WaterLife Discovery Center

History of the WaterLife Discovery Center

The Sandpoint Fish Hatchery was built in 1909 by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game with partial funding from Bonner County sportsmen. The hatchery is located on the Pend Oreille River, near Sandpoint, Idaho. 

Spring water from a neighboring property is piped underground to supply water for the hatchery and fish raceways. Because the water is too cold for efficient aquaculture, the hatchery has been used primarily as a summer redistribution facility for rainbow trout.

In the mid 1990s, Fish and Game met with concerned citizens and community groups to discuss options for the historic hatchery. The community wanted a place for people, young and old, to understand the role water plays in shaping our environment. They needed a place to promote environmentally sound stewardship of our water resources. The idea for an outdoor aquatic education center began to develop.

Today, a partnership between Idaho Fish and Game, the Idaho Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and the local community has created the WaterLife Discovery Center.


To host a self-guided educational facility providing an enjoyable outdoor recreational experience for people of all ages to better understand and appreciate the importance of water in nature.

The WaterLife Discovery Center’s unique exhibits will engage visitors, young and old, in direct discovery as they learn about Idaho’s fish, wildlife, wetlands and forests and the importance of conserving these natural resources. Inspiring responsible use and enjoyment of Pend Oreille is at the heart of the WaterLife Discovery Center’s mission.

The WaterLife Discovery Center provides a valuable resource for teachers, students, and families from northern Idaho, eastern Washington, and western Montana. The Center is becoming a place for students and families to connect with their natural world and ultimately learn about their own roles in nature. They will come to understand how their lifestyles and choices affect the world around them.

The area includes:

  • A living stream
  • A riparian trail with interpretive information
  • Exhibits
  • Fish identification information
  • Endangered species displays highlighting Bull Trout
  • Identification of plant species
  • Landscaping for wildlife

For more information, please contact:

Idaho Fish and Game
2885 Kathleen Avenue
Coeur d’Alene, ID 83815
(208) 769-1414



Contact WaterLife Discovery Center

Idaho Department of Fish and Game
PO Box 2254
Boise, Idaho  83701-2254
Phone: (208) 769-1414
Fax: (208) 769-1418


Service Area

Services provided in:
  • Bonner County, Idaho

Office Locaters

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