Reserve your time for a tour at the reopening celebration on Aug. 28
information and photos released by Chelan County PUD, Featured Photo Above: A crew member from Seattle’s Pacific Studio tests his skill at piloting a steamship up the Columbia after installing the interactive exhibit.
The wait to see Chelan County PUD’s all-new Discovery Center is nearly over. Guests who want to be among the first to see the remodeled center on Aug. 28 can email a reservation request to email@example.com.
The Discovery Center is taking all precautions to safely welcome guests during the reopening celebration, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., on Saturday, Aug. 28 in Rocky Reach Park. A reservation is required to tour the Discovery Center that day.
After that, the expanded center will be open 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, year-round. No reservation will be needed.
“We can’t wait to welcome the community back to the Discovery Center and Rocky Reach Park,” said Debbie Gallaher, visitor services manager for Chelan County PUD. “Every inch of the center offers an incredible new way to experience the Columbia River.”
“Our mascot Rocky has been saying it, and I’ll repeat it: ‘It’s going to be epic!’”
The tour reservations during the reopening celebration will be issued with an entrance time for a 90-minute visit to the Discovery Center. With outside displays and more room inside, there is space for social distancing.
Gallaher said safety plans for the celebration include cleaning throughout the day and hand sanitizing stations. Guests who are not vaccinated are asked to wear masks. She added that some celebration plans may change depending on the public health situation on Aug. 28.
“The safety of our guests, volunteers and staff is paramount,” Gallaher said.
It’s been nearly two years since the community said farewell to the beloved former museum and center at a party attended by 500-plus.
Since then, the work of talented architects, skilled construction crews and inspired exhibit designers has come together to create a one-of-a-kind learning experience, Gallaher said. There are four floors to explore, offering opportunities to experience something new every time you visit, she said.
“The Columbia River is and always has been a source of power and sustenance for the Wenatchee Valley and beyond,” Gallaher explained. “Chelan County PUD is dedicated to providing our community – and the region – with the benefits of this great river.”
Displays, including new outside exhibits under an extended roof, are organized around themes including the “Living River,” “The People’s Power,” “Hydro Health” and “Fish Tales.” Remodeling has created about a third more display space in the same footprint.
Favorites from the former museum such as the Tule house, wood canoe and steamship wheel are featured in innovative new exhibits.
The second-floor covered deck is one of Construction Manager John Laycock’s favorite spots. “From here you get a unique look down into the fish ladder,” Laycock said. “You can watch the salmon jump as they swim up the ladder.”
Guests also will get a much closer underwater view of fish swimming past the dam through bigger windows in the remodeled fish viewing room. The nearly floor-to-ceiling windows mean even the littlest visitor can look a salmon in the eye!