Rice Museum of Rocks and Minerals

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What’s to Love:  While certainly an unusual location and facility, the Rice Museum of Rocks and Minerals offers kids and families a unique opportunity to view an expansive geological collection. Yes, it’s in a house, but don’t let that deter you from taking a visit out to Hillsboro.

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Portland Japanese Garden

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What’s to Love: My wife and I visited the Japanese Garden when we first moved to Portland around 1999-2000. It was nice…pleasant for sure. Fast forward to 2017 with a new 33.5 million “Cultural Crossing Expansion,” and Portland has a new can’t miss destination for the whole family!

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Forge Parkour

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Forge ParkourWhat’s to Love:  I’ve been writing articles for Portland Family Adventures since 2007, and I’ve never seen such a beautiful facility built from scratch. Owner Austin Schatz’s father is an architect and did the design work – it’s phenomenal! From the outside, it has a futuristic look, which fits well with the evolving nature of Parkour. Inside, you’ll find a state-of-the-art facility where both adults and kids can explore the many obstacles, boxes, walls, ramps, bars, etc.

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Skyhook Ninja Fitness

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What’s to Love: Billed as “Portland’s Premier Ninja Warrior Gym,” Skyhook Ninja Fitness (SNF) brings fitness into the future by offering obstacles that involve strength, dexterity, finesse, stamina, and brain power. Running a course and/or practicing skills and obstacles is a total body workout, and most of all, it’s REALLY FUN! This is the ideal place for an entire family to workout together. I visited recently with my two sons (ages 8 and 13) during an “open gym,” and we all had a blast creating our own mini-courses, practicing front-flip progressions, jumping on the trampolines, and climbing. If your family likes the show American Ninja Warrior (ANW), get in your car and head over to SNF immediately!

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World of Speed

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What’s to Love: A car museum out in Wilsonville, Oregon? I have to admit, it took me a long time to visit this unassuming museum located off I-5. I was a bit skeptical of what I might find. My wife and younger son visited years ago. They both loved it, but I never got around to a visit. I’m glad I did! The World of Speed is a beautiful, clean, and exceptional museum featuring incredible cars, motorcycles, interesting exhibits, hands-on simulators, and all located only 20 minutes from Portland. If your kids are interested in cars, you’ll want to put this museum on your to do list.

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Portland Rock Gym – Private Guiding

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What’s to Love:  A couple of years ago, I wrote an article called “Gym to Crag,” where I highlighted Portland Rock Gym’s (PRG) excellent outdoor climbing program that is specifically designed to get indoor climbers out on real rock. By heading out to local crags, climbers can start to build an appreciation and love for the environment, what it takes to maintain crags, how to climb responsibly, and definitely gain a new appreciation for the grade of 5.9+. For those of you who want to “kick it up a notch” and personalize your outdoor fun, or who want to take the whole family out, I recommend hiring a private guide at Portland Rock Gym.

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The Toy Trains – 2015 & 2016 Shows!

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Come and check-out my band the Toy Trains’ (Facebook) 2015/2016 shows at Mississippi Pizza Pub! We’ve been at this since 2005 – playing music for the whole family.

Listen to our entire Debut CD: http://thetoytrains.bandcamp.com/

All shows (4PM – 5PM) and $5/adult and EVERY 3rd Saturday of the month.

Saturday, September 19th
Saturday, October 17th
Saturday, November 21st
Saturday, December 19th
Saturday, January 16th
Saturday, February 20th
Saturday, March 19th
Saturday, April 16th
Saturday, May 21st

Come and see us sometime!


Butte Creek Falls

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IMG_2280What’s to Love: By far the best waterfall swimming I’ve had in Oregon period. It’s off the beaten path a bit, but it’s a lovely drive through Oregon farm country and only about an hour from downtown Portland. It’s the type of place you want to keep a secret, but since it was already published in Portland Monthly (and other publications), I thought I’d join the club.

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Wild Waves Theme Park

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IMG_2212What’s to Love: Another place it’s taken me forever to visit! I don’t know how many times I’ve passed Wild Waves on my way north to Seattle. I’m sure you’ve all seen it, especially if you have kids. The roller coasters and huge water slides are hard to miss, even speeding by on I-5. While it lacks the charm of Enchanted Forest, and the extreme cleanliness of Disney Parks, I was still impressed and look forward to our next family visit.

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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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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. Check out this review of pizza pans from Janeskitchenmiracles.com.

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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. Get your kids the best shoes to run and ride. Check out this review at RunnerClick.com.

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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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White River Sno-Park (West)

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IMG_0051What’s to Love:  I recently asked for a sledding recommendation on the Portland Family Adventures’ Facebook page. White River Snowpark, located about 6 miles north of Government Camp on Hwy 35, was the unanimous winner! With such accolades, I had to go check it out with my family – we were not disappointed. While many great areas exist for sledding, hiking and/or snowshoeing in winter, this may be the best of the best.

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Eagle Landing Golf Course

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Eagle Landing Golf CourseWhat’s to Love:  Do you want a private golfing experience MINUS the private club? Eagle Landing Golf Course has a beautiful public facility featuring 36 holes (two 18-hole courses!) of the best, and most picturesque, miniature golf in Portland. Couple that with 27 holes of stellar par-three-golf, and you have an outing that is just right for the whole family.

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