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Discover the Magic of Salmon at the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery: A Fun-filled Family Adventure

Nestled in the heart of Issaquah, Washington, the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery stands as a beacon of environmental education and conservation, captivating visitors of all ages with the awe-inspiring journey of salmon. Managed by Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery (FISH), this facility is not only the most visited hatchery in the state but also a vital center for community engagement and salmon advocacy in the Pacific Northwest. A visit to the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery offers families a fun and educational outing. Together, children and adults can explore the salmon’s life cycle, from eggs to adulthood, and discover their vital role in the ecosystem and the significance of sustainability.

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Issaquah Salmon Hatchery

125 W Sunset Way, Issaquah, WA 98027

A Legacy of Conservation

Constructed in 1936 as part of the federal Works Progress Administration initiative, the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery was born out of a necessity to rejuvenate the once abundant salmon runs in Issaquah Creek, which had been decimated by extensive logging, coal mining, and urban development. Today, it serves as a testament to the community’s enduring commitment to restoring and preserving the natural heritage of the area.

A Day of Exploration and Learning

Visiting the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery is a perfect day out for families looking to blend fun with education. Children and adults alike can embark on a fascinating journey through the life cycle of salmon, from eggs to adulthood, learning about the critical role these fish play in the ecosystem and the importance of sustainable environmental practices.

Interactive Tours and Exhibits

FISH provides interactive tours and exhibits that captivate and educate young visitors, nurturing a love for nature. Guests can observe the incredible journey of salmon returning to spawn, a process that both fascinates and teaches. The hatchery’s dedication to salmon conservation tells a powerful story about the importance of protecting wildlife and the web of life. A highlight for many is the salmon ladder and lookout, where children delight in watching salmon up close through the viewing windows, feeling as if they’re walking alongside them behind the glass.

*The best spots for salmon viewing will be from the bridge above the stream, windows at the salmon ladder, or baby salmon in the pools.

The Joy of Discovery

The Issaquah Creek, adjacent to the hatchery, is a vibrant habitat teeming with life, offering endless opportunities for exploration. Children can observe salmon in their natural environment, gaining insights into their habitats, the challenges they face, and the efforts being made to ensure their survival. It’s an immersive experience that highlights the significance of each species in maintaining the balance of our ecosystem.

Salmon Days - Issaquah's Salmon Festival

Gear up for an unforgettable weekend at Washington state’s premier 2-day event! This October 7th & 8th, 2023, Issaquah invites you to the 54th Annual Salmon Days Festival, a spectacular celebration of the salmon’s return. Welcoming thousands of guests annually, this festival boasts over 300 artisans, 40 food vendors, exciting Dock Dogs competitions, live music, and a beer and wine garden for the adults. It’s a kid-friendly extravaganza with plenty of activities for the little ones, including hatchery tours, fun runs, sidewalk chalk contests, and a colorful parade. The local Kiwanis Club will also be hosting a mouthwatering alder-grilled salmon barbecue. Don’t miss out on this family-friendly fun at the Salmon Days Festival in Issaquah!

When is the Salmon Season?

The peak of salmon season at the Issaquah Hatchery occurs in September and October, drawing over 20,000 adult Chinook salmon back to their birthplace. The best time to experience the awe-inspiring sight of salmon swimming upstream is from late September to early October, during the salmon run — the year’s prime viewing window.

On-site volunteers are available at the viewing windows to provide information and answer any questions about the salmon. Additionally, with a small donation, visitors get the chance to feed the juvenile salmon in the pools, allowing for a direct interaction with the hatchery’s residents.

The hatchery features a top-notch education center, where a self-guided tour details the salmon raising and releasing process, aimed at bolstering salmon numbers. This tour, along with several educational exhibits on the salmon run, offers an intriguing learning opportunity for visitors of all ages. Make sure to visit the walking bridge across the stream for an unparalleled view of the salmon in their natural environment.

Why Visit?

Educational Fun: The hatchery provides a unique educational experience that is both fun and informative, making learning about nature and conservation exciting for kids.

Interactive Learning: With guided tours, hands-on exhibits, and the chance to see salmon up close, it’s an interactive way to engage with wildlife and understand the importance of environmental stewardship.

A Call to Action: Visiting the hatchery is a call to action, inspiring families to contribute to the preservation of our planet for future generations. It’s an opportunity to join a community dedicated to making a difference.

Plan Your Visit

Before heading out, check the FISH website for the latest information on tour schedules, special events, and educational programs. The hatchery is open year-round, with the salmon spawning season in the fall offering an especially memorable experience. Admission is free, making it an accessible and enriching outing for families.

Is There Parking?

There are two parking lots at the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery. The primary parking lot can be found at the second entrance on Sunset Way as you head West. Should this lot be full, overflow parking is readily available at the first entrance. During the bustling September-October season, if parking still seems elusive, there’s additional space in a parking structure located across the street, adjacent to the library on Sunset Way.

Join the Effort

Beyond a day of exploration, the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery invites visitors to join in their mission to protect and advocate for salmon. Through volunteer opportunities, educational programs, and community events, FISH provides meaningful ways to contribute to the conservation efforts and ensure the legacy of the salmon continues for generations to come.

Embark on a journey to the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery and immerse your family in the marvels of nature. It’s not just a visit; it’s an adventure into the heart of the Pacific Northwest’s ecological wonder, fostering a deep-seated love and respect for the environment and the majestic salmon that call it home.

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