Best Portland Places to Take Kids
Portland, Oregon is fun for all ages and a great family vacation destination. Following are some good places to go that adults and kids will enjoy together as a group.
There are lots of fun family activities and places to visit in Portland, Oregon. Whether traveling on a vacation, or a local family or group with children to keep busy, everyone in the group will like these enjoyable things to do as a family.
Oaks Amusement Park
From the Oaks Park website: “Surrounded by the same stately trees for which it was named, The Oaks, in Portland, Oregon in 2005 will celebrate its 100th consecutive year of operation, making it one of the oldest continuously operating amusement parks in America.”
Not exactly Disneyland, this smaller carnival-type amusement park is still packed with great fun for all ages. There are thrill rides, little kids rides, bumper cars, an old-time shooting gallery, and even carnival games. In addition, there is a real-wood-floor roller skating rink.
Rides are open mid-March through September, with varying hours. Admission prices are free gate admission, a $14.00 charge for a deluxe ride bracelet, and $11.25 for limited ride bracelets. Go-carts are extra. Skating is included.
Oaks Park also offers birthday parties and other group packages and deals. Oaks Park can accommodate 25 – 5000 guests in 25 different picnic areas.
Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI)
This huge 219,000 square feet hands-on museum includes a five-story Omnimax theater, a planetarium, rotating special exhibits, and fun educational activities in the chemistry lab, robotics lab, science playground, and goodies for all ages. This place is so cool, kids will beg to return and will not even realize they are learning. Omsi is one of the nation’s top ten science museums (OMSI website, About OMSI).
There is a casual cafe inside (overlooking the Willamette River), or bring a sack lunch.
Expect OMSI to be an all-day experience. OMSI’s hours vary by time of the year, but they are generally open daily, except for Mondays. Admission is $11.00 for adults (ages 62), $9,00 for Youth (3-13) and Seniors (63+) or buy a year-long pass and have unlimited visits to hundreds of science centers all over America. Extra events, such as planetarium shows and Omnimax movies are an additional charge.
Lloyd Center Mall in Portland
Lloyd Center is a shopping mall with a twist. It has a full-sized ice-skating rink right in the middle of the building. Adults may join kids in skating, or for those who would rather grab a cup of coffee or a snack, there are many points around and above the rink where adults can relax and still keep an eye on the children. Beyond the rink, this large shopping center also has a glass elevator, many varieties of food, and movie theaters. Catch the Max trains outside the mall and zip around downtown Portland in style.
Center hours are generally 10am-9pm
The fun and beautiful Oregon Zoo is relaxing for adults and exciting and interactive for children. In the zoo, use a free map to follow trails to visit bears, otters, giraffes and zebras, elephants, hippos, bats, and, of course, a variety of apes and monkeys.
A good and fairly frugally-priced place to eat is in the AfriCafe, overlooking a lovely aviary filled with lots of colorful birds and lush tropical vegetation. Be sure to visit the Lorikeet aviary as well, where nectar is sold in little feeding cups and guests can hand-feed the colorful birds. Another highlight is the Zoo Train, which travels throughout the zoo.
Make a graceful exit by steering children to the terrific zoo gift shop, featuring everyone’s favorite animals on postcards, as plush stuffed toys, in books, and more. With a little goodie in hand, walking out of the zoo gates is a little less sad.
- April 15 – Sept. 15: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Grounds open till 7 p.m.
- Sept. 16 – April 14: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Grounds open till 5 p.m.
- Adults (12-64) $9.75
- Seniors (65 and over) $8.25
- Children (3-11) $6.75
- Infants (2 and under) FREE
- Parking $1
More About Having Fun in Portland
- All of the places listed above have websites with more information, for visitor use.
- Also consider visiting nearby Vancouver, Washington (and the rest of Clark County), just across the Columbia River from Portland.
- Other articles of interest may include Best Funky Portland Coffee Houses, Ideas for Visiting Portland Oregon and Funky Portland Restaurants & Cafes.
- Prices and hours subject to change. Please contact me before visiting.