Portland with Kids and Families

Contributor: Rachel Thomas.  Rachel manages the archives of George Fox University and the Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends.  She is a Pacific Northwest native and loves sharing the beauty of her region with others.  



Portland is a great place to spend a day with your family.  Whether exploring the zoo, picnicking in a park, or enjoying quality time at a children’s show, your family is sure to enjoy their time in Oregon’s largest city.  Here are a couple of my family’s favorites:

The Oregon Zoo:


Spread over 64 acres in the hills of Portland, the Oregon zoo can easily keep your family busy for an entire day.  Active in conservation efforts, the zoo not only provides a fun family outing but is a wonderful educational opportunity.  Recent changes include a redesigned elephant habitat,  a new baby polar bear, and advances in Condor conservation efforts.  The main lawn of the zoo is the perfect place for a summer picnic under the gaze of the nearby elephants.  

The Portland Children’s Museum:

Portland Children's Museum

The Portland Children’s museum offers a chance for interactive play and learning.  With a dozen permanent exhibits and more rotating in and out, there are many great opportunities for creative fun.  Exhibits are both inside and out, making this a prime location no matter the weather.

Olive Rootbeer and Dingo Dizmal:

O and D prodWP_20150402_032

What’s Portland without some clowns?  Olive Rootbeer and Dingo Dizmal perform in cafes and restaurants around the city and are loved by the children of Portland.  Their shows include music, stories, comedy, tall bikes, face painting, balloon twisting, and more!  A great place to get those wiggles out, Olive and Dingo’s storytimes are fun for the whole family! Please note: Olive and Dingo support themselves through their career as clowns.  Give what you will to support their artistry.  


On hot days the children of Portland gather around fountains for refreshing play.  Teacher’s Fountain along the waterfront is especially fun to splash in! Grab a suit and join in the laughter as you run through the fountains.

Oaks Amusement Park:

Spend a day or an evening at a good old fashioned amusement park.   Oaks amusement park has traditional rides, carnival games, miniature golf, and a roller skate rink.  Whether you love fast rides or enjoy trying your luck with games, you are sure to have a good time.  

In addition days can be spent exploring one of Portland’s many parks, hiking through green spaces.  Many of the museums in Portland offer family or children’s tours.  Check out OMSI, the Portland Art Museum, the Oregon Historical Society Museum and many more!  The city is full of sights and sounds that are sure to make a memorable trip for your family.

No matter where your family’s interests lie, Portland is sure to have something to delight and amuse you.


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