What’s to Love: Location, location, location! Portland’s Children’s Museum is right next to the Oregon Zoo, Forestry Center, and Hoyt Arboretum. It’s easy to make a whole day out of a trip up to this area of Portland. The $7 admission fee can add up, but they do offer a $55 two-person membership,which is excellent if the same parent takes the child to the museum. A family membership is only $80/year and $95/year gets you the family package plus 1 guest. The museum itself was one of my favorite places to take my son 12 months to 3 years. It’s a clean a well kept – there are so many great exhibits and things to do here, and you can easily occupy an entire morning or afternoon. My son has always been partial to the kiddie shopping area where he could push around a shopping cart, grab some fake fruit and vegetables, and proceed over the the checkout lane.
Caveats: The price is fairly high ($7), which applies to all family members ages 1-54! This is where they really get you, because if both parents pay, you’re looking at $14 just walking in the door. If you have 2-3 kids, you might end-up paying $28 – $35 or more. In addition, all activities in this area will charge a $1.00 parking fee.
Website: Children’s Museum
Distance from Portland: Within 5 miles of downtown.
Recommended Ages: All ages, but older children will certainly get bored quickly. To me, it seems most appropriate for ages 1 – 7.
Physical Difficulty: Low – fully accessible
Family Fun Factor: Medium – I rate it here, because the fun for parents is mainly socializing with other parents. OMSI provides a better experience for sharing with your children.
Pet Friendly: No
Weather Considerations: Great for rainy days!
Insider Info: I prefer the Children’s Museum over OMSI for children under 2 years old. They have an area closed-off just for kids under 2, and it’s a bit more relaxed. This area keeps big kids from knocking them over, or stealing their toys. We like taking our bikes on the Max Train. After we’re done up at this area, it’s a nice downhill ride, which is suitable for confident, trailer-bike riders, or older children.
Family Tips: Avoid the $1.00 parking charge and the hassles of parking by taking the Max Train up to the the Washington Park stop. You may end up paying more for train tickets (out of fareless square), but you’ll not have to worry about parking.
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World Forestry Center on January 9th, 2008
Tualatin River Wildlife Refuge on March 7th, 2008
Jackson Bottom Wetlands on February 1st, 2011