If your kid is a fan of exploring the skies, seas and space, The Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum is right up their alley. Little voyagers will have a blast checking out the largest wooden plane ever (the legendary Spruce Goose) and modern rocket ships before dipping their toes into Evergreen’s massive indoor waterpark. Check out our tips to navigating this cool space!
What To See
Evergreen Aviation Museum touts military, commercial and general aeronautical planes, manned and unmanned spacecraft, helicopters, and even a rocket or two–what’s there not to love? Plus, there are planes on display outside the buildings, just to get your gang’s excitement going even before they get inside. Uncover diagrams of planes, pilot uniforms, firearm exhibits and other impressive displays of flight and air travel as you peruse the two buildings of aircraft. Oh and if the mood strikes, you and your team of super kids might want to unwind and catch one of the onsite movies.
Supported by a wealth of volunteer Air Force retirees, the aviation museum offers numerous lectures about the planes you see on display. Some lectures cost extra and are best for the bigger kids who can sit still and appreciate the first hand experiences of these heroes.
Get Your Wiggles Out
Break up the aviation lesson with a spin on the indoor, no charge biplane ride (preschoolers and older kids will love how they can control their plane’s ascent and descent). Or get climbing, moving, and sliding at the playground outside of building three. It’s not covered, so dress your kiddos for the elements.
Fees and Food
Admission for the Aviation Museum, Space Museum and Firearms Exhibit is $25 for adults, $24 for seniors and $23 for kids ages 5-16. It’s free for kids under 5. Annual family memberships are a great way to waive daily entrance costs if you and the kids want to come back often.
Fuel up with snacks or lunch at one of the cafes (located in each of the museum buildings and walking distance from one another) with the typical grilled kid food/cold sandwich options. The museum does not allow outside food or drinks, but if it’s a nice day you can take the kids and a cooler to the museum’s Oak Grove for a picnic.
If you and the kiddos have time and energy left after all this aviation-themed learning fun, then check this out high flyers…just across the parking lot is the nowhere-else-in-the-world Wings & Waves Waterpark. You can’t miss it. It’s got a 747 on the roof!
Wings & Waves Waterpark
There is only one word to describe Wings & Waves – and that word is rad. It may be a day trip all by itself, but if your clan has the energy for it then get ready for an epic afternoon! There are play areas and slides for little kids and incredible twisty, turny, steep and FAST slides for bigger kids. The water park boasts water play galore via splash areas, a wave pool and a leisure pool with complimentary tubes for floating fun. The interior of the park is heated to 85 degrees, the spa to 102 and all of the water to 84…a toasty warm escape on those chillier Oregon days.
The science park inside this building presents even more opportunity for hands-on joy with over twenty interactive exhibits focused on water. The in-house Milky Way café is ready for your clan (no outside food allowed) for snacks or even dinner on the weekends. The kids will surely be hungry after all of this amazing indoor fun!
Things to Know
It is a pricey day. Adults and kids over 42” are charged $32 each to swim or $12 for a dry pass for entry to the science area but no water features are included. It’s $27 for each kiddo under 42” to swim and free for children three and under. Lockers are available for an additional rental fee.
The waterpark, like the museum, boasts floor to ceiling windows so sunglasses may be helpful on bright days. The park can be mighty noisy between the cacophony of happy kids, the music and the buzzer warning of the next wave about to break in the wave pool. Be prepared for sound!
What To Bring
Pack the suits, sunglasses (as needed), towels and aqua shoes. Life vests are available on site without a fee. You definitely want to bring your own towels. If you forget, you’re buying them in the gift shop. Aqua shoes are allowed, but it is recommended you hold them in your hands when you go down the slides. And a packing note for your littlest tadpoles; bring the swimsuits that don’t have any built-in floaties.
How to Get There and When To Go
Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum and Wings & Waves Waterpark are located a little over three miles southeast of McMinnville and about a one-hour drive from Portland. Take 5 South to exit 294 for 99W/Tigard toward Newberg. Follow for about 23 miles then pickup Highway 18W/OR 233 SE Dayton Bypass and follow for five miles. The museum is located across the street from McMinnville Municipal Airport.
Waterpark hours vary by season and during the week so check out the web site for the daily schedule.
For even more action nearby, check out other Red Tricycle approved family fun in McMinnville!
Does this sound like something your plane-loving kid would love? Tell us about your trip to the Avergreen Aviation and Space Museum in a comment below.
— Liz Overson
Photos courtesy of The Evergreen Aviation Museum and Wings & Waves Waterpark