NEW LOCATION for 2022!
School Days will be at Rocky Reach Discovery Center
on Sept 15th & 16th, 2022

Due to continued construction at the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery, Salmon Festival 2022 is moving! We are excited to announce that the student education days will take place at Rocky Reach Discovery Center on September 15th and 16th this year. We’d like to shout out a huge thank you to our friends at the Chelan County PUD for making it possible to host up to 1200 elementary students for an outdoor day of learning!

Salmon Fest School Days are just for students!

Since it’s inception in 1991, thousands of 3rd and 4th grade students from across Washington State have migrated to Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery in the fall to enjoy the Wenatchee River Salmon Festival.  Teachers and students spend time through the school year learning about Natural Resources subjects that will prepare them for the activities at Salmon Fest.

An exciting menu of hands-on activities and “edutainment” gives students from throughout North Central Washington a unique opportunity to discover and appreciate the complexities of the natural world and the significance of salmon to people of the northwest.

By the Numbers….

The event draws 2,000 -3,000 students, and hundreds of teachers, educators, and parents, from over 30 schools experience the annual festival. It takes hundreds of Natural Resources staff and volunteers to run the 40+ educational activities and exhibits.

Our goal…  To inspire the next generation of stewards.

Salmon Fest is back in 2022! 

Due to Hatchery Construction, Salmon Fest 2022 has moved to the Rocky Reach Discovery Center!


2022 Event Info


SCHOOL DAYS – Thurs & Fri, Sept. 15th & 16th

Location: Rocky Reach Discovery Center

Drop-In Activities

This is a tentative list of drop-in activities that require no sign-up. We encourage you to visit these activities throughout the day as your schedule allows. Many of the activities will be located in the exhibit area. (This list will continue to be updated as we near the festival.)

In this 40 by 40 foot barrier-free maze, students will experience the many challenges of aquatic life and migration when they discover themselves as salmon, hatching and struggling to survive. They meet predators along the way as they go through the salmon’s amazing life cycle.


Immerse yourself in the traditional dances and drumming from Columbia River Plateau Tribes, including the Round Bustle dance, Duck and Dive, and Prairie Chicken dance, among others. You might even be invited to join in the Wasco Salmon Dance! Performances will be between 10 – 11am and 12 – 1pm.

Many agencies and organizations in our community share information through hands-on, interactive activities. Cascadia Conservation District, Yakama Nation Fisheries, Bureau of Land Management, Washington State Parks, Wolf Haven, and many others will be joining us for this salmon celebration.


Learn how the Chelan County PUD removes juvenile salmon from the hatchery rearing ponds, transports them to their natal stream, and reintroduces them into the river system by getting up close and personal with a large fish transport truck, dewatering tower, and fish pump!

Get up close and personal with live salmon as they climb up the fish ladder past Rocky Reach Dam.

Join staff from Grand Coulee Dam to discover the wonders of hydropower, electric circuits, and solar-powered ovens – and take a Virtual Reality tour of the dam!

Discover what a butterfly looks like through a microscope and go on a garden scavenger hunt!


Explore diverse exhibits of Native American culture and artisan demonstrations including women’s and men’s regalia, horse regalia, birch bark baskets, photography, dogbane cordage, and traditional foods.

Explore the brand new state-of-the-art interactive exhibits at Rocky Reach Dam.

Open up a real salmon and learn all about the organs and body parts that help a salmon survive and thrive.


Learn about the first foods of the Columbia River Plateau Tribes.

Learn the ins and outs of responsible fishing in our home waters.

Learn what poaching is and how it affects our fish and wildlife resources. 

Learn about bear behavior and how the Karelian Bear dog program helps with research, orphaned and injured wildlife and helps to diminish people / bear conflicts.  

Sign-Up Activities


Teachers should choose their 5 preferred Salmon Festival activities (green) AND their 4 preferred River Ramble activities (blue) from these lists when completing the Teacher Registration Form (found below). We will do our best to accommodate your choices (register early for best selection!). Take into account any special needs your students may have when choosing your activities. 

Salmon Festival Activities

River Ramble Activities

You will be able to choose 5 Salmon Festival activities from the list when registering.

You will be able to choose 4 River Ramble Activities from the list when registering.

Walk across the fore bay deck on top of the 4 billion pound Rocky Reach concrete dam that leads them to the powerhouse.  Learn how juvenile and adult salmon pass the dam on their journeys to and from the ocean.  Once inside the powerhouse, look over the three football field long generation floor and learn how energy in the river is used to generate electricity while protecting salmon.

Students learn the external anatomy of a fish then apply paint and carefully press paper over it for a colorful print in the same manner that Japanese fishermen once recorded their daily catch, by making a fish rubbing (gyo=fish, taku=rubbing).


Become a salmon and migrate your way past predators, fishing boats, dams, and waterfalls to make it back to your home stream.


Students become caddisflies, stoneflies, and other aquatic insects in a game of tag. They quickly learn that some insects are more susceptible to environmental changes than others.

With graphics, models, photos and a large taxidermied owl, students will learn how to compare and contrast hunting strategies of birds of prey. 


Students and parents alike learn-through-playing in a giant sandbox! This hands-on interactive watershed modeling activity is a unique experience, where you can learn the elements of a healthy watershed and then use that knowledge to create ideal Salmon habitat.


Learn computer coding to program a salmon robot, and help it navigate up a river to its spawning grounds.


Students will be transformed through colorful costumes depicting plants and animals in the salmon’s community. Through interactive simulations, students will learn how we are all connected in the web of life.

Join the Audubon society to search high and low for life-like wooden bird models. Learn skills to help identify birds that you can see right here in North Central Washington.


The Columbia river is the lifeline for plateau tribes. Before the advent of cars and roads, rivers provided easy and swift transportation. Learn about traditional canoe building and heritage from an expert.

A signature icon featured on a grand scale at River Ramble, is the Plateau Tribal “Long Tent,” a remarkable and stunning example of Native American architecture. As your class enters the long tent you will experience the customs and traditions of this important structure.

Learn a basic greeting in the native language nxaʔamxčín .
It is a Salish dialect used by the Wenatchis, Moses Columbia, Chelan and Entiat tribes.  Salish is a language used throughout most of the plateau regions from Montana to the west coast in Washington state. 

 Learn about traditional and modern fishing tools and methods, and how salmon play an important role as a First Food for Columbia plateau tribes. 

Pow Wow Aerobics combines culture, health and wellness. Learn and try traditional Native American dance with tribal educators.

Stickgames is a game created by tribes to prevent war and to break the ice with other tribes and to celebrate amongst family and friends. It is a game still played today among the tribes in the northwest and beyond.

In this traditional tipi-students hear Native American legends conveying the importance of salmon, wildlife, and rivers to their culture from a renowned Native American storyteller.

2022 Festival Registration

Registration for new and returning teachers will open at 8am on Wednesday, August 17th. Early bird registration (for teachers who provided signed photo release forms for their whole class or completed the post-festival event evaluation in 2019) will open at 8am on Monday, August 15th. If you would like to know if you qualify for early bird registration, please contact our Education Coordinator.

2022 Teacher Resources

Due to the new event venue, we are still working on gathering all of the teacher resources for 2022. We will update the Festival Map and parking Instructions as soon as possible.

Post Event Evaluation Form

After the festival, teachers are asked to complete the Post Event Evaluation Form to provide feedback on their Salmon Fest experience. The survey will be made available for several weeks following each event.