Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum

Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum

Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum
4.5
Speciality Museums
Read more
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Write a review
About
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.
Suggested duration
1-2 hours
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
Tours & experiences
Explore different ways to experience this place.
What is Travelers’ Choice?
Tripadvisor gives a Travelers’ Choice award to accommodations, attractions and restaurants that consistently earn great reviews from travelers and are ranked within the top 10% of properties on Tripadvisor.

Top ways to experience Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum and nearby attractions

Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

4.5
415 reviews
Excellent
276
Very good
115
Average
19
Poor
4
Terrible
1

Bear_over_mountain
Oregon City, OR25 contributions
Sep 2020
During our unexpected visit to The Dalles because we evacuated from Oregon City during the fires, we found The Discovery Center entertained and educated us about Oregon History. Because we had lots of time, and the museum was not at all crowded, we had plenty of opportunity to get fully immersed in the details of the exhibits. My favorite was the video film that showed how the native tribes would prepare acorns from harvest through grinding, and leeching thru sand to cook an acorn porridge. Due to the poor outdoor air quality Due to fires during our visit, the birds usually on exhibit, were not available. This is a museum you MUST see if you are traveling thru The Dalles. It is a great break for children and adults of all ages. I highly recommend a visit to the Discovery Center.
Written September 27, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

3CatMom
Philomath, OR184 contributions
Sep 2021 • Couples
A great overview of the history of the Columbia Gorge. Modern and clean. Lots of parking. Exhibits well maintained and engaging. Even had a talk on a local raptor and there's an exhibit of these birds out the back door. Nice, but small, gift shop. Well worth a visit. Probably spend 1-4 hours there depending if you attend the presentation and how much of the printed exhibit information you read.
Written October 10, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

DoloresJacoby.Let’sTravel.98368
West Palm Beach, FL9,968 contributions
Jun 2021 • Couples
The museum is such a worthwhile visit! From the moment you hit the parking lot you begin to appreciate the amazing architecture. The lobby entrance is fantastic. A bird of prey show and talk occurred at the far end of the lobby. Exhibitions are great and allow you ample time to explore at your own pace. Lovely gift shop and don’t miss walking the grounds.
Written June 23, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Margaret R
Austin, TX52 contributions
Mar 2020
Did you know that Lewis and Clark's Corp of Explorers ate almost 200 dogs? Towards the end of their trip, tribes weren't willing to trade the salmon but shared out of their dog supplies. The exhibit focused on what was carried by the explorers for trade and what they gave in friendship. Since they made camp over 600 places, there was lots of opportunities for meeting the locals.
The museum had a variety of exhibits, including the geology pointing to the origin of the Bridge of the Gods, a mythological place in many tribal stories. Enjoyed the visit!
Written March 15, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Jim B
Grapeview, WA1,256 contributions
May 2021 • Couples
This museum does a good job of presenting a history of the Columbia River Gorge, from the geology to the people who have settled here over the many generations.

It covers the Native Americans who were here originally, to the settlement of American immigrants, to the railroad era, to the automobile era with the highways that were developed.

They also have a section on the Lewis & Clark expedition through this area.

They also have raptors to educate you on birds of prey and their prevalence in this area.
Written May 2, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Heather H
24 contributions
Sep 2020 • Friends
Tried to enjoy the museum but it's only open on the weekends. Tried to do the Pioneer Walk but it only had numbers posted without a map (maybe inside?), it's interesting but not informative. Final straw, I had been enjoying looking at the osprey. A woman came into the osprey room, collected the bird and started walking to the indoor captivity room. I asked, "can I take a picture?" She didn't say anything and kept on walking. Poor representative of the Discovery Center. Really disappointed.
Written September 23, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Geoff A
3 contributions
Jan 2022
I've driven past this many times while on my way to somewhere else on I-84. We finally decided to stop and check it out. Highly recommended museum depicting the geology, natural history, and human history of the Columbia Gorge.
Written May 15, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Marjorie M
Salem, IN141 contributions
Aug 2021 • Couples
The museum was very good. It dealt with early geology, ice age inhabitants, native Americans, the early pioneers and missionaries , the impact of the railroad, hydroelectric power and more. We went specifically for the raptor feature, which was disappointing for us. They showed one red tail hawk and you could sort of see two great horned owls in the back of their enclosure. We had hoped to see more birds and to spend time in an outdoor area viewing the raptors.
Written August 15, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Celeste
23 contributions
Aug 2019
Loved this stop along our trip through the Columbia River Gorge. Lots of local history, live birds with an informative talk by local guide, and interactive play area for the kids. Worth the stop!
Written January 5, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

PDRtravelbug
Seattle, WA601 contributions
Apr 2022
Perfect place to spend a rainy or snowy few hours. Very nicely done, great for kids and adults to learn about original life in the Gorge. Hardly every crowded and well laid out. We listed to a rapture presentation (accidentally arrived just in time) and it was great. With only a few people attending it gave us a chance to ask questions.
Written April 18, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Showing results 1-10 of 414
Anything missing or inaccurate?
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing

Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum (The Dalles) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

Frequently Asked Questions about Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum

Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum is open:
  • Sun - Sat 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Buy tickets in advance on Tripadvisor. If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel at least 24 hours before the start date of your tour for a full refund.

We recommend booking Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum tours ahead of time to secure your spot. If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel up to 24 hours before your tour starts for a full refund. See all 1 Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum tours on Tripadvisor