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Top Family-Friendly Summer Attractions in Portland

Published May 30, 2019 | Updated Feb 19, 2020

Looking for some great places to take the family in the Portland area this summer? Here's a list of some the best attractions in Portland that are great for kids and parents alike.

The summer is always a great opportunity to be a tourist in your own home town. We've found some of the top attractions in Portland that are great to visit over and over again. Happy exploring!

Oaks Park

Oaks Park is the oldest continually operating amusement park in the ​United States, and features family rides, kiddie rides, thrill rides, miniature golf, go carts, midway games, and the largest roller skating rink west of the Mississippi.  

Keep an eye on their events & specials calendar for special drop-in events and family entertainment!

Pioneer Courthouse Square

Pioneer Courthouse Square, located in the heart of Downtown Portland, is an urban park affectionately known as the City’s “living room.” Each year the Park is activated by more than 300 programmed event days made possible through community-driven initiative and the generosity of private sector sponsors throughout the Portland region. This scope of annual programming contains iconic annualized community traditions and unique ‘once in a lifetime’ events that reflect the civic role of the Park within its community and the evolving needs of the citizenry that it supports.

Oregon Museum of Science & Industry (OMSI)

The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) is home to five unique exhibit halls, eight hands-on science labs, including one of the only “wet” chemistry labs in the country, the USS Blueback submarine, the Kendall Planetarium, Empirical Theater and much more! The five exhibit halls include a hands-on Science Playground for visitors six and under, the Earth Hall features Science on a Sphere, the Turbine Hall highlights engineering, design and industry, the Life Sciences Hall offers an in-depth view into the world of biology, and the Featured Exhibition hall which hosts large traveling exhibitions. Guests of all ages can build brainpower with over 200 interactive exhibits.

Portland Children's Museum

Instead of curating relics and artefacts, the Portland Children's Museum focuses on using familiar materials for children to learn through play. This approach is consistent with their mission to create transformative learning experiences through the arts and sciences.

That doesn't mean that they don't have interesting things to see, as several permanent exhibits engage kids and their parents.  Among others, these include the child-sized Zany Maze, the 1.3 Acre Outdoor Adventure Playspace (including Big Mr. Twister pictured on the left), and the Grasshopper Grocery & Butterfly Bistro.

Oregon Zoo

The Oregon Zoo has five major exhibit areas in their 64-acre facility where over 230 species of animals, and over 1,000 species of plants reside.  These areas are: The Great Northwest, Fragile Forests, Asia, Pacific Shores, and Africa.

This zoo is a must-see for any animal lover, as there simply isn't anywhere else nearby to see such a wide range of exotic mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, birds, and more!

Lan Su Chinese Garden

Lan Su Chinese Garden is a result of a collaboration between the cities of Portland and Suzhou, Portland's sister city in China's Jiangsu province that's famous for its beautiful Ming Dynasty gardens, and is therefore the most authentic Chinese garden outside of China. 

It is a powerfully inspiring experience based on a 2,000-year-old Chinese tradition that melds art, architecture, design and nature in perfect harmony. Lan Su always has something new to offer, as displays change by the season.

Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum

The Evergreen Aviation Museum is located in the Willamette Valley, just 45 minutes southwest of Portland. Other than the Space Museum Playground, and the Aviation Museum Kidzone, the must-see highlights include the Biplane Carousel, Titan II Missile Launch sequence and state-of-the-art 3D Theater.  

If you’re traveling with children, do not miss the indoor Wings & Waves Waterpark, and the outdoor play park as well.

Washington Park

Get out on a sunny day to explore all the Washington Park. The park is full of trails that wind through the park's beautiful scenery and numerous attractions. You can walk through the park or hop on the free shuttle. Some of the park's attractions have already been listed in this blog, like the Oregon Zoo and the Portland Children's Museum. But trust us, there's a lot more to see, and many of the attractions are free! Let the kids play in the epic playground, visit the Hoyt Arboretum, smell the roses at the International Rose Test Garden, or explore the Portland Japanese Garden. You might have to make a few visits to see all that Washington Park has to offer.

Enchanted Forest

Just south of Portland, in Turner, Enchanted Forest is fun for all ages! This theme park is a world of fantasy nestled in a beautiful lush forest setting.  Stroll thru Storybook Lane, explore Fort Fearless and the western town of Tofteville and meet the spirits of the Haunted House…if you dare. Step back in time at the Old Europe Village and experience the dazzling Fantasy Fountains water-light show.  Plus, the biggest Log Ride in the Northwest, The Challenge of Mondor, an indoor target shooting ride, roller coaster, bumper cars, frog hopper, kiddie Ferris wheel, kiddie bumper boats, summer comedy theatre, gift shops, food, picnicking and much more.

Looking for more things to do with the family this summer? Check ChatterBlock's Things To Do tab.

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