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Punch Bowl Social

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IMG_2019What’s to Love:  Punch Bowl Social is not a local company, and it’s located in the Pioneer Place Mall in downtown Portland. To many Portlanders, this may be two strikes against this national brand. I have to admit, the first time I headed over to scope-out the place for a possible article, I was skeptical. On my two visits to Punch Bowl Social, I observed a super clean space that provides indoor activities for a range of ages, and it’s definitely worth checking-out, especially for families.

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Wilsonville Family Fun Center & Bullwinkle’s Restaurant

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Frog Hopper Ride with Kidopolis Indoor Playland Play Structure in the backgroundWhat’s to Love: We’ve been going to the Family Fun Center for the past 8+ years, and it remains one of our absolute favorite destinations. I cannot say enough good things about the place. The staff members are friendly and responsive, the entire place is clean, there are SO MANY options for fun both indoor and outdoor, and they continually upgrade the attractions. Since we first went back in 2007, they’ve added a Sky Trail ropes course, Soaring Eagle Zipline, a new Kidopolis playland, cool new arcade and video games, and the awesome XD Dark Ride. Check out all the attractions here.

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Hiking Lower Macleay Park to Pittock Mansion

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IMG_1854What’s to Love:  This is an area classic! It’s a challenging 5 to 5.5 miles round trip, depending on a couple factors. There are also many options from the Lower Macleay trailhead. Check-out this hike I suggested in an article back in 2007 – it’s a 2 mile loop that is much better for younger kids. However, if your kids are up for a stiff challenge, the hike up to Pittock Mansion from Lower Macleay is a step up on the Forest Park hiking scale. Since it’s an “out-and-back,” you can always turn around if your kids revolt.

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Ultrazone: Portland’s Best Laser Tag

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IMG_1844What’s to Love:  We recently had a birthday party for our oldest son at Ultrazone, Portland’s best laser tag venue. After a delightful experience with their party planner, staff, and facility, I must agree with their moniker. The entire experience from start to finish was well organized and fun for all. Just be warned, if you’re a parent playing with kids, you have no chance of winning a game. The kids will follow you around  and tag you every chance they get! It’s a venue where adults and kids can play safely together.

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Mississippi Pizza – Family Music!

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IMG_0244What’s to Love:  If you’re looking for a place to enjoy pizza, beer, and family-friendly music, you cannot beat Mississippi Pizza Pub (MPP). I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to get MPP on my site. I have a longtime relationship with this flagship business located on North Mississippi Avenue. It was the first venue I ever played in Portland, which was way back in 2001. At that time, my band was called “Vince Schreck & The Expendables.” Things have changed so much in the past 14 years, but what continually shines through with the MPP is their commitment to live music.

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Hiking Council Crest

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Council CrestWhat’s to Love:  From the Marquam Trail Shelter Trailhead, it’s a stiff 1.7 mile walk uphill to Council Crest Park. The trail crosses several roads, and passes closely to nearby homes. Despite the close proximity to civilization, this hike offers a nice challenge to hikers of all ages and certainly is worth doing at least once.

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Lacamas Lake Regional Park

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Lacamas Park TrailWhat’s to Love:  This 312 acre park within a mile of downtown Camas, WA offers many recreational opportunities including: bird watching, hiking, fishing, and mountain biking. We spent most of our time mountain biking the Lacamas Park Trail, which offers around six miles of trails and does a loop around Round Lake. There is also the Lacamas Heritage Trail, which is a 3.5 mile trail along the west side of Lacamas Lake.

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Outdoor Archery

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IMG_1533What’s to Love:  I have many fond memories of shooting bow and arrow as a kid. My dad made this target out of hay bales, cardboard, and canvas. We’d haul it out to the schoolyard next door and hit everything EXCEPT the target. I remember purposefully shooting arrows as high as I could up into the sky with my friend trying to catch them before the hit the ground. What were we thinking?

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Family Mountain Biking

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What’s to Love:  Before I get started with my usual format, I want to apologize for the lack of photographs.  It was raining pretty hard for our entire ride, and the camera batteries died right when we were getting started. Hopefully, I’ll get some additional photos soon! Despite that, the “EasyClimb Trail” in Cascade Locks is the perfect outing for parents who want to mountain bike with their kids. The two mile loop features a little bit of everything, EXCEPT hill climbs! There is ample parking, no fees, and plenty of signage – it’s almost impossible to get lost. I’m convinced this is the #1 option for mountain biking with young kids…period. If you think there is a better option, I’d love to hear about it.

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17 Awesome Family Games

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What’s to Love:  Adventure doesn’t always have to be something wild and crazy.  Sometimes, we simply have to use our collective imagination.  With so much attention on media, video games, and electronics, I’m wondering if anyone out there is into board/card games anymore. You know, the games that come in boxes, have a cardboard playing surface with some snazzy artwork, playing pieces, dice, and rules no one ever wants to read.  Do you remember these relics of our childhood years?

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