50 Things You Have to Do with Kids This Winter

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Winter is one of the best times of the year for Portland families. From snowshoeing to skiing to hitting the ice skating rink and more, your family will be pressed to fit everything in before the warm weather returns. The following 50 activities are guaranteed to keep the winter blues away. See how many you can fit while Portland’s colder season is in full swing. Read on to find out more.

photo: Istock

1. Make winter fun for kids in Portland when you spend a day tiring out your rambunctious kid at an indoor play space built to exhaust the little ones

2. Dine al fresco with the kids this winter. Yes, it’s possible! Here are some great restaurants in town with heated outdoor spaces.

3. Add to your child’s dress up collection by making a homemade hat. Here are some simple ideas for hat crafts.

4. Strap on some skates and hit the ice at these four local ice skating rinks

5. From Finnegan’s to Made You Look, Portland is home to  independent toy stores. Purchase some new toys (available for pickup) that will keep your kiddos busy.

6. Show your kids the books you read when you were young. Got any classic books to add to our list?

7. Bumpers or no bumpers, bowling is always a great option on days you need to stay indoors. 

8. In a cheese pizza rut? Order takeout from one of these beloved Portland pizzerias.

9. While snow may not blanket our city the entire winter, your kids can still enjoy snowflakes, no matter the weather.

10. Got a kid with a winter birthday? Here are our picks for the best winter birthday party venues. 

11. Nervous about getting the kids on skis? We’ve rounded up some tips and tricks to get your kiddos cruising down the bunny hills in no time. 

12. Cabin fever — has it hit your household yet? Here are 11 awesome ways to beat it.

13. Have pots of mealtime fun at these Portland fondue-eries. Note: Please check for closures, reopenings and takeout options.

14. Winter may mean a lack of great produce, but that hasn’t stopped us from juicing. We seriously can’t get enough of these awesome juicing recipes. 

15. Enjoy breakfast and exploring the grounds and hallways with the kids at the Kennedy School, a former elementary school turned indoor playground

16. Feeling brave? Your kids will love their first trip to the movie theater and we promise to hold your hand the entire time. 

17. Warm with some kid-friendly winter mocktails. 

18. Get lost in these totally amazing tree house designs. We can all dream, right?

19. Introduce your kids to some old school games from to Clue to Life to Guess Who?

20. What could be better on a chilly Portland day than a pint at a family-friendly brewery

21. Stretch out those little limbs with some virtual yoga classes for kids. It will bring you all a little piece of zen this winter!

22. Bust the bathing suits out of storage to spend a winter day at one of Portland’s indoor swimming pools.

 

photo: iStock

23. Buy a basket and ball for the house and play some hoops.

24. Take your little putters to an indoor golf spot. 

25. Portland doesn’t usually get a ton of snow, but thankfully the mountains are close-by – head east for some snow tubing fun.

26. Or hit the slopes for a day (or more!) at one of these five Portland-area ski resorts.

27. Huddle around your fireplace or your stove and pretend you’re camping with some delicious homemade s’mores. 

28. Cuddle up with a book. Here are some must-read picks straight from our friends at Chronicle Books.

29. Put on some warm clothes and venture around Portland to all of the famous Beverly Cleary statues and follow the paths that some of her beloved book characters did, including Ramona.

30. Arrrrr, mateys. Plan an indoor treasure hunt for your kids that will have them entertained all morning long.

31. Pay a visit to the Oregon Rail Heritage Center, an ideal spot to indulge your train-crazy kid. 

photo: Pexels

32. How many sweets can you load up on this winter? Cookiesdonuts, chocolates and more, Portland is delicious any time of year!

33. Winter days are perfect for exploring textile arts like finger knitting, crocheting or knitting with needles. If your kids are ready, get started here.

34. Slide out of a real Boeing 747 aircraft at the area’s most jaw-dropping indoor water park. You’ll be blown away. 

35. We all have paper bags lying around the house. Make good use of them with some fun paper bag crafts. 

36. Need an engaging indoor activity? The World Forestry Center is perfect for an entire morning or afternoon of indoor fun. Note: Check in advance for COVID closures and safety rules.

37. Catch an online play at the Northwest Children’s Theatre.

38. We’ve come up with 8 fab DIY activities that will provide endless fun.

39. Fitness for the whole family is possible in winter. Here’s a list of local exercise classes that you and the kids can take together.

40. If you have little ones under two, we’ve got some great ideas on how to entertain the toddler set on these cold winter days.

41. Go on one of these winter hikes.

42. Kick family game night up a notch with an awesome new game.

43. Winter days are perfect for making a mess in the kitchen – especially when that kitchen isn’t your own! Here are some classes in the Portland area that get kids baking and cooking.

44. Bundle up and head out to sample one of Portland’s classic food carts. Here’s six every kid should try at least once.

45. Head to one of these spectacular cozy cabins.

46. Prep for the next snow day by perusing these super-cute and cozy winter hats.

47. Get nerdy with your kids and try one of these  at-home science experiments.

48. Moms, grab your favorite friends and go on a mom-date… It’s the new bro-mance!

49. Head to a winter farmer’s market to pick up some veggies for dinner – soup sounds like a great idea! Note: check in advance for COVID closures and safety rules.

50. Get a jump start and plan your next winter wonderland getaway.

 

—  Annette Benedetti

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Our 10 Favorite Public Murals in Portland

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Be inspired with a self-directed tour of some of Portland’s best murals. Sprinkled throughout the city, the following artworks are colorful, diverse and fun for the whole family. Most are located outside in artistic hotspots, so feel free to use these pieces as a springboard to experience even more artistic adventures.


photo: Carrie Uffindell

Women Making History in Portland

Painted in 2007 for the now defunct In Other Words Feminist Community Center, this 18-foot by 60-foot acrylic painting by Robin Corbo honors amazing women who’ve influenced – or are currently influencing – the city. Think community activists, native artists, educational advocates and more.

2335 N. Clark Ave, a block off N. Interstate
Artist: Robin Corbo
Online: eliotneighborhood.org/2018/10/02/women-making-history-mural


photo: Carrie Uffindell

Woodstock Mural

Commerce, education and the outdoors dominate this mural, which was relocated to the western wall of New Seasons in 2015. Look closely and you’ll also see various mythological symbols scattered throughout, including a winged hat, an olive branch necklace and a lotus staff. Behind the young student is the Woodstock motto translated into Mandarin, in honor of the elementary school’s immersion program.

4500 S.E. Woodstock Blvd
Artists: Designed by Mark Lawrence and painted by Heidi Schultz. Reproduction by Dan Cohan and Christo Wunderlich.
Online: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woodstock_Mural


photo: Carrie Uffindell

Taylor Electric

After a fire left the Taylor Electrical Supply Company a burnt-out ruin, the Portland Street Art Alliance (PSAA) collaborated with local artists to turn the remaining space into a rotating, open-air gallery. Today, you’ll find ongoing street art projects all over the walls and columns at the site (which doubles as a parking lot) featuring hundreds of artists and their works.

240 S.E. Clay St.
Artists: 100+
Online: pdxstreetart.org/articles-all/2016/12/8/taylor-electric-project


photo: Carrie Uffindell

Attitude of Gratitude

You’ll be hard pressed to find a more dynamic mural than the one SolTerra’s headquarters: a 70-foot tall woman, hands clasped in gratitude, with over one thousand living plants for her hair. Check back to see it flourish and change each season.

959 S.E. Division St.
Artist: Fin DAC
Online: solterra.com/blog-attitude-9-22-17-2

photo: Carrie Uffindell

The Musician’s Union Building Mural

This 100-foot composition at the Portland Musician’s Union Local 99 celebrates our city’s thriving music scene and heritage in vivid color. Jazz, classical, bluegrass, rock ‘n’ roll, hip hop, reggae and rhythm & blues — all showcase the power of music. Find it on the building’s south wall, facing the parking lot.

325 N.E. 20th Ave.
Artists: Isaka Shamsud-Din, Joe Cotter, Baba Wagué Diakité, Hector Hernandez
Online: portlandwild.com/art/86

photo: Carrie Uffindell

Ladies Up Project

Morrison Place’s retail center is home to seven murals and counting. This ongoing, multi-artist project (also in collaboration with PSAA) only features works by local female-identifying artists and artists of color. Images range from a bold tiger to messages of unity. Look for the murals along S.E. Alder St.

1401 S.E. Morrison St.
Artists: Tatyana Ostepenko, Salomée Soung, Amaranta Colindres, Isis Fisher, Kyra Watkins, Sunny Beard, Angela Saenz and Laura Medina
Online: pdxstreetart.org/articles-all/ladiesup

photo: Paul VanDerWerf via flickr

The Knowledge

These giant stacks of digitally printed vinyl books are so realistic, you’ll want to reach out and touch them. All the titles pictured are in Portland State University’s Millar Library and highlight the various interests of the students, faculty and staff.

510 S.W. Hall St., on the east exterior wall of the 5th Avenue Cinema
Artists: Harrell Fletcher, with assistance from Avalon Kalin
Online: pdx.edu/museum-of-art/knowledge

photo: Carrie Uffindell

Community Cycling Center Mural

There’s no better – or more iconic – mural in the city that celebrates Portland’s bike culture. Covering the western wall of the cycling center’s retail shop, the vibrant piece portrays a whimsical parade of unicycles/bicycles/tricycles, costumed kids, hot air balloons, happy pets and more.

1700 N.E. Alberta St.
Artist: Robin Corbo
Online: communitycyclingcenter.org

photo: Carrie Uffindell

Now is the Time, Now is the Place

One of Portland’s oldest murals, its message of Black pride and empowerment is as important today as when it was painted in 1989. On the north wall of the Portland Covenant Church, Martin Luther King Jr. is surrounded by other notable faces, including Nelson and Winnie Mandela, South African playwright Selaelo Maredi and Muslim leader Elijah Muhammad.

4046  N.E. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.
Artists: Isaka Shamsud-Din, Paul Odighizuwa, Charlotte Lewis and Kathy Pennington
Online: portlandwild.com/art/view/75

photo: courtesy of Portland Street Art Alliance

A Place Called Home

When airport travel is safe again, you won’t want to miss this sweeping 150-foot mural, located in Portland International Airport’s north pedestrian tunnel. All of what makes the Pacific Northwest great is on display here, from native peoples and natural wonders to farmers markets and local musicians.

7000 NE Airport Way
Artists: Alex Chiu and Jeremy Nichols
Online: pdxstreetart.org/articles-all/2019/10/2/the-pdx-airport-mural-project

—Carrie Uffindell

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Eateries That Deliver Pre-Meal Entertainment

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Every parent has been there: you want to dine out but your kids just can’t sit still through a meal. Forget coloring sheets and crayons, the following local eateries take pre-meal entertainment to the next level. From local pubs with play areas to pizza-serving arcades, these restaurants and cafés dish out enough family fun to keep the kids entertained until it’s time to eat.


photo: via Benihana Japanese Restaurant

Benihana Japanese Restaurant
Famous across the globe for its skilled chefs performing intricate knife work and comic theatrics while grilling your five-course teppanyaki dinner at a communal table, this international chain will keep you and the kiddos entertained until you’ve eaten your last bite. Entrees include diced steak, chicken or a seafood, which can be eaten plain or with fun dipping sauces.

Pro tip: Since there are only a certain number of dining spots per seating, reservations are highly recommended.

9205 SW Cascade Ave.
Beaverton, Or
503-643-4016
Online: benihana.com

Hopworks Urban Brewery & Bikebar
One of the most kid-friendliest pubs in town, all three of this local chainlet’s restaurants offer good-sized play areas filled with toys, books and games that will keep little hands busy until their meal arrives. The menu offers the usual assortment of pub fare – pizzas, burgers and sandwiches – and all kids meals come with fries, apples, broccoli or carrots and celery.

Pro tip: Try to score a table with a play area view.

2944 SE Powell Blvd.
Portland, Or
503-232-4677

3947 N Williams Ave.
Portland, Or
503-287-6258

17707 SE Mill Plain Blvd.
Vancouver, Wa
360-838-5139

Online: hopworksbeer.com


photo: Josh Grenier via Flickr

Chuck E. Cheese
Pizza and skeeball, anyone? For a nostalgic lunch or dinner (now sans the animatronic band), head to one Chuck E. Cheese’s metro area locations. Here you’ll find family-size booths, an updated arcade and a multi-story play structure for your young ones to climb all over. If pizza isn’t your thing, look for other menu options like sandwiches, salads and wings.

Pro tip: Tokens to play in the arcade are a separate charge. Prices vary. For the best deals and coupons, check the Chuck E. Cheese website.

9120 SE Powell Blvd.
Portland, Or
503-788-1200

4145 SW 110th Avenue
Beaverton, Or
503-643-2002

7721 NE Vancouver Plaza Dr.
Vancouver, Wa
360-896-6672

Online: chuckecheese.com

Wilsonville Family Fun Center & Bullwinkle’s Restaurant
This mini amusement park in Wilsonville will keep you and the kiddos entertained long after you’ve satiated those rumbling bellies. Indoor and outdoor attractions abound, from mini golf and bumper boats to arcade games and laser tag. Bullwinkle’s is more café than restaurant, so expect a menu of pizza, sammys and burgers. Indoor play passes run $25-39/person

Pro tip: Tickets are required for attractions. Discounted tickets are available online. Beat the weekend crowds by visiting on a weekday.

29111 SW Town Center Loop W
Wilsonville, Or
503-685-5000
Online: fun-center.com


photo: Slappy Cakes via Flickr

Slappy Cakes
At this DIY pancake house, meal prep is the entertainment. Each table has its own griddle, so you and the kids can create your own pancake masterpiece from one of five pancake batters and more than 25 sweet and savory toppings. Vegan/gluten-free batter and toppings are also available.

Pro tip: Challenge everyone at the table to make a pancake in their favorite non-round shape.

4246 SE Belmont St.
Portland, Or
503-477-4805
Online: slappycakes.com

Playdate PDX
While the kids frolic on the three-story indoor play structure, grab a table (as well as some much-needed adult time) and kick back until the food arrives. Options range from fresh baked pizza pies and paninis to salads and wraps. Open play rates are $4-8/toddlers and $8-14/ages 4 & up, depending on if it’s a weekday or weekend/holiday.

Pro tip: This family staple is very popular, so for a less crowded experience, go during off times like evening or early morning. On Mondays after 5 p.m. admission is free.

1434 NW 17th Ave.
Portland, Or
503-227-7529
Online: playdatepdx.com

— Carrie Uffindell

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100 Must-Try Summer Adventures in Portland

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Summer is around the corner with it’s long, lovely days just waiting to be filled with awesome family adventures. We’ve gathered 100 of our favorite activities and put together your ultimate to-do list for the season. It will keep you busy, whether you prefer to make a splash at a natural swimming spot, tool around in a family gardening class, or sink your toes into a beach getaway. Read on to peruse the possibilities.

photo: Carrie Uffindell

1. Roughing it with little ones can be more of an ordeal than a relaxing getaway, so we rounded up six of our favorite sites for young campers, all located within an hour of Portland.

2. Calling all adventurers! Your child will come home with new memories – and skills such as archery, tracking, and horseback riding – after an overnight summer camp.

3. Check out one of these destination playgrounds and get the wiggles out.

4. and 5. Portland has some awesome places to burn off energy on a less-than-stellar day, including indoor playspaces for your rambunctious one or warm up – and splash around – in a soaking pool or hot spring.

6. Take the kids for a romp on the trails of the Portland Audubon Society.

7. Take the kids on a culinary adventure (and tempt their taste buds) at an under-the-radar food market on the city’s eastside.

8. Raise a glass (and bring the kids) to Portland’s kid-friendly breweries, where families of all ages are welcome.

9. If your kiddo isn’t quite up for wheelies but loves pedaling around, check out these excellent beginner bike paths around town.

10. Take care of all your tootsies with a kid-friendly nail salon experience. Think of it as non-toxic mani-pedis and bonding time all rolled into one.

11. Let your kids (literally) climb the walls with a trip to one of these super cool indoor rock climbing gyms.

12. If it’s pouring liquid sunshine or too hot to play outside, strategize some indoor fun at one of these local game store.

13. and 14. Prefer your camping experience to include a shower and walls? Here’s a list of Oregon campgrounds that offer yurts or cabins as well as some of the best lux camping spots for families we’ve found throughout the country.

15. Embrace flexibility and enroll your kiddo (and, at some studios, yourself) in a fun yoga class.

photo: Carrie Uffindell

16. Go on a locomotive adventure with one of these area train rides.

17. Will your little one celebrate a birthday this summer or fall? Take the party outside at one of these six local venues.

18. Looking for that perfect birthday gift? Portland’s 8 indy toy stores have got you covered.

19. Tour Portland’s amazing ice cream scene and stay cool at these local shops.

20. Put down the iPad and video game controllers. We’ve found four scenic places to fly a kite for some good old fashioned fun.

21. Strike kid-friendly bowling off your to-do list at one (or more) of our fave Portland bowling alleys.

22. Offering special show times and organized babysitting, there are plenty of local family-friendly movie theaters where you and the little ones are welcome to kick back and take in a flick.

23. Roll out the yoga mat or grease up the baby jogger wheels–we’ve gathered up the best Mommy & Me workouts in town where you can have fun and feel the burn.

24. Darling, it’s better down where it’s wetter. For fishy fun, take the kids to visit the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport.

25. Embark on a fun-filled, fruit-picking adventure for the whole family. Do your kiddos love berries? Visit a u-pick berry farm this summer.

26. Is apple and pear season here? Celebrate at one of these farms or orchards.

27. Finding a trail that both you and your youngster will enjoy can be challenging, but these gentle nature trails, perfect for the under-five crowd, will keep everyone entertained.

28. No green thumb? No problem. Here’s 12 easy gardening projects for your aspiring gardener.

29. Take your kids stargazing on a warm night. Here are some tips for a great experience.

30. Propeller planes, jets, a giant wooden glider, and the original Spruce Goose – your airplane-crazy kid won’t be able to contain his excitement at the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum. (Psst! Did we mention the museum also boasts its own massive indoor waterpark?)

photo: Clappstar via Flickr

31. Want to give your family a road tripping experience without all the long drive time? Pack up and head out to one of these small Oregon towns filled with sandy beaches, historic parks, nature walks, and more, all within an easy two hours of Portland.

32. Don’t miss these free summer-specific events.

33. School’s out? Sun’s out? Dive into one of these nearby natural swimming spots.

34. Looking for spray parks or fountains a little closer to your neck of the woods? Here’s our list of water play options around the metro area.

35. If you’re suffering from the summer blahs, you and the kids can check out these free off-the-beaten-path activities in Portland.

36. Give your child a healthy interest in growing this summer by getting involved with a family gardening activity or planting class.

37. Instead of puttering around the house, round up the kids for a game of miniature golf at one of these friendly courses.

38. Get outdoors and explore our favorite inclusive parks for all ages and abilities.

39. Get adventurous and take your family to California on a Kidifornia vacation.

40. Take your budding art lovers to the Portland Art Museum for a guided Family Tour or Baby Morning.

41. Explore textile arts like finger knitting, crocheting or knitting with needles. If your kids are ready, get started here.

42. to 44. Cookiesdonuts, and chocolates – Portland is delicious all year long.

45. From meteorites to glow-in-the-dark rocks, your kiddos will love this hidden gem of a museum.

photo: Carrie Uffindell

46. Skip the dusty exhibits at these hands-on historical sites and museums around town. From making your own candles to building a fort with life-sized Lincoln logs, you and the kids will have a blast learning about the past.

47. Make an outing to the Portland Farmers Market an educational and entertaining experience for your culinary-curious child.

48. Neaten up those hairdos with a painless haircut at one of these kid-friendly salons.

49. Located just across the Columbia River, the third floor kids area of the Vancouver Community Library is filled with learning and sensory delights.

50. Grab your tackle boxes and rods and cast your line at a kid-friendly fishing hole.

51. Saddle up and take your horse-crazy kid for a horseback ride.

52. Invite the grandparents and have a great time with these activities.

53. Play the day away at this transformed elementary school, where your family can enjoy live music, pub fare, a movie, a soaking pool, and more.

54. Love our fresh, local veggies? Check out these meat-free restaurants dishing out vegetarian and vegan treats for all ages.

55. Have pots of mealtime fun at these Portland fondue-eries.

56. Whether your child wants to perfect her backstroke or a tadpole ready to upgrade from the dog paddle, we’ve gathered up a list of Portland’s best swimming lessons.

57. Put a Celtic skip in your step at an Irish restaurant that welcomes leprechauns of all ages.

58. Visit the Tillamook Cheese Factory and treat your youngsters to an outing that’s entertaining, educational, fun, and delicious.

59. Traveling via the Portland International Airport (PDX) this season? Scope out our guide to PDX’s top amenities for tiny travelers.

60. For a sweet afternoon, grab a tasty treat at one of Portland’s gluten-free bakeries.

photo: Carrie Uffindell

61. Did you know Portland is roughly 100 miles southeast of the world’s longest beach? On Washington’s Long Beach Peninsula, you’ll also find the perfect combo of touristy taffy towns, spectacular nature walks, dramatic lighthouses, and historical museums.

62. Gather up your little connoisseurs and sample some of our city’s best food carts for kids.

63. Visit the floating Oregon Maritime Museum to learn about maritime history and see the inner-workings of a real boat.

64. Fine dining and kids. Not two words you’d think go together. Luckily, this sophisticated new farm-to-table restaurant in downtown welcomes families of all ages.

65. and 66. Cool off at one of these smoothie and fro yo shops serving up tasty, seasonal flavors for every palate.

67. Moms, it may no longer be Mother’s Day, but you can still grab your favorite friends for a wine-tasting mom-date.

68. Go on a hot air balloon ride!

69. If you’re traveling on Highway 6 toward the coast, make a perfect kid-friendly pit stop at the Tillamook Forest Center. Did we mention it’s also free?

70. Try these delicious homemade s’mores in the backyard or during your next camping trip.

71. Stuck in a play date rut? From a drop-in art studio to pizza and a show, these nine spots around town will have you thinking outside the house.

72. For old timey fun at America’s oldest amusement park (think roller skating, carousel rides, and carnival games) head to Oaks Amusement Park in the Sellwood neighborhood.

73. Dine al fresco with the wee ones at a family-friendly restaurant, rain or shine.

74. Children love waterfalls and exploring, so we’ve found six waterfall hikes in the Columbia River Gorge with level trails for little legs.

75. Let the kids get down and dirty and totally creative in their very own crafty outdoor art space.

photo: Carrie Uffindell

76. Ditch the city and spend a day cruising the Hood River Farm Loop to see working farms, meet farm animals, sample fresh cider, and/or pick your own fruit. Great stops include Draper Girls Country Farm, the Gorge White House, and Mt. View Orchards.

77. Have little foodie on your hands? These local restaurants serve up adventurous kids menus.

78. Take the kids to the Portland Japanese Garden and marvel at its newly opened 3.4 acres of expanded gardens and educational facilities.

79. Slow down for a morning (or afternoon) and read one of these new non-fiction books with your little bookworm.

80. to 82. Itching to get out of town? Whether you’re looking for a cozy beach lodgehigh desert scenery, or an historic maritime town, we’ve got you covered.

83. This scenic recreation area in the Willamette National Forest is home to 800-year-old trees, a c. 1930s mining camp, and a crystal-clear swimming hole.

84. Cheer on your little athlete at one of these local soccer camps or clubs.

85. Wooden bridges, water play, climbing rocks, oh my. Make a date with nature-based play at Westmoreland Park.

86. For the best birds-eye view in town, climb through the trees and whiz through the air at a family-friendly ziplining park.

87. You and the kids can get your feline fix in a comfy setting at Portland’s cat café and lounge.

88. Slurping your noodles is permitted (and even encouraged) at these Japanese-style ramen hotspots.

89. Catch an event or story time at one of Multnomah County Library’s branches.

90. Hip hop, tap, hula, ballet, and more – these Portland studios will keep little dancers on their toes.

photo: Virginia State Parks via Flickr

91. School young gamers in Pac Man, Super Mario Brothers, pinball, and more at this retro-cool arcade in Hawthorne.

92. Looking for a fun new way to experience Oregon’s rivers and lakes? Take the kids SUPing (Stand Up Paddle Boarding) with our handy guide on how to get started, find rentals, book lessons, etc.

93. Is autumn approaching? Celebrate the coming season by exploring stunning fall colors.

94. Your little gymnasts can bounce, flip, jump, and tumble the day away at this trampoline park in Vancouver.

95. There’s much more to Portland’s Montavilla neighborhood than meets the eye so we’ve rounded up our favorite things to see, do, and taste while you visit.

96. Nurture and grow your child’s imagination by helping her create a mini fairy garden.

97. Planning a family road trip this summer? Here are 16 clever ideas and hacks that can help smooth the road ahead.

98. Take the kids to one of these super-friendly waterfront restaurants in town for a fun, affordable meal with river views.

99. I-Spy… a Pileated woodpecker. Grab the kids (and binoculars) for some bird-watching fun at these local sanctuaries, nature parks, and wetlands.

100. Need more ideas? Here are 100 more activities for your 10 and under crowd.

—Carrie Uffindell (Edit and Update by Annette Benedetti)

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12 Ways to Have a Spectacular President’s Day

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Get ready to pay tribute to our, forefathers Portland style. This President’s Day give your little patriots some appreciation for the past by keeping them busy all weekend long. There there are loads of things lined up from Feb. 17-19. So whether you’re looking to entertain the kids on President’s Day proper or over the whole three-day weekend, here are activities that will help them remember the greats we used to call Commander in Chief. Read on to find out more

photo: Trackers via facebook

1. Catch Chitra the Girl Prince! at the NW Children’s Theater and School. We may not have gotten our first woman president yet, but it doesn’t hurt to celebrate the weekend with some girl power. Shows run Sat.-Sun. at noon and 4 p.m.

2. Let the kids get muddy, sweaty, and hone their outdoor skills at Trackers Earth Portland, which has two story-based, role-playing adventure camps available on President’s Day proper. The programs are all day, with before and after care available. Ages 4 & up, $74-$78/day.

3. Calling all artists! The Craft Factory is open on President’s Day and invites kids to come and get creative from the hours of 10 a.m-5 p.m. Grab a craft for $14 and you get an unlimited amount of accessories to decorate and personalize your piece with. If one craft isn’t enough for your little artist, each additional craft is just $7.

4. Rain in the forecast? No problem! You and the kids can take a wet-free raft ride, see forests from a bird’s-eye-view, practice your smoke-jumping skills, hop aboard the Trans-Siberian Railway and much more at the World Forestry Center Discovery Museum. The museum is open Thurs.-Mon., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Cost $7/adult; $5/ages 3-18; free/ages 2 & under.

5. On President’s Day proper, creative reuse store SCRAP PDX is holding a two-hour sewing workshop for ages 6 & up. While crafting cute and cozy hat, kids will learn sewing basics with felt, tracing and cutting patterns, and button sewing. Cost is $10/child.

photo: Craft Factory via flickr

6. For music, exercise and old timey fun, head to the roller skating rink at Oaks Park. Open Skate is offered on President’s Day from., 1 p.m.-5:30 pm. Admission is $7.00 and skate rentals start at $2.

7. Is your energetic brood bouncing off the walls? Then take them to JJ Jump, an indoor playground that’s filled with inflatables (think bouncy houses and foam slides) where they can jump, play, run, and slide ‘til they drop. The Clackamas location has a kids 7 and under only open play session from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. $4-$6.50.

8. President’s Day weekend is a great time to hunt for early blooms at Crystal Springs Rhododendron Park, a 9-acre botanical garden riddled with gravel pathways, water features, native wildlife and its namesake shrub. Open daily, year-round. Admission is free in February.

photo: Carrie Uffindell

9. Indulge your train-crazy kiddos with a visit to the Oregon Rail Heritage Center. Open Thurs.-Sun., 1 p.m.-5 p.m. Admission is free.

10. From plates to figurines, you and the kids can choose from over 200 pieces to create ceramic masterpieces at Mimosa Studios. All prices include studio time, paint, glaze, and firing. Walk-ins are welcome but weekends and holidays can get busy, so the studio recommends calling ahead to reserve a spot.

11. Cap off the long weekend with some much-needed adult time while the kids frolic on Playdate PDX’s indoor playground. This family staple is very popular, so for a less crowded experience, go during off times like evening or early morning. And if you go on Mondays after 5 p.m., admission is free.

12. If you’re still looking for ways to keep everyone entertained over the three-day weekend and beyond, check out our list of 50 ideas for winter fun in town.

What activities does your family enjoy on non-school days? Tell us in the comments below!

— Carrie Uffindell & Annette benedetti

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Crafty Hot Spots for Young Makers

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Kids are natural creators. And what better way to tap into all that inspiration than by spending a couple of hours (or more) at one of Portland’s craft-tastic studios? Whether you’re looking for a drop-in, paint-your-own pottery place or a recycled material craft class catering to preschoolers, the following list has got you covered. Read on to find out more.

photo: Little Loft Studios

Little Loft Studios
One of the newest kid-oriented studios in town, this bright space in Portland’s Sellwood-Westmoreland neighborhood has it all: open studios on Monday mornings, afternoon art groups, weekend workshops, no-school camps, and trained art educators. Classes offer everything from an introduction to art materials to the opportunity to learn about artists you may have never heard of.Open studio runs $12/child and $6/sibling. Prices for workshops and camps vary, visit the website for more information.

1520 SE Bybee Blvd.
Portland, OR
971-303-8698
Online: littleloftstudios.com

SCRAP PDX
Specializing in creative reuse and recycled materials, SCRAP PXD is a great place to pick up supplies for an at-home project. Or stay for one of their Tuesday crafternoon workshops, where crafters 6 years and older can create everything from plushy felt monsters to scrap-fabric bowls. Workshops are $20-10/person, depending on the craft.

1736 SW Alder St.
Portland, OR
503-294-0769
Online: scrappdx.org

photo: The Craft Factory

The Craft Factory
Create your own unique masterpiece using new, recycled, and repurposed materials at this drop-in studio, located in the heart of Multnomah Village above Annie Bloom’s Books. Each crafter chooses from a variety of wooden or paper bases. The first is $12 and each additional is $6. Look for monthly crafting specials and toddler times.

7832 SW Capitol Hwy., Ste B
Portland, OR
503-577-4310
Online: craftfactorypdx.com

CeramiCafe
A family-owned, paint-your-own pottery studio, CeramiCafe has over 500 unglazed pieces and two metro area locations to choose from as well as special events like kids’ nights out and no-school camps. Prices range between $8-80, depending on the item, and include everything you need for a completed project. Be sure to let young artists know that their masterpieces must stay at the studio to be fired and will be ready in a few days.

12056 SE Sunnyside Rd.
Clackamas, OR
503-698-5411

3205 SW Cedar Hills Blvd. #45
Beaverton,OR
503-747-7278
Online: ceramicafenw.com

photo: m01229 via Flickr

Michael’s
The DIY store offers a variety of in-store crafting classes for kids throughout the Portland area. You’ll find something for everyone ages three and up, from critters made of clay pots and pom pom banners to stylish tassel jewelry and knitted cowls.  Before you leave you can pick up a large variety of materials for your own afternoon or evening crafting project. There’s no reason for the artistic fun to end after the classes and workshops have wrapped up. Prices vary, with many kids classes starting at $2. Go online to see class schedules and register.

4955 SW Western Ave.
Beaverton, OR
503-646-8385

11211 SE 82nd Ave., Ste F
Clackamas, OR
503-652-0465

12255 N. Starlight Ave.
Portland, OR
503-285-0218

11719 NE Glenn Widing Dr.
Portland, OR
503-256-5466

18069 NW Evergreen Pkwy.
Beaverton, OR
503-533-2248

7705 SW Nyberg St.
Tualatin, OR
503-612-0407

Online: michaels.com/classes

SmartyPants
Glittery paint, rainbow-colored rice, and googly-eyes, oh my! This art studio specializes in open-ended projects and sensory stations that emphasize creativity and exploration over finished products. Along with open studio times, they offer classes and workshops for ages 1 to 10. Drop-in fee is $8-12/child. Annual memberships and punch cards are also available.

5512 N Montana Ave.
Portland, OR
503-477-8884
Online: smartypantspdx.com

 

Where does your family like to get crafty in Portland? Let us know in the comments!

— Carrie Uffindell

Fall-tastic Outings for Toddlers

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With the older kids back at school, you may be wondering how you’re going to entertain your energetic toddler during the crisp, cool days of autumn. To help, we’ve put together a handful of indoor and outdoor activities around the city that will keep you and the little ones busy all season long. Read on to learn more.

photo: Carrie Uffindell

Ride the Oregon Pacific Railroad
You and your little conductor can climb aboard for a 45-minute, round-trip excursion along the Willamette River and the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge. Passenger coaches – an open-air car, a business car, and a caboose or two – are pulled by the OPR 1413, a c. 1959 GMD-1 diesel locomotive. For the best views, try to score seats in a caboose’s copula. Fares are $5/person.

2250 SE Water Ave.
503-659-5452
Online: oregonpacificrr.com

Explore the Science Playground at OMSI
For one of Portland’s best-kept secret indoor play spaces, head up the escalator at OMSI to the Science Playground. Built specifically for budding scientists 6 years and under, this 7,000-square-foot exhibit hall features an 11-foot sandbox, 400 gallons of water play fun, an infant area with soft building blocks, and more. Museum admission is $14/adults; free for children 3 & under.

1945 SE Water Ave.
503-797-4000
Online: omsi.edu

photo: Ocean Yamaha via Flickr

Play & Roll at Oaks Amusement Park
Tuesday and Wednesday mornings each fall, Portland’s turn-of-the-century amusement park is all about the little ones. In September, there’s kiddie rides, milk and cookies, and story time with Chipper the Squirrel and the Oregon Dairy Princess. In October, the park offers a special skating time featuring toddler tunes, games, balls, snack time and a visit from Chipper the Squirrel. Hours vary. $7.50-$9/child; free for adults.

7805 SE Oaks Park Way
503-233-5777
Online: oakspark.com

Catch an Olive & Dingo Show
Portland’s kid-friendliest clowns will entertain and delight your wee one with funny stories, balloon animals, live tunes, and face painting. Olive and Dingo perform at select venues throughout the week, including Hammer + Jacks Toy Store and Seahorses PDX, and usually run an hour. Suggested donation of $5/person.

Various locations
971-221-6715
Online: oliveanddingo.com

photo: The Craft Factory

Create a Masterpiece at The Craft Factory
Every Friday morning, this hands-on art studio (located in Multnomah Village above Annie Bloom’s Books) offers a special craft time just for the 3 & younger crowd. For $5, your little artist can create two ornamental masterpieces using new, recycled, and repurposed materials. Older kids are also welcome to come and make a regularly-priced craft item, $12/each.

7832 SW Capitol Hwy, Suite B
503-577-4310
Online: craftfactorypdx.com

Take a Stroll Through Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden
For an easy autumn walk with your toddler, head to this historic farm-turned-garden located across the street from Reed College. Along with nine acres of trees and plants, you’ll find well-maintained paths, dramatic fall color, and a spring-fed lake populated with birds and waterfowl. Another great reason to go in fall? Admission is free September through February. Open daily.

5801 SE 28th Ave.
503-771-8386
Online: portlandoregon.gov/parks

Take a Spin on These Northwest Carousels

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Whimsical creatures, sparkling lights, old-timey music—if you’ve ever ridden a carousel, you understand the unique blend of magic and joy that it can bring to a child. Fortunately for those craving vintage fun, carousels are getting another spin on life. Read on to learn more about our favorites located in (or within two hours of) the Portland area.

photo: Jeff Muceus via Flickr

Oaks Amusement Park Carousel
The oldest ride in Portland’s beloved, turn-of-the-century amusement park, the historic Herschell–Spillman Noah’s Ark Carousel has been delighting children for 100+ years. You’ll step back in time when you step onto this ride with your little adventurer. You’ll find a menagerie of 46 wooden, hand-carved animals, including pairs of zebras, ostriches, roosters, and giraffes. And each turn and spin is set to traditional tunes that brings smiles to the faces of young and old alike.

Rides are $3.75/person or unlimited with a ride bracelet, $15.75-$31.25/person.

7805 SE Oaks Park Way
503-233-5777
Online: oakspark.com

Oregon Zoo Carousel
The zoo’s petite carousel is back! Originally added to the grounds in the 1960s, the petite merry-go-round had been MIA during the last wave of renovations. Located in the newly-dubbed North Meadow Terrace, it runs daily starting at 10:30 a.m., weather permitting.

Rates are in addition to regular admission, $3/general and $2/members.

4001 SW Canyon Road
503-226-1561
Online: oregonzoo.org

photo: wplynn via Flickr

Salem Riverfront Carousel
This Salem landmark, which opened its doors in 2001, is an old-world style carousel located on the banks of the Willamette in the city’s 23-acre Riverfront Park. More than just a ride, the Salem Riverfront Carousel is considered a work of art that offers a magical experience to everyone who steps aboard. After taking a few merry spins, check out the on-site carving gallery and gift shop. You don’t want to miss an opportunity to visit this site that some call the heart of the community.

Rental space is available for a variety of private events, including birthday parties and weddings.

Rides are $1.50/person.

101 Front St. NE, Salem, OR
503-540-0374
Online: salemcarousel.wixsite.com

Seaside Carousel Mall
A local attraction since the 1980s, Seaside’s compact, classic-style carousel is a modern-day replica located two blocks from the beach inside the Carousel Mall. Twenty-two animals are featured, from a prancing brown horse to a whimsical, fish-loving black cat. Afterwards, you and the kids can play in the mall’s arcade and/or grab sweet treats at one of the candy shops. Cost is $2.50/person.

300 Broadway, Suite 22, Seaside, OR
503-738-6728
Online: seasidecarouselmall.com

photo: Karyn Christner via Flickr

Albany Carousel
About 70 miles south of Portland, this brand new 50-foot carousel — housed in a 22,000-square foot facility — is slated to open this year on National Merry-Go-Round Day, July 25. Expect a whimsical menagerie of some 52 handmade wooden animals (think snarling dragons, hopping toads, splashy orca whales, and more), many of which have been designed, carved, and painted by folks in the local community.

Rental space will be available. Ride tokens are $2 each.

SW Washington St. & W 1st Ave.
541-791-3340
Online: albanycarousel.com

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium Paul Titus Antique Carousel
If you’re in the Tacoma area, head to Point Defiance Park to visit the zoo and take a spin on the refreshed c. 1917 Paul Titus Carousel, situated just inside the front zoo gates. Here you’ll find 34 wooden animals, including endangered Northwest species, as well as space for wheelchair riders.

Rides: $1.50/general admission and $1/ members.

5400 N Pearl St., Tacoma, WA
253-591-5337
Online: pdza.org/paul-titus-carousel

Did we miss your favorite carousel? Tell us about it in the comments section below.

—Carrie Uffindell

 

Unique Ways to Stay Cool When It Gets Hot

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Summer is heating up in Portland and so is the temperature. When the thermometers rise, finding a place where you and the kids can chill out while still having lots of fun may become a challenge. To help, we’ve rounded up some of our coolest, not-so-usual activities and special events around town that will get your family through the dog days of summer. Read on to learn more.

photo: courtesy of The Craft Factory

Get Artsy at The Craft Factory
Have a young artiste (or two) in the family? Then head to this hands-on art studio, located in Multnomah Village upstairs from Annie Bloom’s Books, where you can spend hours creating your own unique masterpiece using new, recycled, and re-purposed materials. There’s also special drop-in hours offered almost daily in the summer. Your first craft base is $12/each, then $6/each additional one.

7832 SW Capitol Hwy, Suite B
503-577-4310
Online: craftfactorypdx.com

Travel Back in Time with the Oregon Museum of Science & Industry
Starting June 24, experience one of the most cataclysmic events in the ancient Roman world—the destruction of the city of Pompeii in 79 A.D. by Mount Vesuvius. Along with a 4D theater experience, the exhibit features nearly 200 artifacts, such as frescoes, mosaics, full body casts, and artifacts. Exhibit prices range from $16-26/adult; $12-$22/ages 63 and older; $10-17 ages 3-13.

1945 SE Water Ave
503-797-4000
Online: omsi.edu

photo: courtesy of McMenamins 

Catch a Matinee at McMenamins  
There’s a reason the Kennedy School’s mommy matinees are a family staple—where else are you and your youngsters (babies too) welcome to kick back in an air-conditioned room with some snacks and watch a big screen movie in a room filled with comfy chairs and couches? Mommy Matinees are usually the first showings each week Tue.- Thurs. Tickets are $4/adults and $2/ages 11 and younger.

5736 NE 33rd Ave.
503-249-3983
Online: mcmenamins.com/kennedy-school

Jump for Joy at G6 Airpark
When your rambunctious kids are figuratively bouncing off the walls, take them to one of this indoor park’s locations so they can literally can bounce, jump, flip, and more off the G6’s wall-to-wall trampoline courts. There’s a smaller, separate court for the little ones. G6 will offer special pricing and events over the summer, check the website for more details.

10414 SE Washington St.
503-255-3334

2200 NE Andresen Rd Ste. J, Vancouver, WA
360-828-1444
Online: g6airpark.com

photo: Tony Crescibene via flickr

Hit the Lanes for Free at KingPins
Home to 40 lanes, daily open bowling, and a 4,000-square-foot arcade, this stylishly modern bowling alley is another great place to play the day away while escaping the heat. And to make it even more affordable for families this summer, KingPins is participating in the Kids Bowl Free program, which sends you coupons every week for free games from now through September. (Show rentals not included). Prices are $4.29-$5.29/game or $24.99-$29.99/hour; shoe rentals run $3.59-$2.99, depending on size.

3550 SE 92nd Ave.
503-788-7889
Online: mykingpins.com

Chill Out with a Sweet Treat at Salt & Straw
This June, dig into the Salt & Straw team’s inventive, limited edition ice creams inspired by— and made with—rescued food. Flavors include spent grains and bacon s’mores and toasted baguette PB&J. A portion of the month’s sales will be donated to Urban Gleaners to help reduce food waste and food insecurity. And don’t forget to check back in July and August for new flavors!

838 NW 23rd Ave.
971-271-8168

3345 SE Division St.
503-208-2054

2035 NE Alberta St.
503-208-3867

126 SW 2nd Ave
503-384-2150
Online: saltandstraw.com

What does your family do to beat the heat in Portland? Tell us in the comments below!

— Carrie Uffindell