MOUNT ST. HELENS SILVER LAKE VISITOR CENTER
What: More than 300,000 people per year visit the Mount St. Helens Silver Lake Visitor Center. The facility is packed with interpretive displays on the area’s cultural and historical significance. The history of the mountain since the May 18, 1980, eruption is documented here.
Where: Six miles east of Castle Rock on state Route 504.
When: Open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily through Sept. 16. See the website for hours the rest of the year.
History: The center opened in 1987. Washington State Parks and Recreation has operated the visitor center since 2000 and took ownership of the center in 2007.
Activities: One of the highlights of the facility is a large, step-in model of the volcano. You can also view a working seismograph. Outside, you can explore Silver Lake on a 1-mile trail. Nearby Seaquest State Park offers hiking, bird watching, boating and camping.
Getting there: From Interstate 5, take Exit 49 to state Route 504. The facility is six miles east, adjacent to Seaquest State Park.
Cost: $5 for those older than 15, $2.50 for ages 7-17, and free for 6 and younger. Family passes are $15.
Of note: A boardwalk allows visitors to hike through wetland areas without causing damage.
Craig Hill, email@example.com