that created the Gorge, the unique flora and fauna of the region, and eleven thousand years of cultural history. Collections include hundreds of American Indian baskets from throughout the Pacific Northwest, photo archives (partially available on-line), and local genealogical files available in the William G. Dick Library. In addition to touring the many fascinating exhibits, visitors can spend time viewing films in the theater located on site. If you plan to spend the day at the Discovery Center and Museum, you can relax during a lunch or coffee break at the Basalt Rock Cafe.
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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 182 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 113
    Excellent
  • 53
    Very good
  • 12
    Average
  • 3
    Poor
  • 1
    Terrible
GOOD STOP IF VISITING THE AREA

This museum shows visitors the formation of the gorge over time,and development of the areas around the gorge. It also has an area historical museum. There was also a short... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed September 1, 2015
JohnP13147
,
Mashpee, Massachusetts
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182 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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English first
Mashpee, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
82 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 1, 2015 NEW

This museum shows visitors the formation of the gorge over time,and development of the areas around the gorge. It also has an area historical museum. There was also a short Raptor show displaying two different hawks living in the area.

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Gladstone, Oregon
Level Contributor
86 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 1, 2015 NEW

We loved this museum! We bought a one year membership through Groupon and used it about three times, which made it well worth the money. This museum is beautiful and is a wonderful experience for kids of all ages, including grown ups. The building and architecture are amazing and beautiful. The view is breathtaking and the exhibits fascinating. We really... More 

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Pukalani, Maui
Level Contributor
158 reviews
48 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 1, 2015 NEW

It is a small museum but gives some good history of the time during the ice age to the native people of the area to the Lewis and Clark expedition and the Oregon Trail. If you are there at certain times, they have a raptor program you can attend. Even though we weren't there in time for the raptor program,... More 

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Taipei, Taiwan
Level Contributor
13 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 20, 2015

This private museum is well maintained and tells a lot about this area as well as the history of the great western expedition era. We didn't have much expectation but it turned out much better than we thought. My son loved the exhibit about Lewis & Clark and the geographic formation of this area. Also, the raptors showing was a... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Wasco, Oregon
Level Contributor
14 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 14, 2015

This place is amazing for sharing the history of the Gorge. They have a kids area that has some fun things. One of my kids favorites is the boat that you have to load the cargo (blocks) onto without it "keeling" and spilling the cargo. They also have a variety of events, like learning about raptors. They have someone bring... More 

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Lynden, Washington
Level Contributor
30 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 13, 2015

We tried to do the museum too quickly since we had about 90 minutes before we had to be back on the road. 90 minutes isn't enough - allow yourself 2+ hours and pace yourself since there's a lot to take in here. They were featuring a Red Tailed Hawk and a Great Horned Owl which was a great treat... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Calgary
Level Contributor
117 reviews
110 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 97 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 12, 2015

I was expecting a small interpretive center but what i found was a great interpretive museum that was one of our favorite in the pacific Northwest. I would allocate a minimum of 1.5 - 2 hours here. The museum covers the natural history of the gorge, the native pre-history and the early European and American settlers. It is done in... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
474 reviews
415 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 330 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 8, 2015

If you go east on I-84 to the old section of The Dalles, you'll have to backtrack to see this gem. It covers the flora and fauna of the entire Columbia Gorge, as well as its native inhabitants, not just the Europeans! 5000 Discovery Drive, open 9-5. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. $9 per adult. Great Lewis and Clark... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
West Palm Beach, Florida
Level Contributor
43 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 8, 2015

It is a good museum to visit. I was there for a short time (less than an hour), but I could have spent another hour watching the videos and reading more. It is a good visit.

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Level Contributor
430 reviews
164 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 175 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 3, 2015

I really liked the Lewis and Clark information but there is so much more to see. This is a very well done museum that you could spend an afternoon in and still not experience it all.

Was this review helpful? Yes 1

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