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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Club Sport Adventure Center

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DSC03884What’s to Love:  For years I’ve been hearing about Club Sport’s giant climbing walls, which are up to 45 feet tall! According to their website, Club Sport’s Adventure Center is the largest climbing facility (11, 500 square feet) in Oregon. The Center offers a nice variety of terrain including bouldering, steep lead climbing, a chimney area, slabs, and some cracks. Until last week, Club Sport’s mega walls have eluded our sending attempts. During our recent visit, we had a pleasant experience highlighted by a clean and open atmosphere featuring outstanding route setting.

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Big Al’s: Vancouver & Beaverton

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What’s to Love:  If there’s one thing I love, it’s a sparkling clean bowling alley.  You’ll definitely find it at Big Al’s and much more! This entertainment hub features plenty of lanes for public bowling, a private bowling area, a HUGE sports bar and grill, video and arcade games, bowling pro shop, and plenty of space for group events.

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Evergreen Wings & Waves Waterpark

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Wings & Waves WaterparkWhat’s to Love:  I can’t say enough good things about the entire Evergreen facility, which includes a space museum, aviation museum, digital 3D theater, and the Wings & Waves Waterpark. These are beautiful museums that will ignite your child’s imagination and fascinate the whole family.  The sheer magnitude of Evergreen astounds me.  All of these facilities are on par with anything on the national level, and believe it or not, they are located just 40 miles from Portland.  

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Stoneworks Climbing Gym

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Stoneworks GymWhat’s to Love:  This is our third update to our first visit way back in 2007. Stoneworks continues to grow by adding  bunch of new climbing, auto belays, and a “highball” bouldering area with walls up to 20 feet high. This is perhaps the friendliest gym you’ll visit on your quest to get pumped up. In addition, Stoneworks offers excellent instruction, unpretentious, and no attitude whatsoever from fellow climbers.  If you and your kids have never climbed before, Stoneworks Gym is an excellent place to learn the basics!

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Revolution Parkour

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IMG_0547What’s to Love:  “Functional Fitness” is a trendy term these days.  What does it mean?  I’m sure I could gather many definitions from practitioners, teachers, and students.  To me, it means exercising in dynamic/non-linear ways like rolling, tumbling, climbing, twisting, turning, jumping, leaping, grasping, etc.  Most importantly, the movements have to be done with a mindful intent on the technique.  Oh yeah, it MUST be fun!  It’s the type of fitness that makes you feel like a kid again.  Revolution Parkour houses one of the first Parkour Academies in the country, and after experiencing a course first-hand with my son, I can certainly attest to the “having fun” aspect.

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John’s Incredible Pizza

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John's Incredible PizzaWhat’s to Love:  Open just a couple of weeks now (Grand Opening on Tuesday, March 29th, 3PM to 9PM), we spent nearly 3-hours at John’s Incredible Pizza playing games, enjoying the rides, and eating.  This place is HUGE (46,000 square feet) with over 110 games, but it’s the little things that actually make John’s worth a visit.

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Sky High Sports – Trampolines!

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Foam Pit! Sky High SportsWhat’s to Love: Over the course of three+ years, I haven’t used a single expletive in an article.  If there ever was a time to use one to describe the sheer awesomeness of a place, it would be reserved for Sky High Sports.  Because this is a family site, I’ll leave it out, but WOW!  This place is absolutely amazing!!!  Sky High Sports has several areas (e.g., kids’, foam pit, dodge ball, private, main, etc.) of interconnected trampolines (even up the walls!) that will put a big smile on your face and push your heart rate to 175+ in a matter of seconds!

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Beaverton City Park Fountain

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Beaverton City Park FountainWhat’s to Love:  Beaverton City Park is located right next to the city library.  We first visited on a very hot day when my son was around 3 years old. As you can see in the first video clip below, he was pretty spooked-out by the vertical row of spraying jets, so he just hung out on the fringes. I literally had to pick him up and run with him through the spray. This is your basic fountain with nothing too fancy, but it certainly can cool you off on a hot day. Plus, it’s a good fountain for all ages.

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Cedar Hills Park

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Beautiful trees at Cedar Hills ParkWhat’s to Love: Cedar Hills Park is a quaint little park right off the very busy “Cedar Hills Boulevard” close to Beaverton. While the actual playground equipment is somewhat sparse, the park does have a few nice features that make it worth a visit.

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Tualatin Hills Nature Park

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What’s to Love: Tualatin Hills Nature Park (THNP) can seem like Nike’s trail running course – it’s literally in the company’s backyard. I’m usually a bit leery of a “Nature Park” in the middle of a giant suburb. However, our visit to Tualatin Hills Nature Park was perfect! The weather was fantastic, the trails were immaculate, the biking was fun and just right for a 4 year old without training wheels, and the picnic area was relaxing and quiet. I invite your comments on this wonderful park. Read more…NOTE: Just visited again on March 5 – hadn’t been there for a couple of years, and it’s still awesome!

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Waluga Park, East

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Kids’ play area at Waluga ParkWhat’s to Love: Waluga park (east off Quarry Rd.) has a quaint little playground designed specifically for kids 6 and younger. The playground has a structure for older kids, and one for younger toddlers. We just sort of stumbled onto this property by accident, and it’s worth a stop if you’re in the area. There is plenty of shade, a drinking fountain with really good water, a covered picnic area, and a paved biking path. Because it’s tucked into a wooded neighborhood, this park feels like it’s out in the country.

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Springbrook Park/Uplands Elementary

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Play structure at Uplands Elementary PlaygroundWhat’s to Love: My son and I stumbled upon this little gem while touring (outer) SW parks and playgrounds. We were headed to see “Springbrook Park,” but ended up pulling into Uplands Elementary School. We were pleasantly surprised by the awesome playground structures (see pictures). Lucky for us, there were two trailheads at opposite ends of the playground that led directly into Springbrook Park.

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