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Portland Children's Museum

Certificate of Excellence
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Address: 4015 SW Canyon Rd, Portland, OR 97221-2759
Phone Number:
+1 503-223-6500
09:00 - 17:00
Closed now
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Sun - Sat 09:00 - 17:00


A museum's name tells you a lot about what it treasures.

You hear...


A museum's name tells you a lot about what it treasures.

You hear the name--art museum, history museum, automobile museum--and you immediately know what you'll find there: objects, rare and wonderful; encounters with the unusual; beauty for beauty's sake. The specifics differ, but in each case, the collection takes center stage.

Our name shows what we treasure, too, and it tells you how we're different.

We're a museum that doesn't act like a museum because our audience--children and the adults who care for them--is more important to us than anything we collect. Indeed, our audience is the essential component that gives our exhibits meaning.

Instead of investing in precious objects, we use familiar materials to craft priceless opportunities for children to learn through play. Our approach is inspired by the early childhood schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy; built on inquiry-based learning strategies; and influenced by a strong image of children as intelligent, creative, and resourceful.


Established in 1946.

In 1946 visionary Portlander, Dorothea Lensch, founded the "Junior Museum and Adventure House," as part of Portland Parks and Recreation. Lensch, who served as Portland's recreation director from 1937 to 1972, was particularly dedicated to meeting the needs of Portland's underserved communities. She developed innovative programs for children with special needs and for economically disadvantaged families, a legacy that lives on in our mission and core values.

We moved to our current location in Washington Park in 2001, thanks to the incredible efforts of our partners including the Rotary Club of Portland and Portland Parks and Recreation. Our new building, the former home of the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), is five times larger than the one we left behind, allowing us to expand our programs and add a school. In 2014 we completed Outdoor Adventure, opening new kinds of exploration and discovery to our community. We now host over 313,000 visitors every year.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 296 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 173
  • 67
    Very good
  • 36
  • 5
  • 3
Kids Delighted!

Took two grandchildren [at their suggestion] and it proved immensely successful. This isn't a museum in the conventional sense, more a place full of interactive displays for kids... read more

Reviewed 14 August 2015
east midlands
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296 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 284: English reviews
east midlands
Level Contributor
297 reviews
64 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 177 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 August 2015

Took two grandchildren [at their suggestion] and it proved immensely successful. This isn't a museum in the conventional sense, more a place full of interactive displays for kids including a small theatre, a supermarket, a vets and so on. Our kids would have stayed all day quite happily but we wanted to do other things. We were happy spending a... More 

Thank lancashireexile
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
32 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 August 2015

My friend and I took his boys (3 and 5 yrs) here and had an absolute blast! From playing in the water works, to the tree house, space station, the outdoor areas... this was a place where a kid can run wild, learn new things, and let their imagination be free. We made little pottery pieces, face painted, and even... More 

Thank Heidi W
Level Contributor
76 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 August 2015

I would recommend this place for children 6 and under, it's not really for older kids and 6 might even be too high. Lots of hands on things for little ones that they can touch and play and experience. Lots of fun but lots of germs since it's little hands everywhere, bring your sanitizer! You can also bring lunch which... More 

Thank Niblet98
Kapaa, Hawaii
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 August 2015

We had 9 kids in total and it was really a fun time. Word of wisdom: try to do the water room last..... you'll see why (wet, squeaky kids throughout the rest of the museum otherwise - because of course my kid refused to wear the cover-up).

Thank Megan D
Vancouver, Washington
Level Contributor
189 reviews
54 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 August 2015

This place is every child's dream! Dramatic play at its finest. We recently enjoyed the outdoor play area which was a nice place to get some fresh air and enjoy the sun.

Thank Family_Jules1969
Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
55 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 August 2015 via mobile

I was a little disappointed with this museum. We've been to many children's museums and my expectations were high for one in such a great city. My boys are 5 1/2 and I would say they are barely on the age limit cusp if not over it for this museum. They had fun in the two hours we spent there,... More 

2 Thank Twinmommy2010
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 July 2015

Awesome!!! a lot of great things happen there. My kids and wife loved it. We always planned a trip there every fall. My kids love the fake market and the water area.

Thank Patrice A
1 review
Reviewed 24 July 2015 via mobile

We got the membership and have gone many times. Never had a bad experience. Staff is friendly and helpful, plenty of exhibits and they even fired our clay sculpture for a couple dollars my daughter sculpted and glazed a great father's day present. We love PCM and will be getting another membership next year SO worth it.

Thank Haley J
Ely, Nevada
Level Contributor
10 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 23 July 2015

Great place to bring the kids. We have done a lot of traveling through the NP and love to stop and have the kids explore other kid friendly museums. The kids enjoyed it and had a lot of fun.

Thank Chris B
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
11 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 July 2015

There are so many activities to keep kids busy. They have the new outdoor maze and hiking area. They have coats and rain boots available for kids to use outside. Indoors they have an always changing area (once it was Wizard of Oz, another time a circus, a construction zone....) a tree house with story time, a "dig pit" with... More 

2 Thank Jaque3

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Questions & Answers

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Typical questions asked:
  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
  • How do I get there using public transportation?
  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?