Visitors will see a new playground on opening day
WENATCHEE - Where can you stand in the shadow of a hydro turbine, look for a Geocache, hug 42 kinds of trees, enjoy Mama D’s peanut brittle, visit a museum, and get eye-to-eye with a sockeye? Rocky Reach Dam, of course, and we can’t wait to welcome you for another great season of fun, exploration and education.
The dam will open to the public for its 55th season at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, March 1. The Visitor Center offers free tours of the powerhouse along with the Museum of the Columbia, plus art displays, a theater and fish viewing.
In 2015, Rocky Reach Dam hosted more than 71,000 visitors and welcomed almost 650 tour groups.
Events planned for this year include:
- May 21 – River Ramble – A hands-on program for all ages offering a full range of events to experience Native American culture
- June 29 through Aug. 10 (Wednesdays) – Summer Science classes for 6th -8th graders
- Sept. 8 – Lady of the Lake Info-Cruise – Chelan PUD staff will talk lake level, habitat, snowpack and fish as we cruise out to Manson Bay and back. Reservations required by calling (509) 663-7522.
- Sept. 10 – Senior Damboree – A fun day of activity and information, focused on senior adults
- Oct. 22 and Oct. 29 – Hard-hat tours at the Lake Chelan Powerhouse – reservations required by calling (509) 663-7522
- Oct. 30 – Harvest Roundup
Guests will enjoy new playground equipment in the Rocky Reach Park this spring. The playground has been modernized with improved toys for all ages, taking better advantage of the park space. It’s also ADA accessible. New equipment includes an enclosed slide, swings, and various climbing equipment. Stop by, check out the new play area, and join us in April for our ribbon cutting ceremony once the finishing touches are complete. Watch our Facebook page for details.
Always popular is the award-winning D3 Tour – a GPS-assisted scavenger hunt where visitors can find the hidden treasures of hydropower on the Columbia River. Anyone who finds all the geocaches at Rocky Reach will get a stamp on a D3 passport and a prize. To complete the challenge and receive a unique patch, “cachers” must fill their passport by finishing the geocache courses at all three dams, including Chief Joseph Dam, near Bridgeport, and Grand Coulee Dam, near Coulee Dam, on the upper Columbia River in Washington State.
Guests need to be sure and sample Mama D’s Kitchen at Rocky Reach. Run by local foodie and baker-extraordinaire, Gina Dugger, guests are welcome from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays with extended hours and weekends April - September. Dugger offers breakfast, lunch and a variety of local canned and baked goods, including gluten-free options.
Other things to do and see at Rocky Reach Visitor Center:
- Museum of the Columbia
- Nez Perce portrait exhibit
- Chelan County PUD dive team exhibit
- And, the self-guided tour of trees on the grounds
Reserve park shelters for birthday parties, weddings, anniversaries and family reunions at no cost. The grounds are open until 6 p.m. daily, until May 1, when park hours extend to 9 p.m. Guests can reserve Rocky Reach park shelters by calling (509) 663-7522.
Chelan County PUD welcomes visitors to tour the exhibits and the Museum of the Columbia at their leisure. Staff is on hand to answer questions and provide in-depth tours. To schedule a tour, visit our website, or contact Christina Detering, at (509) 663-7522.
For questions about the Visitor Center, contact Debbie Gallaher, Visitor Services Department manager, at (509) 661-4960.