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“Everything you need to know -and more!”

Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum
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Private Tour: Columbia River Gorge Day Trip from Portland
Ranked #1 of 21 things to do in The Dalles
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: 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.
East Grinstead, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
143 reviews
39 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
“Everything you need to know -and more!”
Reviewed 20 May 2014 via mobile

This fantastic building - with a representation of the river set into the floor in granite - houses a comprehensive history of the native Americans, Wasco county, the gorge and Lewis and Clark - if you go to one place on the river this has to be the best!

Also has a great talk about the birds of prey found in the area with live demonstrations in a theatre which was strange - the guide we has was so passionate about the work they are doing to educate local people.

Visited May 2014
1 Thank Guillods
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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290 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
46 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“Worth your while!”
Reviewed 19 May 2014

This place was a nice surprise and I wouldn't have come across it without Tripadvisor so I'm grateful others reviewed it.

$9 to get in and you can spend a good deal of time there if you're really interested. Learn about the history and culture area, which includes much about Lewis & Clark.

Check out the injured raptors (2 eagles, 1 owl, 1 hawk -maybe more). There is a live bird show where you learn much more about these beautiful animals. I advise calling ahead to find out when the times of this show are so you can coordinate your visit.

The bonus is that it's in a beautiful location on the western side of the Dalles.

Visited May 2014
Thank Truffles183
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pompano Beach
Level Contributor
50 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Informative and Inspiring”
Reviewed 15 May 2014

This is one of those places that can get you into a taste of the past if you let it. Dont rush around trying to see it all. Wander outside first and just appreciate the panoramas, the wildflowers and the massive Ponderosas. Appreciate what First People, Native Americans loved about these Sacred Spaces.
The oral history inside, part of Native Peoples, is moving. Sit and listen for awhile, look at the excellence of the art, design and innovation of tools. Look how natural materials were used with respect, without destroying them.

Visited April 2014
Thank caseysacajewa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Exeter, New Hampshire
Level Contributor
349 reviews
140 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 136 helpful votes
“Worth the price if free”
Reviewed 14 May 2014

A nice saddlery display and Wild West facades and a great Raptor speech save this Museum from being run-of-the-mill. This beautiful building holds surprisingly few actual artifacts considering they're in the HEART of the Oregon Trail and most can be seen in half a dozen other area museums. With the shifting of the river (caused by dams) digging up artifacts should be quite easy and this Museum is quite disappointingly mostly just very large written displays. We loved their "Free Mother's Day" offering and it's good business, as we spent the money anyway in the Gift Shop, but the $9 price would otherwise not be worth it for the few things they have. Throw in some costumed dramatic readings, some hands-on "Pack a Wagon" type interactive displays for the kids and about twenty more actual artifacts to replace the feeling you're walking through a newspaper/textbook and this could be a wonderful and relevant museum.

Visited May 2014
2 Thank KaTe2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
78 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Nice place to visit”
Reviewed 10 May 2014

Pretty facility, the talk very educational with live animals. We also got a chance to visit resident eagles.

Visited April 2014
Thank somewhereoutthere
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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