My husband is officially on Sabbatical now...which means he doesn't go back to work until the last week in August! We have our big trip coming up, but we decided to take a day trip to Mount St. Helens. Neither my husband nor I had been there in the recent past and, obviously, our kids had never been there,
Mount St. Helens is a truly unique place to visit. As there is no place to stay in the area (camping is prohibited), it is best suited for a day trip. It is about halfway between Portland and Seattle, so it is pretty accessible by car.
There are not one, not two, not three, but FOUR Visitor centers there. At one time, the National Park service ran most, if not all of them. However, they have since spun some of them out and now only operate the Johnston Ridge Observatory (which is the one closest to the volcano). We visited 3 of the 4 centers and they each had their own offerings. All had a movies about the May 18, 1980 eruption, the best one being at Johnston Ridge--if for no other reason that, once the movie is over the screen goes up and--voila!--there is Mount St. Helen's! They actually have 2 movies--one with a biological focus and one with a geological focus. We only saw the latter, but it was very well done.
The first center we stopped at is at the entrance to the area and is run by the Washington State Parks system There is a great photo spot there, but really that's the only reason to stop. Well, that and to get a map. They have a museum with a $5 admission fee, which we did visit but probably won't again.
The second center is run by Weyerhauser and has a strong logging bent (not surprisingly!). It is quite well done and FREE, which led my husband to go off on the benefits of private enterprise....sigh! The third, which I already mentioned, was the Johnston Ridge Observatory, which was my favorite.
Okay, enough gabbing....here are the pics!
|In the discovery room of the Weyerhauser Visitor Center|
|My daughter gets to try out a helicopter (sort of) at the Weyerhauser center|
|My son always wants to look through these viewfinders, but he's too short. No worries, Daddy to the rescue!|
|The Weyerhauser center also had a nice little play area for the kids, which they enjoyed. We only let them play for a short while as it was almost 100 degrees out!|
|Taken from the Johnston Ridge Observatory|
|My kids loved this! They can jump on the pad in front of the seismometer to see if they can record an "earthquake"|
|This is the memorial to the 57 people who died in the May 18, 1980 eruption|
On another note, starting either next week or the week after (I may have pictures from another day trip to post next week), I'll be posting pics from our road trip. I'm expecting those posts to go on for quite some while, but if you'd like more "up to the minute" pictures from our trip, you can follow me on Instagram at mdawnott. My profile is set to private, but if I know who you are (you can leave me a comment here), I'll approve you.