We’re not fooling when we say April has arrived, and with it a host of events perfect for your little adventurer seekers. From LEGOS to fossils to a craft explosion, the following nine events will have you forgetting all about March. Read on to learn more.
photo: Annette Benedetti
For Science Lovers
The Art of the Brick
OMSI’s latest exhibit is sure to inspire the lego-lover in your little builder. Artist Nathan Sawaya has created artworks of stunning proportions, each carefully crafted with humble legos. Check out famous historical pieces like the Mona Lisa or Rodin’s Thinker, alongside original creations. There’s even a T Rex skeleton! There is an extra cost alongside museum admission for the exhibit, but children under 3 are always free.
Check out our detailed guide to learn more before you go.
When: Runs through May 29
Cost: $19.75/adult for exhibit and museum admission, $15/senior and $13.50/youth (3-13). Members: $5.50/Adult, $4/senior and $3.50/youth (3-13)
1945 SE Water St.
Minerals, Gemstones and Fossils Finds
The Mt Hood Rock Club is a rockhounding group that meets twice a month to swap stories of thundereggs (Oregon’s state rock!) and agate. Many members are also skilled at cutting and polish gemstones. Their annual rock show is a chance for the public to check out the latest finds of fossils, gemstones, and and minerals, and see jewelry-making demonstrations and exhibits. The event is free for all and each child receives one free rock to start their collection! An additional kids area with games, activities, prizes will thrill your family even more.
When: Apr.28 & 29, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. & Sun., Apr. 30, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
W.D. Jackson Amory
6255 NE Cornfoot Rd.
Count the Critters
Your budding scientist will love to take part in this annual field survey, open to volunteers. The Water Resources Education Center in Vancouver, Wa. celebrates April’s Earth Month by inviting families to help count amphibians and reptiles in the field. The day starts with a brief training session at 9 a.m., then you’ll head out to designated sites to spot frogs, snakes and lizards—all for the love of science! Kids will get a in-depth look at what local scientists do to help support these populations. Back at the center they can see even more live critters close up. Admission to the center is free. Check out their other offerings with exhibits, gardens, educational info about sturgeons and salmons, and even a special toddler play area.
When: April 9, from 9 a.m.-noon
Water Resources Education Center
4600 SE Columbia Way
photo: Portland Children’s Museum via yelp
For the Outdoor Lovers
Get Out and Explore
You may have thought the Children’s Museum was best for a rainy indoor day, but don’t forget their recently finished Outdoor Adventure discovery space. The museum recently transformed 1.3 acres of previously inaccessible land to a wild natural play space. Designed to allow kids to experiment, get messy, and really play, it provides a safe environment to explore. Now that the weather is a bit warmer, it’s a great time let your little one try it out. Come prepared for all weather, because it might rain—but that just adds to the fun!
When: Daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Cost: Members are free, non-members $10.75, seniors 55 and up$9.75, under 1 free.
Portland Children’s Museum
4015 SW Canyon Rd.
Get Out and Tinker
Tinkergarten is a series of outdoor classes that gets kids outside and learning in a fun healthy environment. Held in local parks around the city, the curriculum is based on nature, exploration, cooperation, and play. Classes target different age groups from 18 months up to 6 years, and activities are fun for all age. Kids will craft wands for bubbles, make a ‘spring soup,’ and celebrate the seasons while joining together. Check out the website for suggestions of activities you can do at home, and join them for a free trial class!
When: April 4, 9:30-10:45 a.m.
3670 SW 78th Ave.
Get Out and Learn
Camp Namanu started out as a summer camp for Campfire Girls in 1942. It now caters to anyone, with day camps, overnight camps, equestrian camps, and more! Their Family Outdoor Skills Day is a wonderful chance for the whole family to join together along the banks of the Sandy River. Let your young explorer choose the activities, and you’ll learn new skills like fire building, whittling, knots, shelter building, and outdoor cooking. An all day event with lunch included and different activities offered throughout the day. Parents might feel like they’re back at summer camp themselves!
Dates and fees vary according to the program. Find all of the information you need online.
42185 SE Elsner Rd.
photo: Michael S via Flickr
For the Art Lovers
New Gardens to Explore
Portland’s beloved Japanese Gardens have been under heavy construction for 18 months for the new Cultural Crossing. Mark your calendars for the grand opening on April 2! The new additions combine Japanese craftsmanship with Pacific Northwest materials include a new entrance, new garden pavilion and buildings designed to blend seamlessly into the surroundings. The Umami Tea Cafe will provide a relaxing place to refresh and renew your little one, complete with Japanese tea and special sweets! And all the old favorites are still there: the mesmerizing Koi ponds and tiny statues to hunt down. Bring your little one on a Japanese-inspired treasure hunt.
When: Opening April 2. Mon. noon-7 p.m.; Tue.-Sun. 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
Cost: $9.50/Adult, $7.75/Senior (65+), $7.75/College Student (w/ID),
$6.75 Youth (6-17), Children 5 and under free.
611 SW Kingston Ave.
Let your budding artist try their hand at a craft of their choice at The Craft Factory. For $12 they get to pick their own craft and fill a bucket with unlimited embellishments, then spend an hour perfecting it. Drop in anytime for crafts, or head to one of their events: Toddler time is on Friday mornings, and the whole month of April has special events for Easter, Earth Day, and even Grandparents Day! Check out the whole list online. All ages are welcome, as young as 18 months. Children under 13 must be accompanied by an adult.
Activity times and price vary and can be found online.
The Craft Factory
7832 SW Capitol Hwy, Suite B (upstairs from Topanien Gifts and Annie Bloom’s Books)
Indoor Art Hunt
If spring rains are pouring, take the kids on an indoor art-hunting exploration at The Portland Art Museum. Kids under 17 are always free! The museum offers regular Family Tours, where a skilled docent will guide you around on a themed exploration like Native American Masks or ‘Colorific.’ Visit the museum on April 22 for Family Free Day, where admission is (you guessed it) free, and a range of youth and community-driven programs will be on hand exploring African American art, identity, and culture.
When: April 22
Portland Art Museum
1219 SW Park Avenue
What’s your families favorite April Activity? Share it with us in the comment section below.