Seattle's Child

Your guide to a kid-friendly city

The Visitor Center below Grand Coulee Dam was built in the late 1970s, designed to resemble a generator rotor. An evening laser show projected onto the dam face is shown between Memorial Day and late September. (U.S. Bureau of Reclamation photo)

Grand Coulee Dam tours, laser light show are back for 2022

Here's what to know if you're thinking of visiting this remote Central Washington site.

Add Grand Coulee Dam to your family’s list of possible places to visit this summer.

Tours are back on, as is the “One River, Many Voices” laser light show, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced.

One-hour tours of the John W. Keys III Pump-Generating Plant are on a first-come, first-served basis. Tour times are 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. daily. Admission is free, but availability is limited. Read this for exact details on how to get to the dam, and what you can and cannot bring with you on the tour.

In addition, the Grand Coulee Dam Visitor Center is free, and it’s open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It has hands-on exhibits, history and cultural information and a film.

The light show will run nightly; tickets are not needed. The times change with the seasons and are subject to change. Here’s the schedule:

  • 10 p.m. nightly through July 31.
  • 9:30 p.m. from Aug. 1-31.
  • 8:30 p.m. Sept. 1 through Sept. 30.

However, all of this is subject to change based on security reasons or COVID.


Grand Coulee Dam tours

Grand Coulee Dam photo courtesy of U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

About Grand Coulee Dam

Grand Coulee Dam, a major source of hydroelectric power, was built along the Columbia River in Central Washington between 1933-41. It forms Lake Roosevelt, which is a National Recreation Area operated by the National Park Service. Additionally, Grand Coulee Dam also provides irrigation water and flood control.

If you go: Grand Coulee Dam is about 230 miles from Seattle, and you have to want to get there. You’re probably looking at a 4.5-hour drive. It definitely makes sense to combine it with a trip to Wenatchee, Leavenworth or Spokane. Here’s more information about what is nearby.

Published May 27, 2022


More travel in Seattle’s Child:

Sleeping Lady Resort (Leavenworth): a parent’s review

Kids will love Winthrop for the Wild West — and the water

Icicle Creek: a fun family adventure near Leavenworth

About the Author

Julie Hanson

Julie Hanson is a longtime journalist, South King County resident and mom to a 15-year-old girl.