Know Before You Go
COVID-19 Update: The World Forestry Center Discovery Museum and Magness Tree Farm are currently closed.
Tree-and forest-lovers of all ages can learn about sustainability and experience a Portland icon all in one trip by visiting the World Forestry Center Discovery Museum. Located in Washington Park, the museum is easily accessible by MAX Light Rail. The two-story, 20,000 square-foot (1,858 sq m) facility features Northwest Regional-style architecture and a range of interactive, forest-focused exhibits. Adults and young ones will learn and be entertained by a variety of simulators and virtual tours.
The museum is one of three programs operated by the World Forestry Center. This nonprofit organization’s mission is to connect people to the importance of forests and sustainable forestry. Founded in 1966, the World Forestry Center was created to replace the Forestry Building, a majestic log structure built for the 1905 Lewis and Clark Exposition. After the original building was destroyed in a fire in 1964, its new facility was rebuilt near the Oregon Zoo.
Explore the World Forestry Center Discovery Museum
Pacific Northwest Forests
The World Forestry Center is dedicated to educating people about the importance of trees and forests worldwide. The first floor of the Discovery Museum, however, focuses specifically on forests of the Pacific Northwest. Learn about forest systems and cycles, their importance to streams and rivers and how Oregon’s forests are managed. Visitors from near and far can enhance their knowledge of the area’s forests and the unique role they play in the environment. Plus, learn how to operate a Timberjack harvester, discover animals beneath the forest floor or take a “wet-free” raft ride on the Clackamas River!
Forests of the World
Head upstairs to learn about the connection between people and forests, and how they interact around the world. “Travel” to different regions throughout the exhibit, meeting humans who face first-hand the struggle to keep forests in their regions sustainable.
Outside the Museum
There’s more to explore on the exterior of the Discovery Museum, too. Visitors can view a 10,000 pound (4,536 kg), 5-million-year-old petrified stump of a Giant Sequoia tree. Kids seeking hands-on fun can climb aboard Peggy, a vintage steam locomotive. Originally built in 1909, the vehicle is now permanently parked outside the museum.
Visit a Demonstration Forest
On Sundays, visitors are welcome to visit Magness Memorial Tree Farm, the World Forestry Center’s demonstration forest and outdoor education site in Sherwood (located 35 minutes southwest of Portland). Donated in 1977 by local residents Howard and Panzy Magness, the land was developed to demonstrate forest management. The farm features 2.5 miles (4 km) of hiking trails, as well as streams, meadows and picnic areas.
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