There are loads of reasons to visit Portland Oregon, from its laid-back vibe to its vibrant art, music and food scenes, but Portland also makes a great option for a fun family getaway. With a variety of kid-friendly attractions and activities, there’s never a dull moment in the City of Roses. Discover these seven amazing places to visit in Portland with kids.
With a boatload of fun things to do, Washington Park often makes the first stop for families visiting Portland. Located just west of downtown in the Arlington Heights district, the park features lawns and gardens spanning 130 acres, a variety of paved and unpaved pathways, a bevy of museums, the Oregon Zoo and one of the top playgrounds in the city. Even more amenities for daylong enjoyment include a picnic shelter, a soccer field, a tennis court and public restrooms.
Founded in 1888, the Oregon Zoo is the oldest zoo in the western part of the country. Situated at the southern edge of Washington Park, the 64-acre facility plays home to over 2,200 animals. Exhibits like the African Savannah, Elephant Lands, Condors of the Columbia and Polar Bears allow visitors to learn about different parts of the world through animals.
The facility also offers a special summer concert series, a winter holiday light show and other holiday and seasonal events. For a quick and fun way to explore the zoo, board the Washington Park and Zoo Railway.
Portland Children’s Museum
Also located in Washington Park adjacent to the zoo, The Portland Children’s Museum offers a variety of hands-on exhibits for children inspired by the arts and sciences. At Building Bridgetown, little ones construct walls and tear them down, and at Groundwork, it’s all about digging and shoveling. Budding veterinarians “doctor” stuffed animals at the Pet Hospital, and children enjoy getting lost in the outdoor Zany Maze created from kid-sized hedges. For even more fun, kids enjoy a theater area, a tree house for reading, a pretend supermarket and other exhibits.
Oregon Museum of Science and Industry
Located on the banks of the Willamette River on Portland’s central east side, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry attracts kids and kids at heart with fun and educational exhibits. Learn all you need to know about Egyptian pharaohs at The Discovery of King Tut, create solutions to real-world problems at Designing Our World and head to Innovation Station to build a machine that flies. For even more fun, your family can see a real navy submarine, explore the stars at the planetarium and take in a flick on a giant screen at the museum theater.
Portland Aerial Tram
For a birds-eye view of the city, the Portland Aerial Tram carries passengers between the South Waterfront and the Marquam Hill neighborhoods. Rising 500 feet above the city, riders enjoy spectacular views, and the summit at Marquam Hill promises fun hiking trails and a coffee shop serving up light meals, snacks and beverages. Two enclosed cabins offer seating for 79 people and the tram departs every few minutes.
In Northwest Portland along the hillside bordering the Willamette River, Forest Park offers over 5,000 acres of natural beauty for hiking, biking, horseback riding and wildlife watching. The Forest Park Conservancy also hosts guided discovery hikes and an all-trails challenge for visitors as well as the annual Forest Park Marathon held in August.
Portland Saturday Market
When it comes to fun, outdoor attractions for families, the Portland Saturday Market always makes the list. Open every weekend from March through Christmas Eve, this arts-and-crafts fair in Portland’s historic Old Town neighborhood attracts more than 750,000 visitors each year. In addition to shopping for locally-made products, visitors can listen to live music and dine on tasty street food.
See the delight in your kids’ eyes as they watch puppets, acrobats and costumed performers on stage at different theaters. Younger kids love plays based on classic stories they’re already familiar with. Older kids are absorbed by plays about world affairs. Costumed acrobatic dancers delight all ages as do the large marionettes that have their own production stage.
When I Grow Up Experiences
Do your kids yearn to be something in particular when they grow up? Portland has great attractions to let them test their future careers. At the Historic Belmont Firehouse, they’ll slide down a fire pole, see a steam-powered fire wagon that’s a hundred years old and sit in a real fire truck cab.
If you’re planning a fun family getaway, consider traveling to Portland, Oregon. With a zoo, museums and parks, Portland keeps families entertained.