courtesy of Patrick Johnson
comes alive at the Portland Children's Museum
without warning, lights and sirens went off inside the Portland
Children's Museum near downtown Portland.
Instead of a stampede of parents and children rushing out of the
building near the Oregon Zoo, there was laughter and the screams
of a little girl saying, "How did you do that?!"
Portland Children's Museum
4015 SW Canyon Rd,
Portland, OR 97062
the Portland Children's Museum: The museum was founded
in 1949 and was originally called "The Junior Museum."
It featured exhibits on natural history, crafts, a clay
studio, and even a pet lending library. The museum's location
has changed over the years, from an historic mansion to
it's current home in the beautiful forests of Washington
Park in a building formally occupied by the Oregon Museum
of Science and Industry. The Children's Museum is dedicated
to inspiring imagination, creativity, and the wonder of
learning in children and adults by inviting moments of
Tips: First and foremost, bring your camera to capture
your child discovering and exploring. Make sure you have
a flash, as it's indoors and lighting can be challenging
in some areas. Give yourself plenty of time - a full day
at least, as children can spend hours playing with clay
or pretending to build a new house. Creativity can't be
rushed - just ask my editor.
What to bring: Bring some extra money if you want
to walk away with your child's creation in The Studio.
What isn't recycled costs the museum extra money and they
do charge if you want to keep or fire clay sculptures.
A change of clothes for your child isn't a bad idea, especially
if you are going to be visiting other attractions in the
area. While the smocks and slickers do their best to keep
kids clean, playing in the water and with clay can make
for some grungy little ones.
March 1 through August 31, open Monday - Saturday, 9 a.m.
to 5 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
September 1 through February 28, open Tuesday - Saturday,
9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed
The musuem is located five minutes west of downtown Portland
on Highway 26. Watch for the signs for the zoo.
For more information about the Portland Children's
Museum, visit their web
site or contact them at 503-223-6500.
Metro-West model ambulance is just a part of the Providence Health
System's Kids Care area where children and adults alike can play
E.R. with everything from X-rays to examine to the lights and siren
of the ambulance (my personal favorite).
The 55-year-old museum, which started when visionaries of Portland
decided that the city needed place for children to gather, plan
and learn, boasts more than 200,000 people every year. The museum
moved to its Washington Park location in 2001 from a historic home
on Lair Hill. Since it has moved there have been more than 1 million
Each day you can see a stream of kids, parents, teachers and adults
filing into the museum to learn, explore and just have fun.
museum is designed for children from ages 6-months to 10 years old,
with more than six different areas to explore. Each area has a different
focus, from the Baby Garden with littler children in mind, to the
Kid City Market where kids can shop (with a working scanner) and
pretend to make meals for people who come to the drive in or to
a kid-sized restaurant. Here are just a few of the highlighted areas:
The Dig Pit: The Dig Pit is where kids can dig in rubber
pieces that look like dirt - without needing a half-a-gallon of
Spray N Wash after playing in the "mud." Surrounded by
a three-walled mural of a construction site, this area also features
a conveyor belt, shovels and buckets for children to dig and play
Water Works: Visitors who walk into the museum for the first
time are amazed at the first area they see - Water Works. It features
valves, fountains, funnels, and floats that show kids how water
is moved and used. Yes, there are slickers for kids before they
enter the area - and a bank of warm blowers for when they are done
Building Bridgetown: Do you have a little contractor in your
family? They will love this exhibit which shows children how houses
are built. From plumbing and open walls, children can panel a wall,
connect plumbing fixtures, take measurements and lay sod in this
17-foot-high, 2 story exhibit.
Studios: If you have a little artist in the family, plan to
spend most of your time in The Studios, an area where they can paint,
sculpt, design and explore. From a small puppet theater, to an area
where kids can paint their own faces, be ready for creativity to
go wild. Children can play and create with clay and paints in The
Studio and it's lined with the work of those who visit. You can
take your child's "Venus de Milo" home for an additional
museum also can accommodate field trips, classes, birthday parties,
camps and you can even rent out the museum. The museum operates
by using volunteers and members sponsor the operations.
Story by Patrick Johnson, a free-lance writer
based in Canby, OR.