We’re suckers for “Discovery” or “Children’s” museums. Quite frankly—they feed our kid’s appetites for both activities and knowledge (while keeping us adults fairly entertained, as well). So, as we drove along the Columbia River on the Northern border of Oregon (with Washington just on the other side) in August 2014, we decided to make a stop at the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center and Museum. The museum is very well done, and managed to make some otherwise (perhaps) “boring” topics very hands-on for kids.

The kids followed the Columbia River path…

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and we entered the Discovery Center in the Ice Age!  A huge mammoth stands guard, and the entrance to the Native American exhibit is a narrow cave walkway.

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The kids picked up some fliers that had them scouring the walls and displays for certain animals in the “Native Living” section. We then passed through Lewis and Clark exhibits, and into the Oregon Trail area.

Dress up time!

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The section of the Discovery Center continued to teach about transportation on the River both in prior and current times. It was very interesting!

We continued over to the “Historical Museum” section which focused on the boats, cannery, rail depot, agriculture, and even missionary interactions with Native Americans. Again, our kid’s favorite parts included dressing up in various sections throughout the museum.

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There was even a section to put on fish cannery aprons, and learn about how the canneries worked.

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We watched a live “Birds of Prey” show where they showed us various birds from the area that reside outside the discovery center.

Lastly, we went to the Kid’s Room where they had giant puzzles, crafts to construct your own Oregon Trail “quilt” on paper (selecting your fabric and gluing it according to a provided pattern), and–of course–more dress up opportunities!

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Columbia Gorge Discovery Center and Museum for kids

We rushed through this Center and Museum fairly quickly-as we were in a big hurry to continue on the road to see my husband’s family that lives in Central Washington. The kids would have loved to stay longer. However–it was a great, energy-releasing, informative, and fun break from our long drive along the Columbia River!

Admission isn’t “cheap”, but not terrible, either–$9 for adults, and $5 for kids (5+). Also, their Museum Shop is also very nice, with some great products. We managed to walk away with some great reading books for Ella about the Oregon Trail and Sacajawea!

One Response to “Visiting the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center and Museum”

  1. Looks like a great visit for traveling families. I’d love to make that drive up the gorge again too!

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