Every time we head to Joseph I look for new things for us to do and new places for us to explore since we have been several times. On the last trip over we discovered a wonderful little natural history interpretive center called Wallowology! The center itself is quite small and it took us about 45 minutes to have a look around.
The center is wonderful in that it explains how the mountains formed, how the lake was created and all of the other geology of the area. Exhibits explain about the morraines and the overall topography. They explain about the trees and the forests and what you will find when you go for a hike in the woods and how forest fires affect them. One of the exhibits we saw explained how trees change as you go up into the altitude – it was all so interesting. They were working on an old-growth exhibit during our visit and the next time we are in the area we will have a look and see what is new! The exhibits also discuss the various animals that call this part of Oregon home – animals like fish (especially salmon, lamprey & sturgeon), elk and numerous birds.
We appreciated the human history as well which included the Nez Perce people and how they lived in the area as well as the pioneers who moved in – the history brings us into the present and talks about the ranchers who are working the land in the area today. An exhibit talks about the historic Wallowa Lake Lodge and what Wallowology and the Eastern Oregon Legacy Lands Fund have done to help preserve the history of the structure and the lands that surround it.
My son’s very favorite thing while we were there was the Discovery Room. It is stocked with animal pelts and bones, rocks and lots of other items from the area and kids (and adults) can use their microscopes to get an extra close up look! The majority of our time was spent in this room and made the stop even more worth it (but sealed it for my fellow). We weren’t able to join in with the various children’s activities at the time that the center plans, but they look like a lot of fun and are very hands on. There are activities and various events for adults as well and they update their calendar frequently.
We highly recommend spending a little time here on your visit to Joseph. They are currently open Memorial Weekend through September, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. (Tue. – Sun). In the winter the hours are by appointment only. Admission is free and they can be found at 508 North Main Street. They can be contacted at (541) 263-1663 or at their email below.