School Visit Information

West Side

Mount St Helens Visitor Center at Silver Lake is operated by Washington State Parks and Recreation, they are open seven days a week from 9am to 5pm during the summer months, 360-274-0962.  Hours for fall, winter, spring are somewhat reduced.

For use of the Mount St. Helens Science and Learning Center at Coldwater contact for renting the building and for education programs.

To allow for a better educational experience for all, there is a limit of 350 students per day at Johnston Ridge Observatory.  Johnston Ridge should open on May 13, 2017 for seven day a week operation 10am-6pm, weather permitting.  School programs begin May 22, 2017.
We will NOT accept reservations on dates listed as FULL and no additional fee waivers will be granted.

Johnston Ridge Observatory Ranger-led school programs offered May 22 thru June 16, 2017 for spring and September 18 thru October 14, 2017 in the fall.

If your group is visiting Johnston Ridge at any time May thru October and would like a fee waiver for your group, the confirmation of your registration is your fee waiver.

Ranger-led programs can be reserved at Johnston Ridge Observatory during a four week period each spring and fall. Three programs will be offered in the 2017 season Monday-Friday at 10:00 am to 11:00am, 11:00 am to 12:00pm, and 12pm to 1pm.  Schools will only be allowed to reserve two slots for their group, first registered, first served.  To learn more about the Ranger-led programs check the Teacher’s Corner.

South Side

The maximum number of students allowed at Ape Cave is 200 students/day.
We will NOT accept reservations on dates listed as FULL and no additional fee waivers will be granted.  Besides Ape Cave, school groups can also visit Lava Canyon and Trail of Two Forests.

Ranger assistance is available upon request at Ape Cave only, Monday thru Friday from May 8 thru June 16, 2017 for the spring and September 11 thru October 20, 2017 for the fall.

All educational groups are required to register, including colleges and homeschools.  Other clubs/organizations are encouraged to register as well, so we can coordinate arrival times.

In an effort to strive for a high quality educational and recreational environment no school will be allowed to register for an arrival time of any less than 1 hour apart from other registered schools. 

Rangers aim to provide a brief introduction to ALL groups to talk about the cave, rules to follow, and white nose syndrome.