Official Champion of STEM Tourism:
Tri-Cities science vacations offer amazing attractions for families — don’t be surprised if you learn a little something along the way. View our STEM Itineraries in the Tri-Cities or Kidding Around with STEM Itineraries in the Tri-Cities.
MANHATTAN PROJECT NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK
If science, secrecy, and history intrigue you, then a visit to the Manhattan Project National Historical Park (MPNHP) should be on your bucket list. The MPNHP preserves and interprets the nationally significant historic sites, stories, and legacies associated with the top-secret race to develop an atomic weapon during World War II.
MPNHP is the only national park managed in partnership by the Department of Energy and the National Park Service and includes locations in each of the three secret cities created for the Manhattan Project: Hanford, Washington; Los Alamos, New Mexico; and Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Together, these three sites share the complex story of one of the most profound historical events of the 20th century.
In the Tri-Cities, the Hanford site of the MPNHP includes the B Reactor National Historic Landmark, the first full scale plutonium production reactor in the world.
The Hanford site also includes the pre-war Hanford High School, Bruggemann’s Agricultural Warehouse, White Bluffs Bank, and Hanford Irrigation District Pump House, which together provide perspective on the sacrifices made for the Manhattan Project.
The BECHTEL NATIONAL PLANETARIUM
The Bechtel National Planetarium at CBC provides life-like, high-definition images and sound using the most state-of-the-art projection system in the Pacific Northwest. The 36-foot panoramic viewing dome can simulate a 3-D effect (without the need for strange glasses)! It’s out of this world!
A typical hour-long show includes a 20-30 minute live presentation and a 25-30 minute full-dome movie. Presentation topics may include solar system or constellation tours, what's visible in the current night sky, and astronomy in the news. www.columbiabasin.edu/index.aspx?page=1496
COYOTE CANYON MAMMOTH SITE
The Coyote Canyon Mammoth Site is an Ice Age paleontological excavation south of Kennewick. The dig is managed by MCBONES Research Center Foundation, an all-volunteer educational non-profit organization. Public tours are offered once a month April through October. Tour reservations are required. Read more about it: www.mcbones.org
LIGO HANFORD OBSERVATORY
The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) seeks to open a new window on the universe using the world’s largest gravitational wave detectors. Cutting-edge science and engineering fuel the Observatory’s quest to measure the faint ripples of gravitational waves from outer space. LIGO Hanford Observatory offers free-admission facility tours on the second Saturday of each month at 1:30 pm and 3:30 pm. www.ligo.caltech.edu/WA It's quite a trip.
The REACH Museum is a visitor and interpretive center as well as an outdoor performing arts amphitheater; developed to celebrate the stories of the Mid-Columbia. Travel way back in time, looking through the lens of the Columbia River; learn about Ice Age Floods, Irrigation and Agriculture, The Manhattan Project and our area’s rich history. Children and adults alike will learn a lot from these exhibits. visitthereach.org
Travel to Tri-Cities to see science vacation attractions you’ll never forget — it’s the perfect idea for weekend getaways with the kids