With dozens of urban parks, kid-centric museums and a beloved zoo, Portland is loaded with family fare. But trips outside the city also promise all-ages entertainment — and one-of-a-kind learning opportunities. Here are four must-see attractions, all within two hours of downtown.
Evergreen Wings & Waves Waterpark
This expansion of the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum, located in the Willamette Valley, lets visitors body-surf in a gigantic wave pool, stroll the exhibit-packed H2O Museum and then launch down 10 different waterslides — several of which plummet from a full-size 747 jumbo jet perched atop the roof.
Oregon Coast Aquarium
Newport’s renowned Oregon Coast Aquarium replicates a series of ocean habitats, including canyon-like reefs filled with towers of kelp and open waters that teem with stingrays and sharks. Barking sea lions and playful otters populate outdoor pools, and an aviary hosts a menagerie of chattering seabirds.
Mount Hood Adventure Park at Skibowl
You don’t need snow to go big on Mount Hood. The summer incarnation of Skibowl delivers more than 20 attractions, ranging from an adrenaline-pumping reverse bungee cord, zip line and lift-accessed mountain bike trails to mellow, ranger-led nature walks (held each Sunday in August).
The Adventure Park fun doesn’t end when the snow comes, though. America’s largest night ski area is complemented by a winter zip line, cosmic snow tubing, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, sleigh rides and kiddie snowmobiling. And the feature-packed 2,400-square-foot indoor kids’ play area is fun in any season.
Opened in 1971, the Enchanted Forest amusement park offers old-school fun for all ages just an hour south of Portland. Kids and adults will thrill to the Northwest’s biggest log ride and a range of rides and attractions like Storybook Lane, where little ones can see their favorite tales come to life.
World of Speed
Just south of Portland, off Interstate 5 in Wilsonville, World of Speed promises auto enthusiasts a plethora of motorsports memorabilia and exhibits to explore. Learn about local race tracks and racers, experience race day in a simulator inside a real Indy car, and see real race cars used by stars like Danica Patrick.