From Oregon Zoo’s train ride to the dazzling display of a million and half lights featured in its annual Zoo Lights Winter Festival and its jam-packed Summer Concert series there’s lots to take in at the Zoo.   And that’s before we even get to its world class animal conservation program!  The Oregon Zoo offers fun family activities all year around!

Experience the simple joys of a color-filled stroll through the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden play in one of the city’s many public fountains or enjoy nighttime Cosmic tubing with the kids on Mt. Hood. Test your wheels at America’s largest (and best) roller skating rink located in one of the 10 oldest amusement parks in the country or walk through the nursery rhymes of your childhood at the Enchanted Forest.

Learn about art science space and more at one of the many area museums like the combination Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum (which doubles as a water park) where you can see the Spruce Goose and watch a movie from the pool – or keep it low key with a cup of Chinese high tea at the beautiful Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland’s Old Town/Chinatown. No matter what you’re into you’ll definitely have a blast enjoying all the Portland area has to offer.

For an overview of kid-friendly activities and attractions check out Travel Portland’s lineup at


Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden
SE 28th Avenue & Woodstock Boulevard
Portland OR 97202

This manicured highly managed garden nearly surrounded by Crystal Springs Lake has an outstanding collection of rhododendrons azaleas and other lesser-known ericaceous plants as well as many companion plants and unusual trees. Admission is free to all from the day after Labor Day through the month of February. A $4 admission fee is charged between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday March through Labor Day. Admission is free for children under 12.

Enchanted Forest
8462 Enchanted Way SE
Turner OR 97392

Oregon’s premier theme park of fun and amusement. Visit a world of fantasy in the beautiful lush forest of this land of enchantment. Home of Big Timber Log Ride the biggest log ride in the northwest. The park has kept its original handcrafted feel and lush forested beauty with the Western Town Summer Comedy Theatre English Village home to the Fantasy Fountains water-light show while offering both kid-friendly and adult rides. Mondor’s Challenge is an indoor ride that keeps score as riders battle dragons and monsters to save the day.

Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum/Wings & Waves Waterpark
500 NE Captain Michael King Smith Way
McMinnville OR 97128

The Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum seeks to inspire and educate promote and preserve aviation and space history and honor the patriotic service of our veterans. With displays ranging from the elegant aeronautic designs of two unknown bike mechanics – Orville and Wilbur Wright – to an actual Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird that can fly at speeds of over 2000 miles per hour the  McMinnville museum has a little something for everyone. The centerpiece of these aeronautic breakthroughs is the original Spruce Goose built entirely of wood due to wartime restrictions on metals which stands as a symbol of American industry during World War II.

For many kids the museum’s biggest attraction is the unique Wings & Waves Waterpark an indoor all-season 70000-square-foot space topped by a massive Evergreen International Aviation B747-100 aircraft. The educational waterpark teaches visitors about the power of water and its effects on society and also entertains them with 10 water slides of various sizes a wave pool and a children’s museum.

Forest Park
NW 29th Avenue & Upshur Street to Newberry Road
Portland OR 97231

An abundance of wildlife can be found in Forest Park – the largest urban park in the country. Forest Park’s extensive system of trails fire lanes and gravel roads provide excellent opportunities for hiking walking running and simply escaping the urban atmosphere. The 30-mile Wildwood Trail in Forest Park is part of the region’s 40-Mile Loop trail system that links Forest Park to pedestrian and trail routes along the Columbia River to Gresham through southeast Portland along the Willamette Greenway and back to the Marquam Trail in southwest Portland.

Fort Vancouver
1501 East Evergreen Boulevard
Vancouver WA 98661

Once home to both fur traders and fighter pilots Fort Vancouver offers an authentic look at life in the Pacific Northwest through the past 200 years. Located just across the Columbia River from Portland in Vancouver the region’s only national historic site is centered around a complete replica of Fort Vancouver the fur-trading camp founded by the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1825.

The fort served as the company’s headquarters west of the Rockies and housed the Northwest’s first hospital school saw mill shipyard and more. Today visitors can see authentic demonstrations of period blacksmithing carpentry cooking and baking.

Begin your visit to the 366-acre campus with a stop at the visitor center where National Park Service staff launch group tours and offer tips on exploring the site on your own. The center’s short introductory film “One Place Across Time” also provides great context for enjoying the area’s rich history.

The site includes the Pearson Air Museum dedicated to the location’s military history from the establishment of the Vancouver Barracks in 1849 to the shipyards of WWII. Round out your trip with a stroll along Officer’s Row a stretch of 21 fully restored 19th-century homes. Stop for lunch at the Grant House the barracks’ oldest existing building now an excellent restaurant.

Every summer Fort Vancouver hosts a star-spangled Independence Day fireworks display — the largest one west of the Mississippi.

iFly Indoor Skydiving
10655 SW Greenburg Road
Tigard OR 97223

iFLY is an indoor skydiving experience that creates true freefall conditions just like skydiving without having to jump out of an airplane. iFLY’s vertical wind tunnel generates a wall-to-wall cushion of air on which you safely float. There’s no parachute no jumping and nothing attaching you to planet Earth. It’s just you and the air and an incredible adrenaline rush. No experience is necessary. Just about anyone can fly including those with physical disabilities. Children as young as 3 to adults as young as 103 have flown with iFLY. There are only a few exceptions—for example if you’ve dislocated a shoulder or have had a neck injury.

Lan Su Chinese Garden
239 N.W. Everett Street
Portland OR 97209

A year-round wonder the Lan Su Chinese Garden is an authentic Ming Dynasty style garden built by Suzhou artisans that takes up an entire block of the city’s historic Chinatown district. Since the garden’s opening in 2000 its covered walkways bridges open colonnades pavilions and richly planted landscape framing the man-made Zither Lake have created an urban oasis of tranquil beauty and harmony. It’s an inspiring serene setting for meditation quiet thought and tea served at The Tao of Tea in the Tower of Cosmic Reflections as well as public tours of the grounds led by expert horticulturalists.

Though the grounds provide a peaceful escape periodic events give the garden a festive atmosphere. Over a span of two weeks each winter Lan Su’s Chinese New Year Celebration packs the calendar full of festivities that explore the culture and history of the Eastern holiday. Beginning on the final day of the last month of the Chinese calendar (typically late January or early February) the festivities include paper lantern viewings calligraphy demonstrations and lion dance performances.

In the summertime the Tuesdays by Twilight concert series brings a variety of music to the gorgeous garden. Running over five consecutive Tuesdays the open-air performances include a range of styles from authentic Chinese music and dance to jazz tango and even African pop. The event is held after the garden closes for the evening and beer wine and box dinners from some of the city’s best Asian restaurants are available served lakeside in the garden’s pristine setting.

The Lumberyard Indoor Bike Park
2700 NE 82nd Avenue
Portland OR 97220

The Lumberyard Portland’s unique indoor bike park includes jump lines pump tracks skill sections and technical trail riding for beginners to experts. The Lumberyard offers programming for all ages and abilities including skill-building clinics to improve technical riding bike handling after school programs for kids and summer camps all summer long.

Mt. Hood Skibowl Winter Resort & Summer Adventure Park
Government Camp OR 97028

In the winter Mt. Hood Skibowl offers “the most night skiing terrain in North America” according to Ski Magazine the closest skiing to Portland and some of the most advanced terrain on Mt. Hood. Skibowl also offers lift-assisted tubing kiddy snowmobiles and horse drawn sleigh rides.

The Summer Adventure Park offers more than 20 attractions. Activities include: scenic Sky-Chair rides interpretive hikes lift-served mountain biking the Northwest’s only half-mile dual Alpine Slide IndyKarts Bungee Tower Reverse Bungee Disc Golf and much more.

North Clackamas Aquatic Park
7300 SE Harmony Road
Milwaukie OR 97222

The North Clackamas Aquatic Park features a 400000 gallon wave swimming pool 3 water slides a 29′ rock climbing wall a toddler splash zone six-lane lap pool and a 13-foot diving well. Surf the 3-foot waves zip down the water slides play in the fountains swim or take a dive. Open year-round.

Oaks Amusement Park & Roller Skating Rink
7805 SE Oaks Park Way
Portland OR 97202

Rides go-carts roller skating picnic grounds an historic dance pavilion and waterfront views make up this jewel of an amusement park only minutes from downtown Portland. Safe wholesome affordable family fun is always on the menu along with fries hamburgers corn dogs cotton candy and more—or bring your own food for a picnic! Families can come for a whole day of fun without breaking the bank at one of the oldest continuously operating amusement park in the country.

Oregon Coast Aquarium
2820 SE Ferry Slip Road
Newport OR 97365

No visit to Newport is complete without a stop at the Oregon Coast Aquarium overlooking scenic Yaquina Bay just south of Newport’s iconic bridge. The Aquarium strives to be a center of excellence for ocean literacy and fun and plays an active role in conservation education and animal rehabilitation efforts.  Sea otters sharks puffins jellies and octopuses are just a few of the 15000 animals that call the Aquarium home. The Aquarium’s world-class indoor and outdoor exhibits have earned the facility consistent recognition as one of the top ten aquariums in the country.

Oregon Historical Society Museum
1200 SW Park Avenue
Portland OR 97205

Explore Oregon’s fascinating history at the Oregon History Museum located at the Oregon Historical Society on downtown’s South Park Blocks across from the Portland Art Museum.

The museum’s collection includes more than 85000 pieces including Native American artifacts memorabilia from Portland’s 1905 Lewis and Clark Exposition and the “Portland Penny” — the very coin tossed in the air by city founders Asa Lovejoy (from Boston MA) and Francis Pettygrove (of Portland ME) to determine which of their hometowns would be the new city’s namesake. “Portland” beat “Boston” on two out of the three tosses.

The museum features many permanent and rotating exhibits covering local history both before and after Oregon became a state in 1859. One of the most popular exhibits is the award-winning “Oregon My Oregon” which tells the state’s story from the region’s earliest inhabitants through the Oregon Trail period and early settlements and industries. Although there is plenty of Oregon-specific content other featured exhibits have included national themes like “Windows on America” a world-class collection of presidential history and artifacts.

Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI)
1945 SE Water Avenue
Portland OR 97214

With a planetarium an giant-screen theater a retired navy submarine (the USS Blueback is docked in the river right outside) traveling exhibits of all kinds and “After Dark” events that pair science talk with beer and wine for the 21-and-over set the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry has lures for all ages.

But its core fan base is still the half-pints who can feel an earthquake and learn about physics in Turbine Hall conduct their own experiments in the interactive labs or watch storms form on a giant globe. The hands-on Science Playground is designed for kids 6 and under and thankfully the splash area has adult-size waterproof aprons in case Mom and Dad want to get in on the fun without getting soaked.

The renovated Theory Café takes museum fare to the next level with goodies like oven-fired pizza local beer sliders and quinoa salad that can be enjoyed with Willamette River views. There’s even a tap list for adults.

Just across the river from downtown OMSI keeps getting easier to get to. A wide sidewalk and well-marked pedestrian/bike lanes make the Hawthorne Bridge an easy stroll and the Portland Streetcar’s Central Loop drops passengers a short walk from the museum’s front door.

Oregon Rail Heritage Center
2250 SE Water Avenue
Portland OR 97214

Bordered by three modern rail lines — the Portland Streetcar Union Pacific and Oregon Pacific — the Oregon Rail Heritage Center celebrates trains of the past.

Opened in September 2012 the free volunteer-run museum’s modern exhibit space showcases three vintage steam locomotives (two of which still run) including the streamlined Southern Pacific Daylight Locomotive 4449 which traveled between Los Angeles and San Francisco in the 1940s and pulled the American Freedom Train that toured the nation for the 1976 Bicentennial.

In addition to as a year-round slate of exhibits and events train lovers also have the chance to book rides aboard ORHC’s December “Holiday Express” which boards in Oaks Park and travels along the Willamette River.

Oregon Zoo
4001 SW Canyon Road
Portland OR 97221

At the Oregon Zoo you can see the world in an afternoon—it’s home to more than 2000 animals from around the world. Renowned for its conservation work and elephant breeding program the zoo houses 21 endangered species and more than 30 threatened species. Award-winning exhibits summer concerts special events and a scenic train route help draw 1.6 million visitors to the zoo each year.

The zoo is located in Washington Park five minutes from downtown on Highway 26 West or about 10 minutes via MAX light rail (Blue or Red line Washington Park stop). Open daily; admission charged.

Pioneer Courthouse Square
701 SW Sixth Avenue
Portland OR 97205

Located in the heart of downtown Portland Pioneer Courthouse Square is affectionately known as the city’s “living room.” Once a grim parking structure the square is now a thriving urban park and the single most-visited site in Oregon attracting more than 9.5 million visitors annually. The square’s on-site resources include the Travel Portland Visitor Information Center and the TriMet public transit ticket office. Nearby you’ll often find the green-clad Sidewalk Ambassadors eager to help with directions advice and information about downtown.

Named after the Pioneer Courthouse (the Pacific Northwest’s oldest federal building) located on the public space’s eastern side the square began as the Portland Hotel in 1890. In 1950 the hotel became a two-story parking garage and in 1984 it was reborn as a bustling city park where light rail and buses converge. These days the square is where workers visitors and families gather to enjoy the city catch a ride elsewhere and even enjoy a meal at the food carts parked on the bricks.

The square is also one of Portland’s leading outdoor venues hosting 300 events each year from large-scale concerts to cultural festivals. For example the Portland Farmers Market fills the Pioneer Courthouse Square every Monday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. June-October. In the summer the Noon Tunes concert series fills the lunch-hour air with free live music on Tuesdays and Thursdays and on Fridays Flicks on the Bricks transforms the “living room” into Portland’s biggest movie theater with no-cost family-friendly fare. But the square hosts more than summertime excitement; every year the city’s Thanksgiving parade ends here with the lighting of the region’s largest decorated holiday tree and an array of festive events like the Tuba Christmas Concert and the Holiday Ale Festival keep the space merry and bright.

Pittock Mansion
3229 NW Pittock Drive
Portland OR 97210

High in the West Hills above Northwest Portland the historic turn-of-the-century Pittock Mansion offers picture-perfect views of the city and its surroundings as well as a revealing glimpse of Portland’s past.

The mansion is characterized by its impressive architecture and 23 art- and antique-filled rooms where you can learn about the city’s history and the fascinating success story of early Portland moguls Henry and Georgiana Pittock instrumental in the early development of Portland. Henry and Georgiana arrived in Oregon separately in the mid-1800s and over the next sixty years dedicated themselves to hard work community service and pride in their home. In 1860 Henry Pittock took over the city’s newspaper which eventually became The Oregonian that Portlanders read today and built a business empire in industries as diverse as real estate banking railroads ranching mining and pulp and paper.

The mansion hosts rotating historical exhibits showcasing art artifacts photography and more that inform visitors about period life in Portland and the U.S. Every holiday season the mansion is decked with Christmas trees and features a spectacular exhibit like 2014’s Centennial Holiday Exhibit: Christmas Past Present and Future.

Portland Children’s Museum
4015 SW Canyon Road
Portland OR 97221

Located in historic Washington Park Portland Children’s Museum is a leading destination for families seeking hands-on playful learning experiences for children from birth to age 10. Museum visitors invite transformative moments while splashing amidst geysers in The Creek stethoscope in hand in the Pet Hospital on stage in Play It Again Theater or in studio with an artist in residence.

With over a dozen exhibits three studios special events and the stunning 1.3-acre Outdoor Adventure you’ll delight in discovering something new every visit to the Museum.

Portland International Rose Test Garden
400 SW Kingston Avenue
Portland OR 97210

Portland’s International Rose Test Garden unofficially known as the Portland Rose Garden is the oldest official continuously operated public rose test garden in the United States and features more than 10000 roses. Each year hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world enjoy the sights and scents of the gardens including its spectacular views of downtown and Mt. Hood.

Conceived by Jesse A. Currey in 1915 and approved by Portland Parks in 1917 it started as a safe haven for hybrid roses grown in Europe during World War I. Roses started arriving in Portland in 1918 and the garden and amphitheater were dedicated in 1924. It’s not surprising that this garden located in Washington Park is one of the City of Roses’ signature landmarks.

The garden is open daily and admission is free. While great city views are on offer year-round the best rose-viewing months are May through September.

Portland Japanese Garden
611 SW Kingston Avenue
Portland OR 97221

Tucked into the scenic West Hills of Portland above Washington Park and near the International Rose Test Garden the Portland Japanese Garden is a haven of meticulously maintained tranquil beauty. Proclaimed one of the most authentic Japanese gardens outside of Japan the 5.5-acre space includes an authentic Japanese tea house meandering streams intimate walkways and an unsurpassed view of Mount Hood.

Founded in 1963 as a symbol of healing between the World War II adversaries the grounds feature five separate garden styles working in harmony to create a sense of peace. The lush Tea Garden is focused on a stone walking path designed to help visitors shed the concerns of the outside world. The Strolling Pond Garden would be a display of wealth in Japan but in this case reflects the rich landscape with a bridge zigzagging through beds of iris by a waterfall. The Natural Garden is full of leafy trees and plants deliberately placed to show off their changes through the seasons. Designed before Zen Buddhism became popular in the U.S. the Sand and Stone Garden uses the elements as focal points for quiet contemplation. And the Flat Garden which can be best enjoyed from the garden’s pavilion is reminiscent of a landscape portrait combining various elements into a serene four-season tableau.

Guided tours are included with cost of admission and the garden also hosts frequent events. Among the Portland Japanese Garden’s most popular affairs are its autumn moon-viewing nights which feature live music tea and sake service and seasonal Japanese foods under the illuminated sky.

Portland Saturday Market
2 SW Naito Parkway
Portland OR 97204

Enjoy a distinctive experience at Portland Saturday Market the nation’s largest weekly open-air arts and crafts market. Stroll down row upon row of unique creations made by the people who sell them and enjoy live music and international snacks. Located in Waterfront Park at the Skidmore Fountain MAX station. Make a $25 purchase and receive a free TriMet ticket or a two-hour parking validation at any Smart Park garage. Open rain or shine Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. March through December 24; free.


World Forestry Center Discovery Museum
4033 SW Canyon Road
Portland OR 97221

The family-focused World Forestry Center Discovery Museum features interactive exhibits designed to educate visitors about the sustainability of forests and trees of the Pacific Northwest and around the world.


World of Speed
27490 SW 95th Avenue
Wilsonville OR 97070

The World of Speed is an educational motorsports museum located in Wilsonville Oregon. We’re proud to display nearly 100 vehicles in rotating exhibits that feature cars raced by Richard Petty Jeff Gordon Danica Patrick and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Exhibits from NASCAR IndyCar and Formula 1 are located next to historical cars of all types including land speed record holders reaching speeds upwards of 1000 mph. We have high-tech interactive simulators and interpretive exhibits that engage visitors of all ages.  A must see for the motorsport enthusiast and the perfect outing for the whole family.

Stand next to a replica Daytona 500 banking turn outfitted with four legendary race cars including Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s 2000 Chevy Impala and trace the history of land speed records with the room-length “Zero to 1000 MPH” timeline. Test your own driving skills behind the wheel of retired NASCAR Formula One and Indy cars converted into racing simulators or pose for photos in a car that was raced by Danica Patrick. You can even look under the hood of a Ford Mustang to see how cars are constructed.


For an overview of kid-friendly activities and attractions check out Travel Portland’s lineup at