We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
New! Find and book your ideal hotel on TripAdvisor — and get the lowest prices
15% OFF THINGS TO DO when you spend $250+. Use code AUGUST15 on tours & activities

Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum

Certificate of Excellence
Sponsored by:
Map updates are paused. Zoom in to see updated info.
Reset zoom
Updating Map...
Sponsored by:
Get directions
Address: 5000 Discovery Dr, The Dalles, OR 97058-9755
Phone Number: +1 541-296-8600
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Closed now
See all hours
Sun - Sat 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

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.

read more
Book In Advance
More Info
and up
Private Tour: Columbia River Gorge Day Trip from Portland

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 251 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 157
  • 76
    Very good
  • 14
  • 3
  • 1
On the way back home from attending Maryhill concert..

Great place for a school field trip on the subject of Geology/History. The displays on global warming/the glacier/flood/earthquake forming the Gorge were relevant and... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed yesterday
Minh-chau L
Add Photo Write a Review

251 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
Showing 251: English reviews
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed yesterday NEW

Great place for a school field trip on the subject of Geology/History. The displays on global warming/the glacier/flood/earthquake forming the Gorge were relevant and informative. As old as I am, I learned a lot. Wish my son and his classmates had come here for one of their field trips.

Thank Minh-chau L
Auckland, New Zealand
Level Contributor
198 reviews
106 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 77 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 5 days ago NEW

We visited on a very quiet, very wet winter's day. Only a handful of other visitors. We were greeted warmly before mooching through the museum. The displays were well laid out bringing to life the past in the gorge. But best of all there was a live bird of prey talk in the theatre with three rescue birds including a... More 

Thank 2checkingout
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

It is well organized museum. Each room has its own subject: Fremont expedition, native Indians, nature, dam... and a kid discovery room. I enjoyed reading the story about General Fremont who my town was named after. It is right stop after seeing some many waterfalls along Columbia River Gorge.

Thank IntrepidToTo
Madison, Alabama, United States
Level Contributor
3 reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

This was a great museum to visit for a few hours. My older kid enjoyed doing the scavenger hunt, while my younger kid enjoyed the kids' area. If your kids rush through museums you may get done quickly since it isn't a kids' museum, but it kept my kids amused for 2-3 hours. Their website lists a cafe, but it... More 

Thank Stephanie H
Level Contributor
27 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 weeks ago

We got to the center before they opened. We actually did not do the museum. But the staff was very helpful and friendly with getting us on the road to do the historic highway and all the falls, etc. Good recommendations for stops along the way, etc. They also have a stamp if your child has a National Park passport.

Thank samthebeachdog
Level Contributor
127 reviews
50 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 weeks ago

The Columbia Gorge Discovery is great for an overview of the Gorge history but is lacking in detail. The building is beautiful and the history of the area is interesting, but, for the in depth history buffs, you may find it a little light on detailed history. I would definitely suggest going. I think kids would particularly enjoy it. I... More 

Thank Timzorrr
Spanish Fork, Utah
Level Contributor
123 reviews
54 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

My 9 year old really wanted to see the woolly mammoth display. He was not disappointed. He really like reading about the lifestyle in the displays and seeing how people lived then. The child interactive area was fun. There were trails to hike as well but we just didn't have the time on our stop. We did the museum piece... More 

Thank amber1127
Level Contributor
21 reviews
12 attraction reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

Popped in on our way out of the Dalles & ended up staying a good couple of hours. Entry fee is very reasonable, there's a lot to see. The kids enjoyed the activity sheets on which they had to either find items in photographs or information on the displays in order to answer questions. The place is a lot bigger... More 

Thank Linzi B
Bend, Oregon
Level Contributor
28 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 weeks ago

I had not heard much about this museum and have been curious about it for some time. The Dalles is about 2.5 hours from Bend, OR. It’s an easy drive and very pretty. The scenery changes from high desert to valley and back. We made our trip in August on one of the cooler days, only in the high 80’s... More 

1 Thank KariSueBend_Oregon
Level Contributor
344 reviews
152 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 119 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 weeks ago

It took us close to 4 hours to see it all, lots of good information not too many actual historical items, mostly videos and reenactment type displays. We watched a bird show and that was fun. The museum café was closed and since it was a Saturday in the middle of summer I assume that it is never open, so... More 

Thank simpleyme

Travelers who viewed Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum also viewed


Been to Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing

Questions & Answers

Here's what previous visitors have asked, with answers from representatives of Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum and other visitors
6 questions
Ask a question

See all questions (6)

Questions? Get answers from Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum staff and past visitors.
Posting guidelines
Typical questions asked:
  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
  • How do I get there using public transportation?
  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?