Just a few miles south of the city center in the Sellwood neighborhood, you’ll find Oaks Amusement Park. Reveling in vintage charm, America’s oldest continuously operating amusement park offers a variety of rides and amusements, and while it lacks the biggest thrill rides of, say, Six Flags, there’s a great deal to amuse younger children in particular for a whole afternoon. Ride bracelets make a day’s entertainment very affordable.
If it’s raining, the black-lit pirate-themed mini-golf course at Glowing Greens in the heart of downtown provides a great and unusual escape. Alternatively, take the bus out to the Avalon Theatre in the popular Belmont neighborhood and play in their extensive nickel arcade, or take in a cut price movie.
In the region
There’s something for everyone at the North Clackamas Aquatic Park in the Portland suburb of Milwaukie. The water park features something for everyone, with a 400,000-gallon wave swimming pool, three water slides, a 29-foot rock-climbing wall, a toddler splash zone, a six-lane lap pool and a 13-foot-deep diving well.
A little further afield, the Family Fun Center in Wilsonville (less than 30 minutes south of the city on I-5), offers go-karts, bumper boats, two mini-golf courses, laser tag, a zip line and climbing structures, batting cages, an arcade and a children’s play structure. Meanwhile, less than 25 minutes’ drive to the east of Portland lies Blue Lake Park, which offers a gigantic water spray ground and pedal boating on the lake during the summer months.
Southwest of Portland, in the Willamette Valley wine country town of McMinnville, you’ll find Wings & Waves, the waterpark at the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum. Where else can your kids propel themselves down a waterslide that originates inside a 747 jet?