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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
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 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 262 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 151
  • 62
    Very good
  • 31
  • 5
  • 3
My son LOVED this

My son is only 14 months old. So I figured we would just walk around and look at things but he was in love with every "room" we went to. I think he could have spent ALL day there... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed 1 week ago
Miami, Florida
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262 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 252: English reviews
Miami, Florida
Level Contributor
25 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

My son is only 14 months old. So I figured we would just walk around and look at things but he was in love with every "room" we went to. I think he could have spent ALL day there. We didn't check out the outside areas b/c it was almost 100 degrees that day, but the inside was great. We... More 

Thank AlanaK221
St. Kitts
Level Contributor
25 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

Our little granddaughters were visiting us in Oceanside (which is an amazing place to live but not a lot for little girls to do int he winter). They live in Phoenix where there are tons of things to do year round so i came up with a schedule for them including a great live play, movies, feeding the fish at... More 

Thank Turtlejane
Vancouver, Washington
Level Contributor
27 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 weeks ago

Fun with water, creative play spaces, build a bike station and a climbing tree all great fun. The Grand kids loved it.

Thank Ron B
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
56 reviews
26 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

I have an 11 and a 6 year old and we went with 3 other kids (3, 5, 6). Never considered going to kids museum thinking my 11 year old would get bored. As it turned out everyone had a great time. Their favorites were the clay area, the water play. And the animal hospital. Had a hard time getting... More 

1 Thank pedsRx
Level Contributor
19 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

The children's museum is truly a place for kids. My favorite thing about it is that it is very self guided, allowing kids to explore their interests usong tolls and tous they may not have access to at home. The garage even allows them to put in work with real tools! The outdoor area will invigorate the naitralist in them... More 

1 Thank Madeinoregongirl
Fremont, California
Level Contributor
77 reviews
52 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 15, 2016

It was a hot hot hot day in Portland and the museum was the best thing that happened to us :-). Took our 7 month old who enjoyed the music room , the water room and the theater. 1st sunday of month offer : Free entry for BoA credit / debit card holders!

Thank Dharu
Moscow, Russia
Level Contributor
40 reviews
28 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 15, 2016 via mobile

We had a small RV. Rangers are there and are sending you 2 miles away and then to take shuttle bus. We spent 30 mins to find parking and parked on archery range stop, another 15 mins waiting for a shuttle. Total more that 1 hrs lost on the way there and back. And we were coming from Seattle!

Thank AlexanderKorablev
Santa Clarita, California
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 13, 2016

excellent, sprawling children's museum with a good heart. lots indoor and outdoor activities, each one a bit small but usually very well thought out. go early when it's not so crowded.

Thank Marc L
Level Contributor
9 reviews
3 attraction reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2016 via mobile

Perfect museum, a lot of play area, from all of kind, very interesting for the kids, they could stay there all day. At weekend was crowded but although they enjoy. There is not enough place for eating area.

Thank tal z
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 28, 2016 via mobile

There was plenty of activities for kids to get there energy out and keep busy for a few hours. Mine are 2 an 7 they had a great time. My oldest loved the pottery room ,grocery store, and make up area. My youngest really enjoyed the vet, dentist an water area. There is small toilets if your potty training and... More 

Thank Lisabet S

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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?