The halfway point of summer has almost arrived and there’s still so much fun to be had. We’ve scoped out a day of entertainment in the city of Eugene for those spur of the moment urges for a day trip. Break out of a summer, monotonous rut and check out this city for some new family merriment. Eugene offers lots more than their ever popular Ducks. Although if the Ducks are playing we’d recommend adding that to your day trip as well.
The Eugene Play by Play
Approximately 2 hours from Portland via the I-5, it’s best to fill the kiddos tummies breakfast style and then hit the road for your day of adventure. For this jam packed family day you’ll want to pack swimwear, sunscreen, towels, sand buckets/shovels, and vehicle entertainment.
First Stop: Cascades Raptor Center
Get up close and personal with over 60 birds of prey at this engaging little non-profit. Get close enough to the enclosures to actually see through the nose holes of a turkey vulture! Each bird has been rescued, rehabbed, and deemed unfit for release which allows us to get a great education about these awesome hunters. You and your kids will love reading the stories of each individual bird and how they came to be captive, educational birds. The staff is engaging and happily answers any questions your kids may ask.
Location: 32275 Fox Hollow Road, 97405
Hours: Tues thru Sun 10a-6p
Admission: Adults $8, Children 12 and under $5
Take Note: Every Tuesday thru Friday at noon the facility hosts a handler talk, a very informative session that gets the kids closer to the bird and a great understanding of how these birds hunt, nest, and survive.
Time To Get Your Grub On: Laughing Planet
We understand that lunch needs to be quick, nutritious, and entertaining. Add to that inexpensive (we’re talking fast food prices) and that’s exactly what you’ll get at Laughing Planet. Head in to this local establishment for delicious grub for grownups and kiddos alike. Food is served very quickly but just in case your little one gets bored at record speeds, they have a host of dinosaurs to play with. In fact, the dinosaurs have been known to keep kids so happy and occupied that they beg to stay at lunch. When’s the last time you had that request?!?
Location: 760 Blair Blvd, 97402
An After-Lunch Dessert: Red Wagon Creamery
After lunch head on over to the Red Wagon Creamery where the slogan is “farm to spoon”. Made from local scratch, Red Wagon carries seasonal ice creams that are too yummy to pass up. Not to mention that a kid’s scoop on a sugar cone is under 3 bucks! Dine in or take your cone for a walk up and down the downtown area. If you’re feeling like an extra kick of sugar, cross the street and purchase a dozen VooDoo donuts without the line you’ll find in Portland.
Location: 55 West Broadway
The After Sugar Energy Burner: Skinner’s Butte Park
Now that the kids are amped up on sugar, head on over to Skinner’s Butte Park. This place is amazing and worthy of hours and hours of play. Make the wardrobe change in to swimwear because the kiddos are about to get wet and dirty. Water and dirt, a kid’s equivalent to the best kind of fun. You can start down by the river where kids are free to splash around, skip rocks, float sticks, whatever strikes their fancy. And then head up to the playground that is sure to get them jumping for joy. Water features that include dam building with mud, filling buckets with a pump, and standing under raindrops. If they tire of water (does that ever happen?) there’s a gigantic climbing structure with slides, swings, and fields of grass for running. Plenty of shade for mom and dad too. Good luck getting them to ever leave!
Location: 155 High Street
Tip: If you want the closest parking without having to walk the trails, drive by the first parking lot and make your way to the second lot. This lot has quick access to the playground.
Have A Little Time Leftover: Fifth Street Public Market
Now that lunch and ice cream have been burned off at the park, your family may be begging for dinner. If that’s the case and you still want to spend time in Eugene before your trek back home we recommend heading to the Fifth Street Public Market. You can choose between a variety of quick bites or sit down delights. Sprinkled with shopping and live entertainment, the public market is a perfect ending to a perfect day.
Location: 296 East Fifth Avenue, 97401
Hours: Open til 7:00pm M-Sat and 5:00pm on Sundays
Did we miss any of your favorite Eugene hang outs? Fill us in below!
— Amy Smith
Photos courtesy of Red Wagon Creamery Facebook Page, Fifth Street Public Market Website, and Amy Smith