Hanford Reach Interpretive Center finally open!

RICHLAND, Wash. -- It's the end of a long wait. The Hanford Reach Interpretive Center finally opened in Richland. KEPR got a look inside among the first people who toured the museum.

This isn't just any day for Chester Lepinski. It's his 50th anniversary living in the Tri-Cities. There was no other way he'd rather spend it than reminiscing on his time here at the new Hanford Reach Interpretive Center.

"There's so many things in there that I'm associated with because like irrigation districts and that, that I worked for 25 years," said Lepinski.

The museum has been years in the making. $6,000,000 later, it finally opened.

"It's not about just Hanford. It's about the whole area around here and the Columbia River and different things. And so much diverse history about the land and how it was formed and stuff like that," said Lepinski.

Stephanie Button is the Programs and Education Coordinator. She's been planning this day for a long time.

"It's amazing. Just to be open to the community. This space is filled with people and that's what I've been wanting to see. Just people in here enjoying it, using the exhibits and the interactives. And just smiling and talking to each other. It is the most rewarding part about being open finally," said Button.

Stephanie says there is something for everybody. Whether you're interested in wildlife, Hanford, agriculture or geology or the river, there's something to see.

"I've seen people's eyes get as large as saucers and they just go WOW, this is amazing, this is really cool, I didn't know that, wonderful, I had no idea, and that just makes me so happy," she said.

Chester says he needs another visit to really take in everything.

"They did a wonderful job here and I think the Tri-Cities should be proud of it and it's a great addition to it and I hope that people come here from around the country and get a chance to stop in and see it because it's very interesting," said Lepinski.

Today's activities are still going after hours. A performance of The Sound of Music is being staged right outside the museum. That will be followed by fireworks.