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Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum

Certificate of Excellence
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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 206 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 128
    Excellent
  • 62
    Very good
  • 12
    Average
  • 3
    Poor
  • 1
    Terrible
Awesome

This place is awesome. My children really enjoyed the kids room and we tried on costumes and did crayon rubbings and learned a lot.

4 of 5 starsReviewed 1 week ago
Heather R
,
Belfair, Washington
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206 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Belfair, Washington
2 reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

This place is awesome. My children really enjoyed the kids room and we tried on costumes and did crayon rubbings and learned a lot.

Helpful?
Thank Heather R
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Level Contributor
236 reviews
115 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 82 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 weeks ago

The building is itself is beautiful and in a "gorgeous" (yes a pun) setting. There were a huge amount of displays and information which were very well presented. Well worth a stop. The young lady attending to the reception desk was not friendly and gave an initial poor presentation, but the fabulous museum over shadowed her lack of personality.

Helpful?
Thank Sandy2645
Level Contributor
14 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 5 weeks ago

We brought our daughter and our grandchildren (ages 8, 10, 12, and 13) to the museum. The center of the museum shows the flow of the Columbia River in tile and you can follow it along. The kids were given a clipboard of highlights to check off as they found them during their tour. The kids loved exploring and there... More 

Helpful?
Thank Pkt1017
The Dalles, Oregon
Level Contributor
18 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2016

We took some friends to see this place. It was on a Saturday, and cold and spitting snow, so we did not poke around outside. When you pay your entrance fee, you get a map/floor plan of the attraction. My suggestion is to look at the floor plan, and walk down the central aisle and work your way back, checking... More 

Helpful?
Thank Ted B
Lyle, Washington
Level Contributor
17 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 15, 2015

Wonderful experience. It's very well done. The grounds are very nice too. You can spend a day here. The cafe has pretty passable food. Or you can bring a picnic. Kids will enjoy it too. They have certain raptor interactive times as well

Helpful?
Thank Anna P
Joseph, Oregon
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 5, 2015

Lots of great exhibits and videos. We loved the history of the area and felt that it was well worth the money.

Helpful?
Thank twopickytravelers
Canandaigua, New York
Level Contributor
141 reviews
44 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 95 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 3, 2015

We took our grandchildren here to learn more about the area. There were a number of hands on activities as well as historical displays. It was raining fairly hard so we were unable to walk any of the paths or see the exterior areas. The historical exhibits were very informative and kept the attention of our 10 and 12 year... More 

Helpful?
Thank MCEBY
Little Rock, Arkansas
Level Contributor
95 reviews
27 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 3, 2015 via mobile

This museum is a must in the Dalles, spans history of the area from prehistoric times to the gold rush. Also houses a raptor center. See the life size mammoth and short face bear, thank goodness they are extinct. Great reconstruction of a town in the 1890's.

Helpful?
Thank Robert R
El Cajon, California
Level Contributor
190 reviews
53 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 31, 2015

My wife and I visited the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum in The Dalles, Oregon last week and caught up on the history of the Columbia Gorge. The building is a 48,200 sq. ft. facility, which won an American Institute of Architects Honor Award for its appealing design.The site provides walking trails, a pond, and scenic overlooks. Exhibits focus... More 

Helpful?
1 Thank grandslamhomer
Level Contributor
11 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 26, 2015

I wasn't sure I wanted to stop at the center, but having driven the area and with rain about to move in, decided to check it out. Two hours later, I was glad that I did. A short drive off of both I-84 and Historic US HWY 30. Follow the signs and you'll get there and back to the highways.... More 

Helpful?
Thank Lawrence W

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