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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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Today
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Closed now
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Hours:
Sun - Sat 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Description:

Specialties

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

You hear...

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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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 229 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 136
    Excellent
  • 58
    Very good
  • 30
    Average
  • 4
    Poor
  • 1
    Terrible
Great children's museum

Portland Children's Museum is a fantastic children's museum, especially for the younger set. Visit on a weekday or sunny weekend to avoid the crowds. Excellent location, right... read more

4 of 5 starsReviewed 2 weeks ago
abarber
,
Boston, Massachusetts
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229 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
142 reviews
68 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 weeks ago

Portland Children's Museum is a fantastic children's museum, especially for the younger set. Visit on a weekday or sunny weekend to avoid the crowds. Excellent location, right next to the Zoo and Washington Park, so you can combine with other adventures. I will say I found it surprising that the cafe serves so many peanut products (especially since it's right... More 

Helpful?
Thank abarber
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 weeks ago

took our little nugget here on a rainy day. excellent museum with lots of activities, even for those under one.

Helpful?
Thank Ghazal M
Vancouver, BC
Level Contributor
48 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 19, 2015

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 

Helpful?
1 Thank xdennisma
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
138 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 11, 2015

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 

Helpful?
Thank Beenthere1950
Omaha, Nebraska
Level Contributor
22 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 28, 2015

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!

Helpful?
Thank AgentAndrea
Phoenix
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 27, 2015

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 

Helpful?
Thank tbeans
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
29 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 26, 2015

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 

Helpful?
Thank Chloris B
Washington
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.

Helpful?
Thank VacationersBware
Lubeck, Germany
2 reviews
2 of 5 stars Reviewed October 17, 2015 via mobile

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.

Helpful?
Thank Stefan M
Auckland
Level Contributor
183 reviews
46 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 89 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.

Helpful?
Thank jwjg

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Questions & Answers

Here's what previous visitors have asked, with answers from representatives of Portland Children's Museum and other visitors
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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?