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 and 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.
Portland Children’s Museum
Dreaming of a family-friendly afternoon full of hands-on learning? Head to the Portland Children’s Museum, in attraction-packed Washington Park.
When I Grow Up: Portland Attractions for Career-Oriented Kids
At these family-friendly Portland attractions, kids can walk in the shoes of the heroes they idolize: police officers, firefighters, astronauts, airplane pilots and sailors.
World Forestry Center Discovery Museum
Tree- and forest-lovers of all ages can learn about sustainability and experience a Portland icon at the World Forestry Center Discovery Museum.
Oregon Historical Society
The Oregon Historical Society collection includes thousands of historic artifacts (including the “Portland Penny"), permanent and rotating exhibits and an extensive research library.
Keep Portland’s Museums Weird
From the world's oldest (fake) museum to the only gallery focused on vintage vacuum cleaners, these attractions keep Portland weird.
OMSI offers a Guided Tech Tour on the second and fourth Sunday of every month. This special tour guided by an actual submarine veteran is for those who would like to learn more about the technical workings of the Blueback. The maximum tour size is eight people, so plan ahead and reserve your spot. Tech…
Fermentation is one of the oldest and simplest means of preserving foods. It is also the best way to manage your gut microbiome, the ~100 trillion bacteria that live in your gut and change your health in a myriad of ways. In this class, you will create a personalized batch of sauerkraut to take home,…
Join up for a morning walking tour that’ll go around, across, under and inside the unique and storied spans that shape the lives in Portland. Strolling along the waterfront, this tour will plan to cross several bridges, pausing at the Morrison Bridge to meet the bridge operator and to see the view from the control…
Make soap from scratch to take home while learning about the awesome chemistry of soap molecules. Participants must wear clothing that completely covers their arms, legs and feet (no sandals or open-toed shoes) as they will be working with caustic substances. Recommended for ages 6 and up with an adult, 12 and up without. General…
The Pacific Northwest is due for a major earthquake along the Cascadia Subduction Zone, and a magnitude 9 Cascadia earthquake and tsunami would likely produce an unprecedented catastrophe. Portland isn’t ready, and significant preparation is needed to safeguard communities, businesses, and people. We can learn from several recent earthquakes around the world including Chile, Japan,…