Portland: Family-Friendly Things to Do in the City of Roses (Part 2)

This is the second post about our family's travels to Portland, Oregon. You can see the first post here. Because I blog about educational travel, I received free admission tickets, discounts, media rates, and other benefits for some of the attractions we visited throughout the trip. Many attractions we toured are free to everyone. I paid full price for the rest. This has no bearing on my reviews. Everything I'm sharing is something that I whole-heartedly recommend.


On Tuesday, March 13 my friend Erin picked Trevor and me up and drove us out to the Bob's Red Mill factory. Have I mentioned how grateful I am to have reconnected with friends through Facebook? Erin and I met in the dorms at UC Davis freshman year (1990) and reconnected a few years ago on Facebook. I am so glad she's back in my life! I'd hoped to post a photo of the two of us from 1990, but I couldn't find one. I have almost no photos from my time in the dorm. But here's a photo of Trevor, me, and Erin from 2018!

All three of us loved the mill tour. It was very interesting and informative. We loved working together as a group to try to identify different types of beans.

And getting to touch all the exotic (and familiar) grains they mill was really neat.

We couldn't take photos of much of the tour, but I did get a photo of Trevor grinding wheat that he first threshed and winnowed.

After a delicious lunch (all about Portland's food tomorrow!), Erin dropped us off at OMSI, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. 

Trevor and I loved all the hands-on science activities and displays. We appreciated the number of exhibits that appealed to kids (and adults) of all ages. 

We've been to a lot of science museums over the years and OMSI was one of the better ones in terms of number and type of activities, as well as pure entertainment value. However, both Trevor and I noticed that they could have done a better job with signage explaining the science behind an experiment or activity, or giving the solutions to brain teasers. There were signs and OMSI is definitely educational, but we both would have preferred even more learning opportunities. Still, we both recommend OMSI for anyone visiting Portland with kids.

Our hotel was about a mile away from OMSI across the Willamette River. Fortunately, Portland is very pedestrian friendly. We enjoyed a leisurely walk back to downtown.

On Wednesday, March 14th, Trevor and I started our day at the Portland Art Museum. Wow. Just wow.

We loved the temporary exhibit about LAIKA, the makers of the Oscar-nominated films Coraline, ParaNorman, The Boxtrolls and Kubo and the Two Strings (affiliate link). 

The pictures don't begin to do it justice. We absolutely loved getting up close to sets and figures used in these gorgeous movies. 

And it was so interesting to learn about the whole process of bringing these films to the screen. Every person who had a role in making these films is truly an artist and so gifted at what they do.  

The LAIKA exhibit runs through May 20, so hurry and go see it. It is totally worth it, even if you have to make a special trip to Portland from wherever you live! 

The other exhibits of the Portland Art Museum are fabulous as well. As usual, I was most drawn to the native art. I cannot get enough of beautiful handmade pottery, basketry, and beadwork. 

This Chilkat ceremonial robe was particularly interesting to Trevor and me. There was a documentary that accompanied it that taught us all about it, which you can actually view here. The CCNA Interwoven Radiance exhibit closes June 24, so hurry over and see it before it's gone. 

Trevor has been to enough art museums that he's getting pretty good at spotting the masters, and the Portland Art Museum had plenty to see. 

Trevor and I concluded our visit at the Common Ground exhibit. It was incredibly powerful and gave me a chance to have a very important discussion with Trevor. I am glad to have experienced it with him. I did not take any photographs in this exhibit, but many of the images remain burned in my mind. I strongly recommend this exhibit for middle schoolers and up, but would not recommend it for young children.

There's one more destination I would recommend if you're in the Portland area, which is the Capitol in Salem. It's about an hour south of Portland, so we actually stopped there on our drive home. 

This will probably sound weird, but my favorite part about Oregon's Capitol was the carpet!

We've toured a lot of Capitol buildings now (Salem was #16) and this was the first time I took photos specifically of the carpet in each room. 

The funniest part was that the gift shop sold socks in the same patterns as the carpets! I didn't buy any, but I can't say I wasn't tempted. 

I also loved this gorgeous piece of artwork. 

It's made of little colored pebbles and other natural materials. 

This mixed media piece was stunning too. 

Tomorrow I'll share all the amazing food we had to eat during our visit to Portland. It really is a foodie paradise!


  1. Looks like so much fun:) Thanks for stopping by today!!!

  2. Looks like so much fun!!!! And I can't remember, did you visit the Heard museum when you were here? (http://heard.org/) -- they have so many Native art displays! And hehehehe to your comment about the incorrect 'YOU'RE' sticker -- I didn't notice it until I had already placed it on my page! LOL!! It's a Bella Blvd. one! HA! :)

    1. I didn't visit the Heard, but definitely want to! One of these years I'll have space in my schedule to make it over there.


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