Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum

Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum

Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum
4.5
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
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.
Duration: 1-2 hours
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
Tours & experiences
Explore different ways to experience this place.
Revenue impacts the experiences featured on this page, learn more.

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

See what travellers are saying
  • pnwthomas
    165 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Perfect for History Buffs
    Beautiful views on the Columbia River. You can hike along the trails after or before you go inside and discover some amazing history of the Gorge and the hardships of the Lewis and Clark expedition. As a Harvest Host Member, I was able to spend the night in their lower parking lot. It's by the highway so take ear plugs if you decide to sleep there for the night. It's worth a stop and I plan to go back with my grandchildren.
    Visited May 2023
    Written 8 July 2023
  • Andy5573
    Palmyra, Pennsylvania246 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Early History and Culture of the Region.
    Well presented interpretive center and museum in a beautiful building. Recommend a visit to get a good overview of the region. Static and video displays. Some video/audion displays are locatd too close to each other and the audio overlaps in certain areas, suggest these be repositioned, but otherwise they are very interesting to watch.
    Visited July 2023
    Written 12 July 2023
  • chicotgal
    Ville Platte, Louisiana84 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Wonderful and very historically informative.
    Very nice and clean museum. Plenty of parking and handicap accessible. We did not have enough time to explore every aspect of the museum and it's grounds. The museum exhibits were top notch! We did have time to walk around the pond but did not get to walk to the opposite side of the parking lot to see the old buildings. Wish we had allotted more time in the day for this museum. Great for all ages!
    Visited September 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 25 September 2023
  • Anne B
    Portland, Oregon74 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    40th birthday day trip with family !
    Spent the day in this area of the Columbia River....this museum is one of the best. There are so many well displayed sets. It has a get room for kids to draw and sit. The room has a new mural with moving wooden animals for kids and adults too to move from one setting to another. The gift shop is wonderful, no junk just great books and yes toys to relate to Oregon history. At the end of the entry is a floor to ceiling window that looks out towards the river with an elk sculpture. The history of Lewis and Clark, pioneers and the Indian live here in the area. One of my favorite was the display and the short film of basket making and the baskets displayed were beautiful. There is a cafe but with was closed the time we were there, but the time before we did have a little treat. There is admission which is reasonable. So many venues out there for weddings ... this place would be perfect right in front of the huge window, check this place out. If you love history and Oregon history this place is a wonderful place to visit.
    Visited January 2024
    Travelled with family
    Written 5 January 2024
  • Susan A
    25 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Good but felt rushed.
    We went late in the day so it was our fault for feeling rushed, but there was also a private party going on. Whoever was with that private party made us feel rushed, trying to hurry us along through the exhibits. It made me feel rather uncomfortable. We arrived at 3:45 and they closed at 5 even though we weren't the only ones who decided to go late. I think they should have offered a diacounted rate for end of the day visitors.
    Visited March 2024
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 18 March 2024
  • ReadRibbet
    928 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    The World's Largest Rosary Collection Is in the Columbia Gorge Museum
    We were in search of the World's Largest Rosaries Collection as described on RoadsideAmerica.com. We learned that the collection is not a standalone display but housed in the Columbia River Gorge Museum. The museum is in Stevenson, WA slightly off the main road. It is a beautiful building with nice scenic views on the grounds. There was plenty of free off-street parking. The entrance fee for seniors was $8. The displays include a variety of archival and historical items related to the gorge including large items housed in the museum. The rosary collection is on the second floor with other religious artifacts. The rosaries are easily accessible in the display however I wish more attention had been given to the famous rosaries highlighted in the description of the collection. The grounds include some very interesting tall tree sculptures and many historical machines and transportation devices. It was an interesting collection of items for those interested in the history of the gorge area.
    Visited March 2024
    Travelled with family
    Written 24 April 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

We perform checks on reviews.
Tripadvisor’s approach to reviews
Before posting, each Tripadvisor review goes through an automated tracking system, which collects information, answering the following questions: how, what, where and when. If the system detects something that potentially contradicts our community guidelines, the review is not published.
When the system detects a problem, a review may be automatically rejected, sent to the reviewer for validation, or manually reviewed by our team of content specialists, who work 24/7 to maintain the quality of the reviews on our site.
Our team checks each review posted on the site disputed by our community as not meeting our community guidelines.
Learn more about our review moderation.
4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles426 reviews
Excellent
283
Very good
119
Average
19
Poor
4
Terrible
1

ReadRibbet
928 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Family
We were in search of the World's Largest Rosaries Collection as described on RoadsideAmerica.com. We learned that the collection is not a standalone display but housed in the Columbia River Gorge Museum. The museum is in Stevenson, WA slightly off the main road. It is a beautiful building with nice scenic views on the grounds. There was plenty of free off-street parking. The entrance fee for seniors was $8. The displays include a variety of archival and historical items related to the gorge including large items housed in the museum. The rosary collection is on the second floor with other religious artifacts. The rosaries are easily accessible in the display however I wish more attention had been given to the famous rosaries highlighted in the description of the collection. The grounds include some very interesting tall tree sculptures and many historical machines and transportation devices. It was an interesting collection of items for those interested in the history of the gorge area.
Written 24 April 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Susan A
25 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Couples
We went late in the day so it was our fault for feeling rushed, but there was also a private party going on. Whoever was with that private party made us feel rushed, trying to hurry us along through the exhibits. It made me feel rather uncomfortable. We arrived at 3:45 and they closed at 5 even though we weren't the only ones who decided to go late. I think they should have offered a diacounted rate for end of the day visitors.
Written 18 March 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Anne B
Portland, OR74 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2024 • Family
Spent the day in this area of the Columbia River....this museum is one of the best. There are so many well displayed sets. It has a get room for kids to draw and sit. The room has a new mural with moving wooden animals for kids and adults too to move from one setting to another. The gift shop is wonderful, no junk just great books and yes toys to relate to Oregon history. At the end of the entry is a floor to ceiling window that looks out towards the river with an elk sculpture. The history of Lewis and Clark, pioneers and the Indian live here in the area. One of my favorite was the display and the short film of basket making and the baskets displayed were beautiful. There is a cafe but with was closed the time we were there, but the time before we did have a little treat. There is admission which is reasonable. So many venues out there for weddings ... this place would be perfect right in front of the huge window, check this place out. If you love history and Oregon history this place is a wonderful place to visit.
Written 5 January 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

chicotgal
Ville Platte, LA84 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2023 • Family
Very nice and clean museum. Plenty of parking and handicap accessible. We did not have enough time to explore every aspect of the museum and it's grounds. The museum exhibits were top notch! We did have time to walk around the pond but did not get to walk to the opposite side of the parking lot to see the old buildings. Wish we had allotted more time in the day for this museum. Great for all ages!
Written 25 September 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

slhokie
Sugar Land, TX577 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2023 • Family
We really enjoyed the geological history that was so well presented in this museum. I had never heard of the ice dam that so impacted the formation of the area.
Written 25 September 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Andy5573
Palmyra, PA246 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2023
Well presented interpretive center and museum in a beautiful building. Recommend a visit to get a good overview of the region. Static and video displays. Some video/audion displays are locatd too close to each other and the audio overlaps in certain areas, suggest these be repositioned, but otherwise they are very interesting to watch.
Written 12 July 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

pnwthomas
165 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2023
Beautiful views on the Columbia River. You can hike along the trails after or before you go inside and discover some amazing history of the Gorge and the hardships of the Lewis and Clark expedition. As a Harvest Host Member, I was able to spend the night in their lower parking lot. It's by the highway so take ear plugs if you decide to sleep there for the night. It's worth a stop and I plan to go back with my grandchildren.
Written 8 July 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

pickascreennamepicka
St. Catharines, Canada246 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2023 • Couples
This is a lovely building with attractive grounds. The Centre houses a very informative series of galleries beginning with theories about the genesis of ice-ages leading to the formation of the Columbia River Gorge. The galleries move on, briefly, to curate some prehistoric species before turning to a substantial review of local indigenous peoples. The Centre provides an entertaining recounting of the Lewis and Clark expedition. The galleries culminate in the history of European expansion into Oregon, the dispossession of the local peoples and the development of the industrial present of Oregon.
Written 2 June 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Charles H
22 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2022
Very informative, especially if you are a Lewis and Clark fan. Attended an excellent rapter show given by a wildlife specialist. Wonderful display of the Lewis and Clark trip including maps and detail about their various stops along the way.
Written 3 December 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Tom N
Clear Lake Shores, TX67 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2022
Well worth a stop to learn more about everything from the interesting geologic history of the gorge to the experiences and hardships of the Oregon Trail settlers to the Native Culture AND they have a great Raptor show many days.
Written 5 October 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Showing results 1-10 of 425
Revenue impacts the experiences featured on this page, learn more.
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

Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum (2024) All You MUST Know Before You Go (with Photos)

All things to do in The Dalles
RestaurantsFlightsHoliday RentalsTravel StoriesCruisesCar Hire