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Mississippi Pizza – Family Music!

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IMG 0244 150x150 Mississippi Pizza   Family Music!What’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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IMG 1830 150x150 Hiking 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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The Circuit Gym – Tigard Grand Opening!

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circuit3 150x150 The Circuit Gym   Tigard Grand Opening!The Circuit’s newest location in Tigard, Oregon has been open for a few weeks now. On Saturday, August 23rd from noon to 6PM, they’ll be hosting their Grand Opening Open party with FREE CLIMBING ALL DAY!

circuit2 150x150 The Circuit Gym   Tigard Grand Opening!So much more as well including:

circuit1 150x150 The Circuit Gym   Tigard Grand Opening!Pull-up contest
Slackline demo
5 punch pass giveaways
Raffle benefiting Good Neighbor Center
Shoe demo
Live music
Free mini-yoga classes
Local beer

Free food
30% off 10-punch passes

circuit4 150x150 The Circuit Gym   Tigard Grand Opening!We’ve been to the new gym four or five times now, and it’s an incredible facility with a lot more room for all. The kids terrain is fantastic!

Lacamas Lake Regional Park

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IMG 1587 150x150 Lacamas Lake Regional ParkWhat’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 1533 150x150 Outdoor ArcheryWhat’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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Portland Rock Gym Summer Camp!

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prg promo4 Portland Rock Gym Summer Camp!Are you getting your kids all signed-up for various summer camps? Certainly, you’ll want to check-in with them about Portland Rock Gym’s Summer Climbing Camps. My kids have attended this camp, and they’ve had a blast. This year, they’ve added a camp that will include both indoor and outdoor climbing! Follow the link above and browse their schedule.

In addition, you can print the coupon below to save either $30 on registration, 20% off each youth sign-up after the first, OR 20% for camp alumni (cannot combine discounts). If you click it, it will open in a new window, where it will be easier to print.

prg promo2 Portland Rock Gym Summer Camp!










prg promo5 Portland Rock Gym Summer Camp!

prg promo3 Portland Rock Gym Summer Camp!

Circuit Gym Coming to Tigard

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circuit2 150x150 Circuit Gym Coming to Tigard

Photo Credit: Rich Crowder Photography

If you follow Portland Family Adventures, you’ll know that we’re a family of climbers. One of our favorite places for climbing is The Circuit Gym – currently in two locations NE Portland and SW Portland. Our 10 year old son Rhys is on their competitive climbing team “The Circuit Breakers.” We spend a lot of time at both gyms, and we are very excited about their newest gym (currently in construction) located in Tigard at 16255 SW Upper Boones Ferry Rd.

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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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Kids Adventure Games

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K fullcolor 150x150 Kids Adventure GamesThis adventure race series for kids looks really fun!  Check-out the details below from their press release.

Registration is under way for the 2014 Kids Adventure Games, the premier race for children ages six to 14 that features teams of two competing in mountain biking, hiking, zip lines, a Tarzan rope swing, giant Slope-n-Slide, cargo nets, mud pits and more. The race is scheduled for Sunday, July 6th at Mt Hood Skibowl as part of a new, exciting eight-race series, the Kids Adventure Games, taking place at various locations across the nation. Event details are as follows:

To accommodate different racing abilities, younger or beginner racers will compete on a short course. Older racers will compete on a longer, course with more challenging obstacles. Cost for the race is $120 per team of two through June 1. After that date, the cost increases to $150 until registration ends on June 28 or the race is full. Last year’s race in Vail, Colorado sold out with a 30 team waiting list, so racers are encouraged to register early. Online registration is available on

Clinics will offer opportunities for racers to learn and improve their skills on Saturday, July 5. Clinics feature teamwork, race-day preparation, climbing and mountain biking. Clinics also sold out during last year’s event so early registration is encouraged. Cost for the clinics is $50 per child. Participants must register as a team. No incomplete registrations will be accepted. All participants will receive cool SWAG from the event sponsors.

The Kids Adventure Games was founded in 2009 by Hélène and Billy Mattison, with one event in Vail. After five successful summer events, NRG Marketing joined forces with the Mattson’s to expand the Kids Adventure Games on a national level. According to KAG organizer Billy Mattison, an experienced adventure racer who has competed and won major adventure races throughout the world, he created an event that would teach teamwork, independence, problem solving and fun. He says he’s thrilled to take the event nation-wide and allow even more kids the opportunity to challenge themselves and their friends while having a true adventure and an incredible time.

“Mt Hood Skibowl is a perfect venue for the Kids Adventure Games and we are proud to partner with them this summer. They share our passion to provide kids the opportunity to learn, grow, thrive, be adventurous and most importantly, have fun.” For more information on the Kids Adventure Games go to  Check-out their awesome promotional video for the event.

Summer Adventure Trips

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Dear Readers,

Summer is right around the corner! It’s going to be outdoor adventure time soon. Have you been thinking about taking your family on an adventure that might need some professional guidance?  If so, I would like to introduce you to Harry Apelbaum, outdoor enthusiast and co-founder of Cascadia Expeditions (Facebook too!).  Harry and co-founder Brett Gallagher have assembled a top-notch crew to provide climbing and rafting adventures in the Pacific Northwest.  If your family is interested in a fully guided trip, either single day or multi-day, read on and learn more about Harry and Cascadia Expeditions.  Also, please take a moment to respond to our quick poll at the end of the interview!

harry Summer Adventure Trips

Harry Apelbaum of Cascadia Expeditions









PFA: Harry, please tell our readers a little bit about yourself and how you got Cascadia Expeditions started.

I grew up fishing and playing outside in the Midwest and loved every second. I moved west when I turned 18 and spent many years working for different organizations and Wilderness Programs. I have amazing memories taking kids rafting, climbing, backpacking, surfing, and mountain biking for weeks at a time.

Unfortunately, the most recent program I worked for had to close their doors a few years back. Selfishly though, there was a silver lining and I was presented with an opportunity to purchase a good amount of liquidated gear. Brett and I were both working as supervisors at the time and we couldn’t resist the challenge to start our own program that fell in line with our biggest values. And so it began. I emptied my savings account, convinced my partner Jennie it wasn’t a horrible idea, and went for it! Although I’ve wanted to disappear to a tropical island at times, I have not regretted one moment thus far.

PFA: Describe some of the trips that Cascadia has put together in the past?  What is on the calendar for this coming summer?

We run trips for various non-profit organizations and private groups. Last year our most exciting outings were rafting on the Deschutes, Clackamas, North Santiam and Grande Ronde Rivers. We also took a group of homeless youth rock climbing near Portland and took another group of kids climbing outside of Corvallis. Another favorite was an all-women rafting campout that was an absolute shindig!   

This summer we are offering open-enrollment trips for families and anyone interested in getting outdoors. We have whitewater rafting trips, combo adventures, and specialty adventures such as Twilight floats on the Sandy River and yoga/rafting adventures.

PFA: How can you ensure family safety on these trips?  What type of certifications do you have to do this type of work?

Adventure activities inherently possess risk. But with proper training and experience, the risk can be reduced substantially. All our guides are trained in First Aid and CPR and our lead guides are certified as Wilderness First Responders, an extensive 10-day medical certification. Our lead river guides have Swift-water Rescue certifications. Brett and I are risk managers and safety is our number one priority. And we offer everything from heart pounding class IV rapids on the Klamath River to mellow floats on the Sandy. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions about safety or risk.

PFA: If people are a bit timid about going rafting, what trip do you suggest?  What river trip do you suggest if they want to kick it up a notch?

The Clackamas and Sandy rivers offer mellow scenic day floats in nature. The John Day and Grande Ronde Rivers offer mellow multi-day floats. The North Santiam and Deschutes are a step above—there are some really adventurous and fun rapids, but nothing too extreme. Both are great for kids due to a higher “perceived risk”, but pretty low “actual risk”. And the Klamath River in Northern California has bigger rapids and can be done in 3-5 days.

PFA: Are you able to customize a trip if a couple of families wanted to go together?  What would that process look like?

Absolutely! Depending on the adventure, we have certain minimums, but we really love doing this! After we hear your needs and what you’re excited about we’ll write up a proposal that outlines all the details. We will work with you in person and over the phone to make sure you are getting what you expect. 

PFA: What is a good age to introduce kids to climbing and/or rafting?

I think kids can climb or raft when they can walk! But, for the sake of our adventures, it really just depends. I’ve seen 6 year olds have a great time and I’ve seen 15 year olds hate it. We recommend your kids are at least able to not go crazy being in a raft for a few hours (for your sake, not ours!). And for class III and above rivers, I recommend your kids are at least 10 years old and aren’t absolutely terrified of water. That being said, we can always put together a mellow float for anyone! For climbing, it really depends on how much adrenaline your kids enjoy. I’ve been climbing with very little kids who love it and been climbing with teenagers that get bored or terrified. As a general recommendation, I think 8 year olds are old enough to enjoy being up high on the rocks. Overall, please call us to discuss this if you aren’t quite sure. We’re happy to help, even if you aren’t coming on a trip with us.   

PFA: Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about Cascadia Expeditions?

We are very open owners, so please don’t hold back with any questions at all. We are here to help you decide which adventure is right for your family, if any. You can view upcoming trips and us at and on Facebook at I hope to see you out there! And enjoy whatever adventures you and your family take on this summer!

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