Laser Show Facts

How long is the laser show?

The laser light show lasts approximately 35 minutes during which time colorful images created by the lasers move back and forth across the huge surface of the dam.

Where can I view the show?

The best locations are the seating area at the Visitor Center and from the park below the Visitor Center. These areas provide an outdoor sound system.

The Town of Coulee Dam has a park —  terraced and  grassy for viewing the laser show — adjacent to the east end of the Columbia River bridge.

Other viewing spots are: from the parking lot near the dam’s Third Powerhouse, from Douglas Park in Coulee Dam; from Crown Point atop the granite cliffs above Lake Rufus Woods, access from SR174 towards Bridgeport.

The USBR broadcasts the audio portion of the laser light show nightly at 90.1 FM.

What is a laser?

Lasers are intense beams of light commonly used in medicine and defense, but now finding a niche as a high-tech, fast-moving form of entertainment. They are controlled by computers which, at Grand Coulee Dam, are encased in a glass booth displayed at the Visitor Center.

Although a single dot of light, lasers can trace an image so rapidly it appears as a solid figure to the human eye.

The term laser is actually an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. It is so commonly used now that the tradition of using capital letters for an acronym has been dropped.

How are the lasers used at Grand Coulee Dam?

As one of the largest entertainment laser projection systems in the world, the lasers at Grand Coulee Dam include two argon and two krypton beams. Argon produces blue and green light and krypton produces red light. By combining the lights through a system of mirrors, and by varying the intensity, a full spectrum of colors is produced.

What is the purpose of the show?

With the river as narrator, the laser light show at tells the story of the Columbia River and how its power was harnessed to provide multiple benefits to mankind, including electrical power, irrigation for farming and exciting recreational opportunities.

How much did the lasers cost?

The laser light program, authorized by Congress to enhance visitors’ appreciation of this federal project, cost about $785,700. The laser show is an efficient communications tool, providing information and entertainment for thousands of visitors at one time.

How big are the laser images?

Pictures are beamed at the awesome height of nearly 300 feet.

How far do the lasers project?

During shows, the laser lights are beamed between 2,000 and 4,000 feet to the surface of the dam.

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