Tuesday, December 6, 2022


North Dakota Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, ideal RV Short Stop, rest area


By Julianne G. Crane

Julianne G. Crane sharing a moment. (Jimmy Smith)
After driving several hours on the backroads of North Dakota, we found the perfect RV Short Stop and rest area. It is the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, including at the re-creation of Fort Mandan where the Corps of Discovery spent their first winter.
Immediately when entering the front doors, to the left there is an important destination for all traveling RVers–large, clean restroom facilities that are open and accessible, even when the interpretative center is closed. An entry area contains Tourist Information and handouts for North Dakota.
Jimmy Smith in the museum store (Julianne G. Crane)

Also up front before paying for admission is a nice sized Museum Store with a decent selection of literature about Lewis and Clark, and the northern plains native populations. The store also specializes in locally-made and craft-made items, featuring artwork, one-of-a-kind jewelry, clothing, and home décor.


Entrance to exhibits. (JGCrane)

The Interpretive Center features state-of-the-art exhibits with hundreds of period artifacts. Admission is $8/Adults, $5/Students.

According to the manager of the center, the “overarching theme is that this place was a center of culture and commerce that impacted lives of the many people who lived or visited the area. Through the enlightenment ideals of President Jefferson, which are woven throughout all of our exhibit galleries,” the staff hopes visitors find “something enriching to experience.”

One fact I found intriguing is that explorers William Clark and Meriwether Lewis, along with the Corps of Discovery, spent more time in what is now North Dakota than any other place on their long journey.

Artists exhibit. (L&C Center)

Rotating exhibits

“Two galleries feature rotating art and history exhibits, with a special emphasis on the cultural and artistic heritage of the Northern Plains,” according to interpretative center representatives.

Additional galleries relate the travels of Prince Maximilian and Karl Bodmer, North Dakota agriculture, and the fur trade.

Try to make time for Fort Mandan

Fort Mandan re-creation. (Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center)

The full-sized reconstructed Fort is a completely furnished replica of the fort in which the Lewis and Clark Expedition overwintered in 1804-1805. Guided tours depart at regular intervals throughout the day.

“Their stay here was characterized by the hospitality of the Mandan and Hidatsa peoples. In fact, this is where they met and built friendships with such important figures as Sacagawea, Toussaint Charbonneau, and Sheheke-Shote,” states center literature.

The Fort is open April 1 – Sept. 30; daily, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Closed Oct. 1 – March 31.

If you stop by the Interpretive Center

(Julianne G. Crane)

North Dakota Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center
576 Eighth St. SW,
Washburn, ND
Hwy 200 and US Highway 83

Open Year Round
Daily 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Closed Sundays: October-April
With a large size parking lot, there is plenty of room for RVs.

Julianne G. Crane
To read more RV lifestyle writing go to RV Wheel Life.

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