Visitor and Interpretive Centers
Rules & safety
Many interpretive centers are open year round, others are open seasonally.
Popular parks with Visitor and Interpretive Centers
Getting started with Visitor and Interpretive Centers
Experience the catastrophic Ice Age floods at the Dry Falls Visitor Center or retrace the journey of the Corps of Discovery at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. Peer through one of the largest amateur-built telescopes in the country at Goldendale Observatory or step inside a historic lighthouse at Cape Disappointment State Park.
Learn about the biggest public works program in our nation's history at the Civilian Conservation Corps Interpretive Center at Deception Pass State Park. Set in a CCC-built bathhouse at Bowman Bay, the exhibits feature photos, artifacts and video from CCC crews across Washington and the United States.
Learn about the Ice Age floods at the Dry Falls Visitor Center at Sun Lakes-Dry Falls State Park. The Center overlooks a 400-foot-deep chasm in the Grand Coulee carved out by massive floods thousands of years ago.
Perched on a cliff face carved out by mighty Ice Age floods, Ginkgo Petrified Forest Interpretive Center overlooks the beautiful Columbia River. Inside the center, displays, videos and park staff inform visitors about the history behind this unique and unusual petrified forest, and the powerful Ice Age floods, responsible for the visually captivating surrounding landscape. Outside the center, visitors can enjoy the day use/picnic area, view the scenic river, touch petrified wood and learn about the Ice Age floods.
The Goldendale Observatory features one of the nation's largest public telescopes and has attracted tens of thousands of sky-watchers since its dedication in 1973. The park offers spectacular views of the countryside from atop the observatory hill in the daytime, and magnificent views of the universe at night.
Retrace the steps of the Corp of Discovery at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center at Cape Disappointment State Park. Set on a cliff high above the Pacific Ocean, the center features interactive exhibits, a short film, a gift shop and a glassed-in observation deck with sweeping views of the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean.
Across from Seaquest State Park, featuring interactive exhibits, Mount St. Helens Visitor Center tells the story of the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens, learn about the re-growth and recovery of the blast zone and view a scale model of the volcano.
The North Head Lighthouse sits on a bluff high above the Pacific Ocean. Once a key navigational aid for mariners approaching the Columbia River from the North, it is now a part of Cape Disappointment State Park. The lighthouse is open to the public for tours seasonally.
Overlooking the confluence of the Columbia and the Snake Rivers, the Sacajawea Interpretive Center tells the story of the Corps of Discovery, their Native American guide Sacajawea, and the Sahaptian-speaking Native Americans that they encountered on their journey west. The center is located in Sacajawea State Park in Pasco.
Learn about San Juan Island's history and geology, shop for souvenirs and take in the beauty of the surrounding area at this visitor center located at the highest point on Orcas Island.
Map & visitor guide
Use the Find a Park Page to see maps and visitor guides for a specific park.