With a planetarium, a 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. (Leave some room for the little ones, please!)
Ready for a snack after all that fun? 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 and MAX light rail Orange line drop passengers a short walk from the museum’s front door.