Everything You Need to Know About the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center and Museum

Doesn’t it feel good knowing you learned something on vacation? When you immerse yourself in the history and culture of an area, you get an inside look into how it has grown to what it is today. During your stay at Carson Ridge Luxury Cabins, make a stop at the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center and Museum. The name says it all; look into the incredible past of our area through exhibits, tours, and events. Get the inside scoop on planning your Pacific Northwest getaway when you access our complimentary Vacation Guide!

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About the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center and Museum

The Columbia Gorge Discovery Center and Museum has been the official history museum and interpretive center of the Gorge since its opening in 1997. Here, you will find exhibits about the area’s past and geology. A highlight of this museum is its live raptor presentations and other events held in the auditorium.

The Exhibits

Ice Age

The history of the Columbia River Gorge started with the Ice Age, and this exhibit will tell you all about it. See a life-size, 13-foot Columbian mammoth and learn all about how and why people migrated during this time.

Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area

The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area protects the beauty of our area and was the first landscape to become specifically designated as a National Scenic Area by Congress. Learn about what the area holds from this exhibit, then go out and explore it for yourself during your stay at Carson Ridge Luxury Cabins.

Renewable Energy & Stewardship

The Renewable Energy & Stewardship Exhibit is one of the newest at the museum. This exhibit was created and funded by Google and the Bonneville Environmental Foundation to showcase the renewable energy sources we have in our area.

Lewis & Clark Cargo

We all know the story of Lewis and Clark. Go deeper into their story when you visit the Lewis & Clark Cargo Exhibit. The Corps of Discovery once carried 30 tons of supplies and equipment across the entire continent during a challenging and painstaking journey. Learn all about how and why they did it.

10,000 Years of Culture

Before any other settlers came to the Columbia River Gorge, it was the home of the Native Americans. These early inhabitants either crossed the Bering Land Bridge during the Ice Age or sailed across the ocean to get to what is now the Pacific Northwest. Learn all about how these people lived and see artifacts they left behind. Our favorite part of the 10,000 Years of Culture Exhibit are the baskets; the detailed patterns are incredible.

Celilo Falls & the Dams of the Columbia River

During your stay at Carson Ridge Luxury Cabins, you may visit the Bonneville Lock and Dam. Because we have so many rivers, streams, and other water features in the Gorge, these dams have become a huge part of our area.

Historic Columbia River Highway & Early Transportation

Did you know that the Historic Columbia River Highway was the first major paved highway in all of the Pacific Northwest? It is also considered the first scenic highway in the country. Now, it has been turned into a beautiful walking and biking trail.

Wasco County Past & Present

The Wasco County Past & Present Exhibit is one of our favorites in the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center and Museum. The entire exhibit covers 17,200 square feet; it’s as if you are stepping into the past. See replicas of storefronts and learn all about how the West developed into what it is today.

Geo. Lawrence Co. Harness & Saddlery

Many years ago, George Lawrence Co. was the largest saddle and harness maker on the West Coast. The company started in 1857 and produced incredible leather goods like saddles, holsters, belts, and more. After the passing of the last surviving family member, all the memorabilia was donated to the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center and Museum to form this exhibit.

The Eagle Creek Fire Columbia River Exhibit

Back in 2017, the Eagle Creek Fire wreaked havoc on the Columbia River Gorge. Our forests burned, our parks closed, and many people and wildlife lost their homes. Educate yourself about the causes of fires and read about real experiences from the people that went through it. This is a temporary exhibit, so make sure you check to see if it is still there if you are visiting the museum for this exhibit.

See a Raptor Take Flight!

If you’re interested in the wildlife of the Columbia River Gorge, you won’t want to miss the Live Raptor Presentations. Birds of prey thrive here, and you can get up close and personal with them during the presentations at the museum.

Go on a Hike

Stretch your legs after exploring the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center and Museum. The museum is situated on 54 acres full of hiking and biking trails. The Riverfront Trail is completely paved, and it follows the Columbia River.

How Much Does It Cost?

General admission to the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center and Museum is $9, but there are discounts for certain circumstances. Seniors can get in for $7, children for $5, and Museum Members can visit for free.

Museum Hours

The museum is open every day from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. It is closed for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.

Book Your Getaway Today

Carson Ridge GroundsSee the beauty of the Columbia River Gorge firsthand when you stay at Carson Ridge Luxury Cabins. You’ll love the custom-made beds, fireplaces, and whirlpool tubs in all our accommodations. Plus, you get to wake up each morning to a delicious breakfast to start your day off right.

During your stay, make the drive down the river to visit the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center and Museum to learn all about our area. You’ll be able to point out the things you learned about during your vacation, and it’s always interesting to learn about a place’s past. Browse our luxurious cabins to start planning your getaway. We look forward to seeing you!