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Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum

Certificate of Excellence
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Address: 5000 Discovery Dr, The Dalles, OR 97058-9755
Phone Number:
+1 541-296-8600
09:00 - 17:00
Open now
See all hours
Sun - Sat 09:00 - 17:00

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 287 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 184
  • 84
    Very good
  • 15
  • 3
  • 1
Two Museums in One!

This attraction is tucked just off of I84 in The Dalles. Once you find how to access it from the Interstate, you get to explore two museums in one building. The Discovery Center... read more

Reviewed 1 week ago
Michael T
Bonners Ferry, Idaho
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287 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 287: English reviews
Bonners Ferry, Idaho
Level Contributor
27 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 week ago

This attraction is tucked just off of I84 in The Dalles. Once you find how to access it from the Interstate, you get to explore two museums in one building. The Discovery Center comprises most of the exhibits. They have a hands on area for those who like to get their hands on items while they explore; mostly old clothing... More 

Thank Michael T
Silver Spring, Maryland
Level Contributor
6 reviews
Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

Excellent presentations on the geology, culture, and history of this area. The movie/video presentations on river geology, and making acorn mush were excellent. History of Dalles Chinatown was fascinating.

Thank Rbrt_J
Vancouver, Washington
Level Contributor
164 reviews
52 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 103 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

This is a relatively small museum depicting the geologic history of the Columbia River Gorge and the evolution of human inhabitants in the area over the centuries from the ice-age to permanent Euro-American settlement. The Dalles was a critical area for cross-cultural trade East-West and North-South.

Thank kumtux
Saskatoon, Canada
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviewed 20 March 2017

A beautiful spot, great buildings, exhibits very well done. It was a rainy day and we were too wet to walk around more waterfalls. So we opted for the Discovery Centre and we were surprised and pleased.

Thank Liamsnanna
The Dalles, Oregon
Level Contributor
3 reviews
Reviewed 23 February 2017 via mobile

Interesting tour of local history of the gorge. Enough hands on displays for kids. Worth the stop if going through The Dalles.

Thank mltippett
The Dalles
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 13 February 2017

Been there many, many times for work conferences, family themed " Casablanca" movie party, retirement parties, birthday parties and Animal Rescue fund raisers. Food has always been great.

Thank sandrasD2120QR
Level Contributor
13 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 February 2017

A great museum to learn more about the history of the local area. Can see most of the museum in under 2 hours, but save 30 minutes to explore the grounds. There are neat out buildings are artifacts to look at outside around the perimeter of the museum and see if the eagle is in his habitat. Wide variety of... More 

Thank Amanda L
Level Contributor
45 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 January 2017

When in or near The Dalles OR do stop at the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum. It is a great display of the history and geology of the area and a must stop for anyone interested in The Lewis & Clark Expedition,

Thank drdlchristian
Rhododendron, Oregon
Level Contributor
34 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 December 2016

Stop,,,for sure. You'll be glad U did. It's the FIRST Exit coming from Portlandia. Bring your kids with!

Thank zzrydr
yakima, United States
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 7 November 2016

We Encourage Anyone looking to Learn More about the People Who Not only Lived in this Area, or Who Traveled through this Area, as a Part of History, is Shown Well, in Each Room. The Staff are able to Answer Qustions should You have them.

Thank Thurman K

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  • 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?