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“Young children's paradise” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Portland Children's Museum

Portland Children's Museum
Ranked #33 of 440 things to do in Portland
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Specialties 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. History 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.
Vancouver, Washington
Level Contributor
44 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Young children's paradise”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 September 2013

This is a great place for young kiddos. My daughter is almost 6 and can read really well so I feel she was almost too old for this place. Most of the activities are very sensory driven such as playing with clay, building with recycled material, playing in the water structures, etc. But it was a fun place for her to be creative.

The dinosaur exhibit was kind of disappointing. It was pretty much just statues of dinosaurs with many boards to read, which is fine but it looked like they just had a vacant room and threw that stuff in there.

As I mentioned, this is the perfect place for kids under 7 or 8. The price isn't bad and it's a good way to let their imaginations run wild. I'd say a must go.

Visited August 2013
Thank Tracey_and_Addie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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288 reviews from our community

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English first
Toronto, Ontario
Level Contributor
109 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 75 helpful votes
“Wish we had one of these at home!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 September 2013

Our 4-year-old love, love, loved this place! We stayed for over 4 hours. It is well worth a visit, especially for little kids. The exhibits are creative and educational, the entrance fee is reasonable, and the food in the cafe is healthy and delicious. A must-see in Portland for families with kids.

Visited August 2013
Thank CdnMtnGal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Perfect for a toddler”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 August 2013

I wish we had something like this in Vancouver, BC. Science World is close, but not nearly as interactive as this place. If I lived in Portland, I'd have a membership for sure.

My 2 1/2 yr old loved this place and my husband loved the coffee sold in the cafe. A must for us when we visit places like this.

Parking was ample when we got there first thing in the morning (when we left mid-afternoon, it looked much harder to find a spot since the lot is shared with two other attractions). The lot is decently priced at $4 for the day. You pay when you enter the attraction but I believe they're switching to a more modern payment system soon.

The venue was clean with lots of bathrooms. It's very well thought out and it's so nice to go to place where you don't hear a constant, "Don't touch! Be careful! Put that down!" I loved the fact that my kid could explore to her heart's delight. The dinosaur exhibit was okay. I was expecting more.

I got a stinking awesome deal for this attraction ($3.50 pp) by going through this website called "get my perks" and using a discount code (queenbee) but it's a limited time offer that expires November 30 2013 AND you need a credit card with an American address to pay for it. But if you can swing it, it's a 65% savings.

A fantastic way to spend the day with a toddler but maybe not so much for the older child. They have in/out privileges which we used after a cat nap at our hotel mid-afternoon. They close promptly at 5pm.

Visited August 2013
Thank Penelope N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dallas, TX
Level Contributor
164 reviews
31 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“Great for my kids”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 August 2013

My little ones are 2 and 7, so finding places/activities for them both can be hard. The Portland Children's Museum was a great place for them both.
We started out in the clay room where my older child sculpted and my little one whacked the clay with a mallet. They each got to have some separate time - my oldest went into "The Garage"- a room for 6 and up, and my toddler hung in the Baby Garden. They met up in the play grocery store and shopped together before we broke for lunch. We took a final stroll around the maze before packing people up in the car.

Visited July 2013
Thank LTtravels2003
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
12 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Great for kids and fun for adults too!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 August 2013 via mobile

We took our 2 and 3.5 year old to the museum during our first trip to Portland. They would have stayed there all day if they had their way. There was a great variety of different things to do and play with. I personally loved the mini grocery store, bakery and vet. So much fun watching the kids explore and interact with other kids. If you have kids, visiting this museum is well worth it! Also, the zoo is right next door though we didn't have time to go there this trip.

Visited July 2013
Thank mefloren
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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