What’s the best go-to spot in town for interesting, interactive, indoor fun? Add uncrowded and fab for all ages, too. Answer: The World Forestry Center. There’s so much to rave about here we could go on and on and on. Instead,  we’ve attempted to contain and condense our enthusiasm to the top eight delightful activities awaiting you inside.

1. You can go river rafting. Literally! Throw on one of their life preservers then jump into a real canvas raft and watch the river rapids emerge on a screen in front of (and behind) you. Best of all, family photos snap every few minutes and are on sale in the gift shop if you wanna bring home a memento.

2. Climb into a feller buncher and pretend to take down a huge Doug Fir. Douse a forest fire by trying to drop water on the burning trees.  Play a xylophone, try your hand at wood magnets or get hands-on in the sand and plant some seedlings. Lots to do here and we’ve not yet gone upstairs!

3. Crawl through tunnels, explore a cave and its animal inhabitants (in cuddly stuffed animal form), learn about forest rangers, check out a short film about our treetopolis,  or take a  ride in their indoor chairlift and check the tree canopy. Pretty dang cool.

4. Now it’s time to head upstairs. Visit the Russian forests via train, explore China’s millions of trees via boat. Then head further into the dark and climb into an open air jeep for a safari in Africa or take an elevator into the Brazilian Rain Forest. Yeah, awesome.

5. Get hands-on with marionettes, drums, different dolls and many wood variations. Walk across the footbridge for a bird’s eye view of floor one. Check out whatever visiting exhibit is on  – could be photography of Ansel Adams, in-depth background on tree houses, bats, or any number of woodland discoveries. Right now it’s 125 Years of photos of the Grand Canyon. Stunning.

6. The World Forestry Center Discovery Museum is open every single day (except Christmas, Christmas Eve and Thanksgiving) from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm. None of that closed on Mondays ballyhoo. In fact, their Mommy and Me Mondays are a fab time to enjoy art, music and hands-on fun (Mondays @ 10:00 a.m.) on top of the museum’s everyday radness.

7. They’re part of the Washington Park trifecta of talent, tucked between the Oregon Zoo and the Portland Children’s Museum.  It’s easily accessed via MAX, which will save you a couple of bucks when those new meters go into effect for members and day-tripppers alike. Another way to save some coin is to visit this den of indoor treedom on Wondrous Wednesdays (the first Wednesday of the month) when admission is a mere $3.

8. Last but far from least, head outside and visit Peggy the Train. It’s estimated she’s hauled a billion feet of logs in her lifetime. She’s outside but covered, and your little conductors can climb on in and let their imaginations fizzle like fireboxes.

World Forestry Center
4033 SW Canyon
Portland, Or  97221
Online: worldforestry.org

Admission is $9 for adults, $8 for seniors,$6 for kids 3 and up and free for 2 and under. And don’t forget about Wondrous Wednesdays (first Wednesday of every month) and the $3 deal. Take me to the Top Canopy Lift Ride is $4 for adults and kids alike and $2 for members.

Did we miss your favorite thing to do at the World Forestry Center? Tell us below!

— Liz Overson

Thanks for the photos go to World Forestry Center Facebook page and Liz Overson.

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