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Portland Children's Museum

4015 SW Canyon Road, Portland, OR 97201
+1 503-223-6500
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Ranked #28 of 317 Attractions in Portland
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Type: Children's Museums, Museums
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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.

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140 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
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English first
Eugene, Oregon, United States
13 reviews 13 reviews
5 attraction reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 20, 2014 NEW

Lots of stuff to do for young kids and bigger kids.. especially great if you're looking to socialize babies or small toddlers with other ones. We had a good time. :)

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Fairbanks, Alaska
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
9 attraction reviews
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 14, 2014

The Portland Children's museum is a real gem for children. We especially enjoy the outdoor maze, outdoor children area, and all of the interactive things to do at the museum. As an added bonus, my kids loved playing the piano at the entrance. One even got a "tip" while playing!!!

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Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
9 attraction reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 10, 2014

Took our 7 yr old granddaughter here for a visit and easily passed 5 hours away playing and exploring. Sooo much to do here with your kids. Kids get to touch EVERYTHING! From playing or sculpting things with clay, playing with water, dressing up to put on a play, climbing and more. The price was $10.00 a person.

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los angeles, ca
Senior Contributor
48 reviews 48 reviews
15 attraction reviews
78 helpful votes 78 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 30, 2014

We are from Los Angeles and my daughter really enjoyed our visit to the children's museum. We have been to other children museums, such as San Diego, Phoenix and Orange County. This is a smaller one and appears to be a bit older. Nevertheless, your average 4 year old may not know the difference. The indoor "splash" area was a... More

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5 reviews 5 reviews
4 attraction reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 28, 2014

Our kids loved this place! Large space with fun things for kids to do and explore. They loved the grocery shopping area, clay area and water space. Had a cool Wizard of Oz exhibit when we were there. Lots of hands on things to do there. Also have seating in the entrance to stop and have bag lunch or buy... More

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Vancouver, Canada
Top Contributor
57 reviews 57 reviews
9 attraction reviews
53 helpful votes 53 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 17, 2014

It is good if your kids are 3 yo. Our daughter got bored very fast as the attractions were very simple and not challenging! Staff was great though

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Chicago, Illinois
13 reviews 13 reviews
11 attraction reviews
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 2, 2014

My kids had the most fun climbing trees and playing hide and seek at the new outdoor exhibit. We wish there had been personnel in the cardboard room. Fun to build cardboard forts, but would have been more fun if the kids could have used markers and scissors.

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Monza, Italy
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
8 attraction reviews
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2014

I'd say this museum would be best suited for children from 1-6/7 years of age. It's got a lot of hands on activities that can really keep them occupied for hours (a number of memorable "stations" were: a stage where they can put on shows, pottery making area, "machine/gadget" making area, water play both in and outside, a tree house,... More

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King George, VA
3 reviews 3 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 2, 2014

The museum is essentially a giant multi-faceted playground (and that's underselling it). The workers were great and had the right attitudes. Loved the "go and play" perspective of the museum, not afraid to let children explore and make messes. Could have easily spent 3-4 hours there. Many different areas with many different play options. Highly recommended.

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Tucson, Arizona
Top Contributor
240 reviews 240 reviews
55 attraction reviews
121 helpful votes 121 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 26, 2014

Besides an entrance fee, there is now a $1.80 per hour parking fee. No new activity has been added to the museum, the old stuff is getting really old. Most is really boring for any kid over 5. There are not enough things to share. It gets easily overcrowded. Some areas seemed to be closed for classes. The face painting... More

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