Family Friendly Activities & Attractions in Portland, Oregon
Families can make the most of Portland in a few hours, a half-day or a few days, even going at a kid’s pace. While you might not get to every kid-friendly attraction Portland offers, you are guaranteed memories that will be worth the while.
One of the nation's leading science museums, OMSI is 219,000 square feet of brain-powered fun. Five enormous halls bring science to life with hundreds of interactive exhibits and displays. Experience an earthquake, take part in live lab demonstrations, see a movie in the OMNIMAX® Dome Theater, explore the universe in a world-class planetarium and even tour a real submarine. Located on the east bank of the Willamette River.
Hours: Summer hours (mid-June through Labor Day): daily, 9:30 a.m.-7 p.m. The rest of the year: Tuesday-Sunday, 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Admission: Adults: $11, youth (3-13) $9, seniors (63+) $9, children 2 and younger free. Parking: $2/car.
1945 S.E. Water Ave.
Trek through the tropics amid the sounds of birds, monkeys and other creatures. You're not in West Africa; you're in Portland at the zoo's African Rain Forest exhibit. After you've survived the steamy tropics, dry off in the savanna, where giraffes, rhinos and hippos graze. From the crest of the Cascade Mountains to the coastal waters of Peru, travel around the world in an afternoon. 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).
Hours: Open seven days a week, year-round. May-September, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; September-May: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Zoo grounds stay open one hour after last entry time. Admission: Adults (12-64) $10.50, seniors (65+) $9, youth (3-11) $7.50, children 2 and younger free. Parking: $2/car. Visitors presenting proof of MAX ridership receive $1.50 off tickets purchased at the gate.
Location: 4001 S.W. Canyon Road
Portland Children's Museum
One of the oldest children's museums in the country, this beloved institution is filled with a collection of interactive exhibits where little ones can build, sculpt, and splash in the name of discovery. Popular attractions include the Play It Again Theater, which never goes dark, and the Dig Pit, filled with rubber gravel and located next to the Caterpillar Café.
Hours: March 1 - Sept. 6, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. The rest of the year, open Tuesday-Sunday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Thursday 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Open until 8 p.m. the first Friday of every month, year-round. Admission: Youth and adults (ages 1-54) $9, seniors (55+) and military $8, members and children under age 1 free. Free on the first Friday of each month from 4-8 p.m.
Location: Washington Park, 4015 S.W. Canyon Road
Oregon Rail Heritage Center
Portland is home to more working steam locomotives than any other city in the country, and you’ll find them at the volunteer-run Oregon Rail Heritage Center, opened in 2012. Guided interpretation, presentations, exhibits and events tell the story of Pacific Northwest railroads and, during the holiday season, light-adorned “Holiday Express” trains tour passengers along the Willamette River. Located near OMSI and accessible via Portland Streetcar.
Open Thursday-Sunday, 1-5 p.m.; admission is by donation.
2250 S.E. Water Ave.
Oaks Amusement Park
Rides, go-karts, 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. Birthday parties, corporate picnics and family and class reunions are a few reasons why people visit. Families can come for a whole day of fun without breaking the bank. Bring your own picnic, order from the snack stands, or enjoy our catering department. Free parking, no admission charge and summer ride discounts. Safe, wholesome, affordable family fun — right in Portland's back yard.
Location: 7805 S.E. Oaks Park Way
Portland, Ore. 97202
In the summer, Portland's many public fountains are refreshing places for kids to cool off. Here are some of the most popular ones:
Bill Naito Legacy Fountain: The fountain at the end of the plaza built for the Portland Saturday Market incorporates two distinct play areas: a blowhole-dotted section that operates when no events are taking place on the plaza and an adjacent amphitheater that runs more frequently. The blowholes are perfect for toddlers and older kids, and the amphitheater involves a compelling sequence of water arches.
Downtown Portland, north end of Gov. Tom McCall Waterfront Park
Jamison Square Fountain: The wading pool at Jamison Square is perfect for babies and toddlers, while young kids and tweens will enjoy dangling their feet in the rivulets of water that replenish the pond. Located on the Portland Streetcar line, Jamison Square is easy to access, and there's even an ice cream shop (Cool Moon Ice Cream) across the street and a kid-friendly café (Sip & Kranz) next door.
Pearl District, Northwest 11th Avenue and Johnson Street
Salmon Street Springs: Controlled by an underground computer, this ever-changing fountain overlooks the Willamette River and is a relaxing place for parents to chill while the kids get soaked. Best for kids ranging in age from older toddlers to tweens.
Downtown Portland, south end of Gov. Tom McCall Waterfront Park
Teachers Fountain: Located in downtown's newest public square (Director Park), this fountain delights toddlers with gentle jets and bubbles that fill a shallow basin ringed by low wooden benches.
Downtown Portland, Director Park, Southwest Yamhill Street and Park Avenue
Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden
Children's author Beverly Cleary grew up in northeast Portland. Life-size statues of three of her characters — Ramona Quimby, Henry Huggins and Henry's dog, Ribsy — now reside in Grant Park, a location mentioned in several of Cleary's books.
Hours: 5 a.m.-midnight. Admission: Free.
Location: Grant Park, Northeast 33rd Avenue and U.S. Grant Place
World Forestry Center Discovery Museum
Hands-on, interactive exhibits that are fun for the whole family are waiting to be explored at the Discovery Museum. See the forest from a bird's-eye view or take a wet-free raft ride in Class IV rapids. Climb underneath the forest to see the life below, or try your smoke jumping skills. Round out your adventure with video journeys to Siberia, China, South Africa, and Brazil. Five minutes from downtown Portland via Hwy. 26 or MAX light rail.
Hours: Daily, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Admission: Adults $8, children (3-18) $5, seniors (62+) $7, members and children 2 years and under free. Parking $2/car.
Location: Washington Park, 4033 S.W. Canyon Road
Powell's City of Books
Naturally, the world's largest independent bookseller, which stocks more than 1.5 million books in nine rooms, spanning three stories and filling an entire city block, includes an amazing children's section. Young readers can pull up a seat and find new favorite authors among from the packed and lovingly curated shelves.
Hours: Open 9 a.m.-11 p.m., 365 days a year. Admission: Free
Locations: 1005 W. Burnside St.
This ever-expanding, independent emporium of toys packs everything from Apples to Apples to Zoob into a downtown shop so colorful and exciting that many a child has needed a nap after exploring the aisles. But don't expect to find video games or modern gizmos here — for more than 30 years, Finnegan's has excelled by selling the kinds of classics that bring out the kid in everyone.
Hours: Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sunday noon-5 p.m.
Location: 820 S.W. Washington St.
Portland Art Museum
There's no cost for children age 17 or younger to enjoy the Portland Art Museum for free (some major traveling exhibitions may require a small fee). Tour the world and travel through history in magnificent permanent collection galleries (featuring an extensive collection of Native American art), six stories of modern art and special exhibitions. Each Sunday features activities for families.
Hours: Tuesday-Wednesday: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thursday-Friday: 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Saturday: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday: noon-5 p.m. Closed Mondays and major holidays. Admission: Adults $12, seniors (55+) $9, students (18+, with ID) $9, children 17 and under free. Admission is free on the fourth Friday of every month from 5-8 p.m. The museum also offers four free Sundays a year (check calendar).
Location: 1219 S.W. Park Ave.
Kids love to scour the booths at this festive weekend arts-and-crafts market (open Sundays too) in search of a handmade souvenir or three. Hours: 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 Dec. 24. Admission: Free
Location: Southwest Ankeny Street & Naito Parkway
Kids love to soar above the city in the futuristic-looking pods of Portland's tram, taking in the views of Mount Hood, Mount St. Helens, the Willamette River and the downtown skyline. The tram runs between the South Waterfront district (a short ride from downtown on the Portland Streetcar) and Oregon Health & Science University.
Hours: Monday-Friday, 5:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. From June-September, the tram also operates on Sunday, 1-5 p.m.
Admission: Roundtrip fare is $4.00; children 6 and under free.
The central hub of the Multnomah County Library system has housed countless treasures since opening in 1913. But perhaps none is more inspiring than the Children's Library, which features the Bronze Tree, a sculpture dedicated to "teaching children another way of living." Infused with topics that span the Dewey Decimal system, exploring this tree of knowledge is a great way plant the seed of curiosity in any young mind.
Hours: Monday and Thursday-Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Sunday noon-5 p.m. Admission: Free
Location: 801 S.W. 10th Ave.