The Columbia River Gorge, just outside of Portland, Oregon, has long been regarded as one of the most beautiful places in all of the United States—if not the world. Unfortunately, good portions of the Columbia Gorge burned down thanks to an act of arson this past summer. But, even still, it remains one of the most historic places in Oregon. And, with time, it will become one of the most beautiful again. Forest fires, while tragic, are also good for the forest and we should see it thrive again before long.
Meanwhile, there are still plenty of reasons to visit the Columbia River Gorge. From world class windsurfing, waterskiing and other water sports, to dining, and, yes, hiking. And, next time you visit the Gorge, be sure to stop by the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center.
The Columbia River Gorge has a long and storied natural history. The Columbia Gorge Discovery Center resides on a fifty-four-acre plot of land near the Columbia River.
The Columbia River Gorge Discovery Center is the official interpretive center of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic area. It celebrates the area’s native flora and fauna, and explores ways to conserve them—even more important now, in the still smoldering ashes of the Columbia Gorge. Inside the 48,200 square feet of space (the space itself received the American Institute of Architects Honor Award) ,you will discover the thousands of years of fascinating history of the Columbia River Gorge. The museum uses plenty of multimedia, hands on and interactive displays to tell the story everything from floods and volcanic activity—natural disasters and occurrences that helped shaped the gorgeous Gorge.
Outside of the facility, five acres of native plants host ducks, turtles, ducks, geese, songbirds, and other wild creatures, which guests can spy on as they saunter through the nature walk. At the raptor exhibit, visitors get up close and personal with a variety of birds of prey, including a great horned owl, a red tailed hawk and the majestic bald eagle. The wildlife in the area, while maybe not as exotic as Alaska, Africa, or South America, is nonetheless interesting—and absolutely vital to our eco system.
And don’t forget the life size thirteen- foot mammoth on site! Last time we saw the mammoth, my daughter freaked out and hid in a Lewis and Clark era canvass tent. My kids love history and, for them, the history on display at the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center comes alive.
So, if you haven’t been, make it a priority. If you have been visit again. It’s not too far from Portland and well worth the trek. For more information, visit https://www.gorgediscovery.org/.