Rocky Reach Discovery Center

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We're updating this community treasure


The Discovery Center at Rocky Reach Dam has amazed and amused our Wenatchee Valley neighbors, and visitors from around the globe, since the 1960s. Hard to believe, but very little has changed there since it opened -- when gas cost 30 cents a gallon and phones hung on the wall.

You’re invited to buckle your seatbelt and blast off with us on a journey to a 21st century learning experience. Changes coming over the next 18 months will make sure this community treasure continues to provide lasting value for the next 50 years.

Here’s what’s coming:

• Expanded and updated exhibits in the Discovery Center

• Big new windows in fish viewing

• Hands-on displays and exciting new ways to experience the Columbia River

This summer is the time to come out to Rocky Reach before it closes on Oct. 31
We’re celebrating the rich history at the center and in the Museum of the Columbia before the transition into a new Discovery Center, which is set to open in spring 2021.

Oct. 1, 2019: Fish viewing will close  so work can start on installing larger windows

Oct. 31, 2019: The Museum of the Columbia is permanently closing.  Some of the favorite exhibits including the tule house and ship’s wheel will move to new space in the expanded and remodeled Discovery Center. Other items will go to the Wenatchee Valley Museum and Cultural Center, and many will be archived and stored.

Spring 2021: Grand re-opening

During construction, there still will be powerhouse tours and many of the popular education programs including Summer Science and River Ramble. Some will be held in Rocky Reach Park, which will stay open, and in other Chelan PUD parks. 

Join us in celebrating our past and embracing the Discovery Center’s future
Visit now, follow the progress of our journey to the future on this page, and get ready to party in spring 2021 at our grand re-opening. Stay tuned for more information!



Rocky Reach Discovery Center is located on the west side of Rocky Reach Dam, easily accessible from Highway 97A, and offers ample parking for guests, including recreational vehicles and buses. Until closing Oct. 31, guests will continue to be welcomed to a museum, café, balconies that offer panoramic views of the dam and grounds, the juvenile fish bypass system, the reservoir (Lake Entiat) and the Columbia River. A 90-seat theater shows movies throughout the day and upon request. Guided tours are available by appointment.

Discovery Center Access and Security Policy


Address
5000 State Hwy 97A
Wenatchee, WA 98801
Get directions

Hours
We're open 7 days a week, including holidays.
Discovery Center hours are
9 am - 6 pm
Museum of the Columbia hours are 9 am - 5:30 pm

Rocky Reach Park is open from 9 am - 9 pm

For information about upcoming events, group tours, weddings in our pergola, and reservation questions, please call (509) 663-7522.

  Shelter reservations are required and are taken on a first come, first served, basis. Please click here to reserve a shelter online.

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Events

Opening Day at Rocky Reach Discovery Center

We hope you will join us for our 2019 season opener at Rocky Reach Discovery Center!

Look a salmon in the eye

A highlight of any visit to the Rocky Reach Discovery Center is the Photo of a salmon that says Look a Salmon in the eyeopportunity for a close-up view of fish passing through the fishway. The fish viewing room, with five windows located on the west side of the fish ladder, allows visitors to watch salmon, steelhead, trout and other species continue their upstream migration to spawning areas.

Salmon and steelhead are seasonal visitors. The best months of the year to see chinook salmon are May and August. Sockeye salmon are most visible during July, and it's September for steelhead. "Look a salmon in the eye" in the fish viewing room, located downstairs in the Visitor Center at Rocky Reach Dam.

Visit the powerhouse

Photo of a mounted Cougar in the MuseumAfter completing a tour of the Discovery Center, guests can walk along the forebay deck to the powerhouse and take an elevator down to the fourth floor where they can enjoy a number of exhibits and observation points. Self-guided tours take guests through the Museum of the Columbia, featuring a look back at the rich history of early life along the Columbia River. Other powerhouse displays include a Nez Perce Indian portrait collection, display of Rock Island Dam, Edisonia collection, and changing art, craft and floral exhibits. Balconies provide visitors with views of the full length of the powerhouse, the spillway, fish ladder, juvenile fish bypass, and Columbia River.

Room to play

Adjacent to the Discovery Center and powerhouse are acres of award-Photo of the Playground at Rocky Reach Parkwinning lawns and gardens. Special features include Petunia Island, where 8,000 brilliantly colored annual flowers are planted in a new design every year, and a large Chelan County PUD logo is composed of colorful flowers. Another display of bright red, white and blue annual flowers depicts the U.S. flag, and dozens of varieties of dahlias and the wide open space of lawn, clusters of alpine trees, picnic areas and playground equipment await the visitor. A turbine exhibit was constructed on the Rocky Reach grounds in the summer of 1998. The hub and blades of Generating Unit C5 were saved for the exhibit following C5's rehabilitation.

Tour the Rocky Reach Park Arboretum

From flowering magnolias to towering pines, Rocky Reach Park is home to a broad variety of beautiful trees. This diversity is cataloged, mapped, and explained in a self-guided tour of the Rocky Reach Park Arboretum. A brochure provides information about 42 species of trees at the Rocky Reach Park Arboretum, showing guests where trees are located and guiding them in a walking loop that starts and ends at the Discovery Center parking lot. It’s an easy walk that takes 1 to 2 hours. View the brochure

Rocky Reach Cafe

Come have lunch, enjoy the view overlooking the Columbia River and the beautiful gardens in Rocky Reach Park. Mama D's café at Rocky Reach Discovery Center is open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday and is closed on Sunday. Questions? Call the café at (509) 661-4949.

Special events area

If you're planning a wedding or other intimate event, call us to reserve the pergola on the Rocky Reach grounds. Celebrate your special event surrounded by lush flowers and the sound of the Columbia River. Call (509) 663-7522 to reserve this space at no cost. Wedding reservations are accepted year-round.  
Photo os The Grounds at Rocky Reach