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Portland Children's Museum

Certificate of Excellence
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Address: 4015 SW Canyon Road, Portland, OR 97201
Phone Number: +1 503-223-6500
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9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Closed now
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Sun - Sat 9:00 am - 5:00 pm


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


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 227 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 135
  • 57
    Very good
  • 30
  • 4
  • 1
More like a massive playground than a museum, but still incredible!

Our two kids (4.5 and 2) did not stop running and playing for five hours when we got there. No shortage of things to do and play with, and everything was clean and... read more

4 of 5 starsReviewed 6 days ago
Vancouver, BC
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227 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Date | Rating
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English first
Vancouver, BC
Level Contributor
47 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 6 days ago NEW

Our two kids (4.5 and 2) did not stop running and playing for five hours when we got there. No shortage of things to do and play with, and everything was clean and well-maintained. The only reason I gave it a 4 instead of a 5 was because the café on site had a very limited menu and we didn't... More 

Thank xdennisma
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
125 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 weeks ago

My 2.5 year old grandson loves this place. It has tons of things to interest him. the water room is his favorite. Many tables with running water and things you can control to change the speed, direction etc. There is a pretend grocery store and cafe, a construction yard, building center and pretend animal hospital. The theater stage allows kids... More 

Thank Beenthere1950
Omaha, Nebraska
Level Contributor
14 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 weeks ago

My son was 1 1/2 when we went there and he had a blast. Lots of things and across form the zoo so you can make a day of activities. Pack some snacks and bring the wagon!

Thank AgentAndrea
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 weeks ago

Nice place to spend a couple of hours. Our daughter is 6 and she stayed somewhat entertained but I do think a 7 or 8 year old would be bored. Children 6 and under will likely enjoy. It has a nice layout and an optional scavenger hunt for the bigger kids. They also have a small cafe where you can... More 

Thank tbeans
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
27 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 weeks ago

Both my nephews love this place. The 3 year old one and the 28 year old one. There was something for everyone. Especially the water area. Great job of creating different play areas and both nephews still talk about their visit there. If they didn't live so far away I'm sure we would go back many times. I suggest you... More 

Thank Chloris B
Level Contributor
11 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 17, 2015

A nice day trip for adults with kids. Really great. Have lots to do here. We very much enjoyed this place so much. The day flew by and we still had not gotten to everything we wanted to do. We did come home with some very cool t-shirts which my kids love.

Thank VacationersBware
Lubeck, Germany
2 reviews
2 of 5 stars Reviewed October 17, 2015

My kids are 5 and 7. For the small one it was ok, but for the old one it was pretty boaring! For me it lookes NOT AT ALL like an educational museum. It is a playground. Nothing more.

Thank Stefan M
Level Contributor
145 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 83 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 16, 2015

Our 7 year old daughter spent an hour here happily enough but it is really for even younger kids. We were a little disappointed given the comparatively high admission price. It is pretty basic, but our daughter did enjoy the clay area and the automotive area where she could use a glue gun.

Thank jwjg
Salem, Oregon, United States
Level Contributor
26 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 15, 2015

I went once with my son's family and other friends of theirs with children of different ages. I was impressed at how the attractions appealed to all of the children--toddlers through late elementary school age. Some of them had brought lunches, some bought lunches, and we ate together on picnic benches outside (it was wonderful to have that option, not... More 

Thank Caroline K
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
29 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 14, 2015

If you go early its alright but if you go late it like a zoo. Your lucky if you can keep sight of your kids.

Thank Joshua M

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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?