SCIENCE AND LEARNING CENTER

The Science and Learning Center at Coldwater is a hands-on education center located seven miles from the crater of Mount St. Helens.  The Science and Learning Center at Coldwater offers spectacular views and immersion into the volcanic landscape and world just outside in the heart of the blast zone. 

The Science and Learning Center and Coldwater Campground is located at milepost 43 on State Highway 504, approximately 10 miles west of Johnston Ridge Observatory.  Overnight rentals at the Science & Learning Center and Coldwater Campground are the closest place available to camp in the 1980 eruption blast zone. There is so much to explore and learn in the landscape around Mount St. Helens. Explore our interactive Google map of Attractions & Amenities around Mount St. Helens to plan your trip.

Are you an education or school group? Consider our Volcano Outdoor School program which may include lodging and meals at the Science & Learning Center.

Rent the Science and Learning Center

The Science & Learning Center has multiple conference rooms available for day use, numerous educational opportunities and programs as well as overnight accommodations.  All of the spaces pictured below are available to groups renting the Science and Learning Center, including access to kitchen appliances and other reusable foodservice supplies. 

  • Overnight Rental

    • Rental cost: $1600/night
    • Hours: 4:00 PM checkin on arrival day and 10:00 AM checkout on departure day
    • Meal add-on cost: $10/person/meal. Review a sample menu of meals provided. 
    • Education programming add-on cost: $12/person/hour (1 teacher/group leader free)
      • Education programming for rental groups is customized based on request and availability of staff. Inquire with staff for more information. Learn more about our Volcano Outdoor School package which includes lodging and meals at the Science & Learning Center. 
    • Day rental fee: Overnight rental groups are responsible for paying the day rental fee for times that they wish to use the facility outside of the overnight rental hours listed above. 
    • Availability: May - October
  • Day Rental

    • Rental cost: $600/day
    • Meal add-on cost: $10/person/meal. Review a sample menu of meals provided.
    • Hours: 4:00 PM checkin on arrival day and 10:00 AM checkout on departure day
    • Education programming add-on cost: $12/person/hour (1 teacher/group leader free)
      • Education programming for rental groups is customized based on request and availability of staff. Inquire with staff for more information. Learn more about our Volcano Outdoor School package which includes lodging and meals at the Science & Learning Center. 
    • Availability: May - October

Rent Coldwater Campground

  • Coldwater Campground Cost: $600/night
  • Check in & check out: 4:00 PM checkin on arrival day and 10:00 AM checkout on departure day
  • Availability: May - October
  • Rental host: A host will be either on the premises or nearby & on-call during your rental period to answer any questions you may have.  Upon your arrival, your host will check you in and take you on a tour of the facility, which will include information about safety gear and protocols, instruction on how to use the equipment in the facility, cleaning protocols and more. 

Coldwater Campground Amenities:

  • 33 campsites/tent pads (average size 10’ x 10’ flattened pad area)
  • 2 picnic tables at a central location in the campground
  • Seasonally (June - August) porta potties are located at the campground entrance
  • Access to indoor restrooms in the Science & Learning Center based on availability
  • There is NO running water at the campground. Water jugs for group use may be provided by staff
  • Area for temporary parking at campground entrance for unloading gear and ample parking ¼ mile from the campground
  • Limited camping gear is available for groups to use upon request (tents, sleeping bags, headlamps, sleeping pads)
  • Camp stoves and other cookware are NOT provided. Propane and white gas stoves are acceptable to use on the campground picnic tables or in the parking lot. 
  • Campfires are NOT permitted. A designated campfire area with 2 propane fire pits is located on the opposite side of the parking lot from the campground for groups to use. 
“Amazing views! Awesome staff! Fantastic campground and kitchen!” “Incredibly impressed! Beautiful facility, amazing staff and breathtaking scenery. Thanks!” "The staff and rangers were so very helpful and informative! Facility was clean and comfortable. The views amazing at sunset and sunrise!” “Thank you so much for everything. The staff was very inviting and I loved that we were made to feel at home. We appreciate it and cannot wait to take the family back to show them what I have learned and seen. A special thank you to the staff who were amazing, easy to talk to and love the explanations of everything especially during the interactive talks.”

 

Registration

Registration for renting the Science & Learning Center and/or Coldwater Campground is open! Interested parties may complete our non-binding INQUIRY FORM at any time.  After you complete the form, Mount St. Helens Institute staff will reach out to you with more information and to answer questions.

A calendar of available dates is HERE.  Please note that these dates are subject to group size and staff availability.  

Policies

  1. Groups are responsible for cleaning the areas that they use.  Cleaning supplies and instructions will be provided. 
  2. You can review all other policies HERE.

Contact Us

If you have any questions, please email learn@mshinstitute.org