The Columbia Gorge Discovery Center (5000 Discovery Dr. N., Crates Point, 3 miles west of The Dalles  on U.S. 30, 541/296-8600, www.gorgediscovery.org , 9 a.m.–5 p.m. daily, $8 adults, $7 seniors, $4 ages 6–16) brings together the rich historical, geological, biological, and cultural legacies of this region.
The Discovery Center addresses the region as a whole, articulating a 40-million-year time line with scale models and videos (as well as simulated “hands-on” experiences) that begins with the cataclysms that created the Columbia River Gorge  on through its Native American occupation to the coming of the pioneers and subsequent domination by European Americans.
Along the way, native plants and animals are given attention along with such diverse activities as road building, orchards, and windsurfing. A decent cafeteria is located on-site.
A short walk away, the Wasco County Historical Museum reviews 10,000 years of Native American life, early explorers, and industry. A single fee admits you to both venues.