Top 20 Places to Take Kids in and around Portland
Every May and June, thousands of local parents, grandparents, and caregivers weigh in on their favorite local places to take kids. This page is where we showcase the 2023 list of winners for the Portland area. (Click here for the full list of nominees.)
Of course, there are literally hundreds of wonderful places to take your kids in our area, not just this year's winners! Get great ideas here! After you check out the list, make sure to find great things to do on our packed daily calendar, sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter, and visit our Everything That's Free page for lots more ideas.
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1. Oregon Zoo
The 64-acre Oregon Zoo is located in Portland, a city and surrounding metropolitan area of 2.26 million people. Annual attendance is more than 1.5 million, making the zoo the top paid attraction in the Pacific Northwest.
2. Oregon Rail Heritage Center
ORHC provides for the preservation, operation, and public enjoyment of Portland's historic locomotives, railroad equipment, and artifacts, and educates the public about Oregon's rich and diverse railroad history. Train rides are available on Saturdays, March - September, and over the winter holidays.
3. OMSI – Oregon Museum of Science and Industry
4. The Oaks Amusement Park
One of America's oldest continually operating amusement park, founded in 1905, features thrill rides, family rides, kiddie rides, go carts, miniature golf, midway games, and the largest roller skating rink west of the Mississippi!
5. Multnomah Falls
Multnomah Falls is a waterfall located on Multnomah Creek in the Columbia River Gorge, east of Troutdale, between Corbett and Dodson, Oregon, United States. The waterfall is accessible from the Historic Columbia River Highway and Interstate 84. Spanning two tiers on basalt cliffs, it is the tallest waterfall in the state of Oregon at 620 ft in height.
6. My Local Library
Of course, the libraries in the Portland area are not really ONE place, but MANY places... but it's important to emphasize how valuable libraries are for family learning and fun. The libraries in our area are wonderful about posting their events to the KidsOutAndAbout calendar so you always can get ideas for free things to do with your kids that celebrate education and imagination. KidsOutAndAbout.com takes this opportunity to salute the wonderful children's librarians who serve our community with such dedication. They're proud that locals voted them to the list of best places to take kids this year!
8. Aircraft Aviation Museum
|The Classic Aircraft Aviation Museum supports the concept of
‘living history’ by exhibiting our restored aircraft at the Museum,
at air shows, historical reunions, industry and aviation events -
including aircraft static displays and flight demonstrations.
Museum staff and volunteers provide lectures to schools, service
9. Lee Farms
Our 1869 farm is open to the public to enjoy experiences throughout the year, supporting the 4th, 5th, 6th & 7th generations today! It's a WIN for our guests and a WIN for our family as we constantly adapt to demand while maintaining the integrity of our farmland and deep roots in Tualatin, Oregon.
10. Powell’s City of Books
Powell’s City of Books is the largest used and new bookstore in the world, occupying an entire city block and housing approximately one million books. Located in downtown Portland’s Pearl District, the City of Books has nine color-coded rooms and over 3,500 different sections, offering something for every interest, including an incredible selection of out-of-print and hard-to-find titles. Dozens of acclaimed writers, artists, and thinkers visit each month to read in the Basil Hallward Gallery (located upstairs in the Pearl Room), and a one-of-a-kind Rare Book Room draws bibliophiles from near and far to browse an impressive collection of autographed first editions and other collectible volumes.
11. Sauvie Island Farms
Sauvie Island Farms offers a variety of 'pick your own' fruits and vegetables for those who desire the freshest produce right from the field. Our season begins in June with strawberries and ends in December with Christmas trees. Bring the whole family and experience our country farm just 10 miles from downtown Portland.
12. The Wiggle Room
The Wiggle Room is a play space ideal for kids 6 months to 6 years in NE Portland Hollywood district designed and owned by a local, experienced and licensed pediatric occupational therapist, Jessica Wade. Your kids can get their wiggles out in a clean safe environment while you enjoy a coffee, beer, or glass of wine!
13. Audubon Society of Portland
Portland Audubon’s passionate and growing community has loved and advocated for Oregon’s wildlife and wild places for more than 100 years. With the help of our vast network of advocates, nature enthusiasts, and partners, we inspire and connect people to nature through a variety of programs that are grounded in science and learning.
14. Hoyt Arboretum
Founded in 1928 to conserve endangered species and educate the community, Hoyt Arboretum encompasses 190 ridge-top acres and 12 miles of hiking trails just minutes from downtown Portland. Home to 2,300 species of trees and shrubs from six continents, Hoyt Arboretum is a place of beauty and serenity no matter the season.
15. The Pumpkin Patch
For 54 years now, we've been a lot more than pumpkins! Visit our family farm June-October! The Produce Market, Patio Cafe, Pumpkin Perk Coffee, Pumpkin Cottage Gift Shop, The Maize, and 1929 Big Red Animal Barn on Sauvie Island. GAP Certified (Good Agricultural Practices) by USDA.
16. Leach Botanical Garden
Situated along a free-flowing creek in outer SE Portland, Leach Botanical Garden is an inviting, restorative urban greenspace. The Upper Garden features a covered arbor, Aerial Tree Walk, Pollinator Garden, and Open Meadow. The hillside and lower garden feature native plants, historic Leach plant collections, meandering, wooded trails, and riparian area pathways along Johnson Creek. The garden is family-friendly; kids can view the tree canopy on the Aerial Tree Walk, run and play in the Far Meadow and learn about the bees, butterflies, and dragonflies that visit our four-season pollinator garden.
17. Portland Japanese Garden
The Garden sits nestled in the hills of Portland, Oregon’s iconic Washington Park, overlooking the city and providing a tranquil, urban oasis for locals and travelers alike. Designed in 1963, it encompasses 12 acres with eight separate garden styles, and includes an authentic Japanese Tea House, meandering streams, intimate walkways, and a spectacular view of Mt. Hood. This is a place to discard worldly thoughts and concerns and see oneself as a small but integral part of the universe.
18. Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks & Minerals
Nestled on 23-acres in a mid-century ranch style home, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Rice Museum of Rocks and Minerals houses a world-class collection recognized as the finest in the Pacific Northwest and one of the best in the world. Located just west of Portland, Oregon, in Hillsboro, the Museum offers tours, hands-on activities, a picnic area, and green spaces to explore. Let us fuel your passion for Earth science.
19. Sky Zone Trampoline Park - Vancouver, WA
Sky Zone is the world's first indoor trampoline park. We're the inventors of "fun fitness" and the makers of trampolines as far as the eye can see. We give you one of the greatest workouts ever combined with Awesome, Healthy Fun. We've been voted the number one "out of the box" workout and the "Best Party Ever." Experience WOW " the weightlessness of bouncing, flipping and landing in a pit filled with 10,000 foam cubes.
20. Topaz Farm
Our family-owned and operated 130-acre working farm on Sauvie Island is just 20 minutes from downtown Portland. Since we opened in 2020, we’ve used all-regenerative practices; no spray, no herbicides, no pesticides. We feed our crops by taking care of our soil and water.
Winners in Special CategoriesIn the second part of our survey, we asked readers to select their favorites in three categories. Here were their choices.
Top Arts Educator - Portland Art Museum
Founded in late 1892, the Portland Art Museum is the seventh oldest museum in the United States and the oldest in the Pacific Northwest. The Museum is internationally recognized for its permanent collection and ambitious special exhibitions, drawn from the Museum's holdings and the world's finest public and private collections.
Top Sports Educator - Lloyd Center Ice Rink
Lloyd Center Ice Rink is a unique ice skating rink in the center of Lloyd Center. We are conveniently located on the first level across from Macy's. We offer Learn to Skate Group Lessons, limited figure skating supplies, broomball, group rates, birthday parties, freestyles, dance, private ice and last but not least public skating sessions. We have classes for everyone! Pre-Schoolers to Adults, Beginners to Advanced!
Top STEM Educator - Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI)
The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry is one of the top science museums in the nation and offers brain powered fun for everyone.