VOLCANOES -- The Johnston Ridge Observatory -- the major facility attraction in the 110,000-acre Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument -- will reopen for the season on Sunday, May 15 — three days before the anniversary of the 1980 eruption.
The center closes each winter because snow makes the road impassable. It will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through October. Admission to JRO and Coldwater Lake is $8 per person, kids 15 and younger free.
As usual, admission is free on the day of the eruption anniversary, which falls on a Wednesday this year.
In addition to a stunning view into the volcano's crater, the Johnston Ridge center also has live seismographs, geologic exhibits, an eruption movie, ranger talks and a bookstore. Several of the exhibits have been enhanced or refurbished for this season using donations and federal stimulus funds.
Improvements include a newly modeled high definition theater with surround sound, interactive touch screens, audio translation devices and new interpretive signs and facilities.
Road info: (360) 449-7800.