Education Center Features & Exhibits


Welcome Room and Exhibit Hall

The Welcome Room and Exhibit Hall welcomes visitors to the Cedar River Watershed with a central stone fireplace, and a giant tree root system etched across the floor. It is a place for hands-on environmental learning. Interactive exhibits allow students and visitors be apart of the water cycle and learn about watershed protection and water conservation. A host of rich exhibits engage visitors in the Cedar River Watershed’s human history and the connections between plants and animals and water.

Loon and Lichen Learning Lab

The Loon and Lichen Learning Labs give school groups the opportunity to explore the science of the watersheds. Students study water samples, bugs, and plants under microscopes and conduct explorations in the Rattlesnake Lake watershed. The Learning Laboratories put the riches of the watershed in students' hands.

Heritage Research Library

The Heritage Research Library is home to 9,400 years of artifacts, documents, maps, and photographs of the Watershed. It also provides the casual visitor and serious researchers alike with original materials from the Watershed's past and current research projects and activities. The library is staffed by volunteers. Please call (206) 733-9421 ahead of time if you plan to visit.


The Auditorium provides a perfect gathering place for school and organized groups. It is also available for professional gatherings like non-profits and businesses desiring a tranquil retreat or for family celebrations and gatherings.

Forest Court

The Forest Court with its trees, shrubs, native plants, a stream and Water Drum art, forms the Center's heart. The Forest Court is a quiet place of beauty, a spot from which a visitor can watch birds, listen to frogs and witness mist rising off the lake.

Located along the shore of Rattlesnake Lake and at the historic site of the old Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Cedar falls railroad camp, the Education Center consists of five buildings linked by covered walkways with Living Roofs. The Center features sustainable design, and green building standards linked with the natural setting.

The Centers' Architects Jones & Jones of Seattle, integrated environmental sustainable and aesthetic design. Ninety eight percent of the wood products meet LEED standards for sustainable harvest. The outdoor decking and benches are made from Smart Deck, a 100% recycled plastic and wood composite. In the Forest Court, native plants blend the Center into the natural ecosystem.

The Seattle's Office of Arts, 1% for Art Fund, commissioned local artist, Dan Corson, to highlight water at the center. A collection of drums in the Forest Court beat with the help from a computerized irrigation system releasing a rhythm of water droplets onto the drumheads. In the winter, these Water Drums may be turned off to prevent pipes from freezing. We suggest you call ahead before coming in the winter months. View a Water Drum video. Corson also turned tree root balls dug from the Watershed into hanging sculptures, interlaced with strands of gas-filled glass that mimics the flow of water and energy.



Free, entertaining, and educational for all ages, hands-on exhibits transport you into the closed boundaries of the Cedar River Municipal Watershed. Flow through the water cycle and journey through habitats and history, as you look, listen, and do.

Reservations are required for groups of 10 or more. Reservations for the Water is Magic Exhibit Experience are offered year-round depending on staff availability on a first call, first served basis. 

  • Exhibits will captivate both young and old.
  • Discover the water cycle! Take a water drop ball from the ocean to the evaporator tube. Watch it float up to the clouds.
  • Find your drop of water in the clouds and choose where it will precipitate.
  • You can find your drop in the rivers, snow, ground water, or animals. Follow your water drop throughout the exhibit hall.
  • How many gallons of water are in you? Step on a scale and find out. Can you pump that much water?
  • Bend down and pick up that 5-gallon jug of water. Would you use 170 gallons a day if you had to carry that jug a mile?
  • Do you know where your water comes from? Video and laser technologies follow the water downstream to 1.4 million people.
  • Where does the river go and who lived in the Cedar River Watershed? Hanging panels tell the tale.
  • Can you imagine? Murals and activities reveal the stories of the people and habitats of the Cedar River Watershed.
  • Listen to the story of the first peoples. Local tribal members tell of their connection to the land since the beginning.
  • Why here? Artifacts, images and text help you discover why people came to the Cedar River Watershed.
  • What lives here? People no longer live in the Watershed but wildlife thrives. Discover more through interactive activities.
  • Do you have what it takes to be a Water Manager? Decide how to manage the Watershed based on salmon, the weather and water use.
  • How much have you learned? Answer questions about history, water and wildlife in this high-spirited, one or two player, computer game.