fun to do kids west side mount st helens washington   Travel for Kids
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Mount St. Helens - Westside

Mount St. Helens
  Johnston Ridge Observatory & Visitor Center – Johnson Ridge Observatory has panoramic views of the mountain. Watch white steam rising from the dome inside the volcanic crater (bring your binoculars) and look out over the blast zone where trees were flattened and hot gas, ash and pumice burned everything.
    Inside the visitor center is a model of the eruption (lights up with different areas as the eruption progressed), seismic exhibits (jump on a mat to make your own earthquake and put out your hands to feel seismic eruptions), a touch table with four different kinds of volcanic rock (rhyolite, dacite, andesite and basalt), elk horns and skull. In the theater are two different movies (the movie "Message from the Mountain," also about the 1980 eruption, is different from the movie at the Silver Lake Visitor Center).
      If you brought a picnic lunch, sit out at the outdoor amphitheater which has benches, and enjoy lunch with a spectacular view.
      Eruption Trail – From the viewing plaza outside the visitor center, walk down this easy paved trail along the ridge, with stellar views of the volcano. Trail is .5 mile, one mile round trip.
    Coldwater Lake – This is best spot for a picnic, there's lots of picnic tables, restrooms. After lunch, take a short walk on the paved trail around lake shore.
    Castle Lake Overlook – Stop to see Castle Lake, one of the lakes formed by the eruption.
    Forest Learning Center – Outdoors are picnic tables and a playground for little kids with climbing structure, chipmunk bouncy things, and a soft foam volcano with slides. At the overlook, use telescopes to look for elk in the valley below. Inside the center are exhibits about the life cycle of forests. The center is free and open in summer, check here for opening hours.
Silver Lake visitor center
  Silver Lake Visitor Center – At the visitor center is a small walk-in volcano, where kids can see what's inside a volcano – red magma, and layers of ash and lava. Also check out a timeline of the 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption, exhibits about Native Americans, explorers and miners in the area, a model of the volcano, and view a 15 min. movie in the theater with video from the eruption. Most fascinating is an exhibit about what animals survived the eruption – gophers and mice living underground, hibernating frogs and crawfish, fish under the ice in the lake.
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