We know you want what’s best for your baby, and that baby book has pages waiting to be filled! So pack your giant diaper bag and load the stroller in the car because we have some of the best spots in Portland to visit in Junior’s first year. Read on for baby sign language classes, soaking pools, museums and more.

photo: Portland Children’s Museum

Portland Children’s Museum
It’s never too early to introduce your baby to PCM. The entire museum will offer stimulating sights and sounds that will have your tot in awe (take a slow walk through the Enchanted Forest and you’ll see what we mean). Outdoor Adventure has a specific Toddler Area (also appropriate for babies) that’s fenced in and includes water, sand and grassy areas for a complete outdoor sensory experience.

Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily

Portland Children’s Museum
4015 SW Canyon Rd.
Online: portlandcm.org


Munchkin Playland
When you need a break but baby has energy to burn, Munchkin Playland is a great option. Built for kiddos 42 inches and shorter, this is a baby and toddler haven with soft, squishy structures for climbing and small slides that are just the right size for mini tumblers. A full coffee bar means that the grown-ups are covered and the menu includes everything from freshly-made paninis to applesauce pouches (because they really know their babies). Their customers love the clean environment and easily-accessible restrooms with changing tables.

Hours: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

Munchkin Playland
18335 NW West Union Rd
Online: munchkinplayland.com

photo: Seahorses PDX


Seahorses PDXSeahorses PDX is becoming an institution on Hawthorne, known for celebrating the modern dad by offering quality, durable products for babies and kids. But they offer more than products; baby-wearing, stroller-pushing dads can gather for events like PJ Story Hour and Carseat Basics, or just show up to play in their baby-friendly and welcoming space. And when Dad needs to get out of the house and socialize sans kids, Dad’s After Hours events are BYOB (that’s beer, not babies).

Hours: Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sundays, 12-5 p.m.; closed Mondays

4029 SE Hawthorne Blvd
Online: seahorsespdx.com

Kennedy School Mommy Matinees and Soaking Pool
For an innovative playdate idea, invite the crew to join you for a Mommy Matinee at the Kennedy School’s historic theater. The first movie of the day on Tuesday through Thursday each week is fuss-friendly, so you can bring babies and no one will mind if you have to stand and pace, shush the little one to sleep or comfort nurse. After the movie, put on swimsuits (and a swim diaper for baby) and head to the heated, salt water soaking pool for a relaxing float together. Area residents get in free (must show I.D. with 97211 as the zip code), others are $5 per guest.

Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, first showing of the day, $4/adult, $2/child 11 & under (babies free with an adult)

Soaking pool: Children are welcome 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Kennedy School Movie Theater
5736 NE 33rd Ave.
Online: mcmenamins.com

Oregon Zoo
We’re fortunate to have one of the nation’s best zoos in our town, so why wait to get Baby acquainted with the animals? The zoo is friendly for kids of all ages, and babies have a great view from a stroller, front pack or backpack. The younger the babe, the closer she’ll need to be in order to be able to see the animals, so we recommend features like the sea otters, the aquarium of fish, the cheetah (it likes to lounge right in front of the window) and the colorful pictures in the new Education Center. The restrooms in the Elephant Lands building are quiet and easy to get to for diaper changes, and the building is air-conditioned on hot days for indoor seating in which to take a nursing break.

Hours: 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m. daily

Oregon Zoo
4001 SW Canyon Rd.
Online: oregonzoo.org

photo: Micah and Me via Facebook

Micah and Me Performances
If you were to ask the Portland babies, they would find a Micah and Me performance for every day of the week. Their upbeat and playful tunes catch the attention of even the youngest audience members, and parents like supporting a local, original band with legit talent. They appear regularly at some of our favorite spots, such as Beanstalk Montavilla, Seahorses PDX, Portland Children’s Museum and Mississippi Pizza. Check their Facebook events page for a complete list of upcoming events.

Online: micahandmerocks.jimdo.com

Baby Sign Language Classes
American Sign Language is a fantastic way to communicate with babies in their first year, regardless of their hearing abilities. The first time your baby signs “more,” “all done,” “milk” and even “mommy” and “daddy,” you will have opened a door to communication that will strengthen your bond in an exciting new way. Classes like Portland Early Learning Project, Westside Baby Sign Language and Tiny Talkers offer workshops and regular classes for parents of babies as early as 5 months old.

Classes: Check out our suggestions here.

Hit the Trails with Hike It Baby
The next great spot to go with baby is, well, anywhere! Hike It Baby is made for moms (and dads and caregivers of all types) who want to get outdoors and bring the baby along for the ride. Hikes are available in a variety of lengths and difficulty levels, and it’s easy to find one near you using their online search tool. Just make sure to browse the safety guidelines and register online before showing up to your first hike. There are an infinite number of things for babies to observe in nature, and this is the perfect time to venture out with the trees and wildflowers in bloom.

Online: hikeitbaby.com

What other plans do you have for baby’s first year? Let us know in the comments below!

—Marianne Walters

featured photo: cherylholt via pixabay