Walt Disney said, “All of our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” This weekend, take his famous words to heart and check out our list of the inspiring family experiences. From dreaming of being your own captain at the Portland Boat Show, painting your own masterpiece like Vincent Van Gogh, traveling to Middle Earth with J.R.R. Tolkein, or tracking winter animals like explorers, you and your little ones could make this weekend the start of something big.  Winterhare

Eastside

J.R.R. Tolkein Birthday Bash

Wear your best orc, wizard or hobbit getup and celebrate all things J.R.R. Tolkein at his annual birthday bash.  Take part in a costume contest, watch the full Lord of the Rings trilogy in the movie theatre, nosh on Hobbit-inspired food, dance to music by The Garcia Birthday Band and pay a visit to Joe Mishkin, “The Balloon Guy.” Sat., 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Free, All Ages. Event details.

Come Sail Away
Most kids are fascinated with ships, captains, pirates, fishing and grand sea voyages – as are many adults. Take advantage of the dream of traveling to great lands far away with them by checking out the Portland Boat Show this weekend.  The show will feature hundreds of fishing boats, ski boats, yachts, sailboats, jet skis and accessories.  Kids can build a small boat to take home. Fri. 11 a.m.- 9 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m. – 8 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., $10/person; free/children 12 and under; $8/parking, All Ages. Event details. 

Artsy Anniversary
Well, well, well, look who’s two! Celebrate creativity with Art ala Carte PDX’s 2nd Birthday Party and enjoy entertainment from Tallulahs Daddy, face painting from Hennatopia and a raffle for a free birthday basic package, plus receive all day membership specials. Sat.,10 a.m. – 3 p.m., first 5 free; $9/ages 0-4; $11/ages 5 and up. Event details.

Westside

Naturally Curious Kids
Be a naturalist for a day at OMSI.  During this Discovery Lab event, kids become a naturalist for a day and practice their scientific skills like observing, drawing, taking weights and measures and investigating specimens.  For the coup de gras, kids get to dissect an owl pellet and take home the artifacts hidden inside.  Reservations recommended.  Buy online or at the OMSI Ticket Desk. Sun.,10 a.m., $5/ticket, All Ages. Event details.

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Ready, Set, Gogh!
Introduce your child to art techniques, art media and master artist Vincent Van Gogh with a “Starry Night” acrylic painting on canvas, as part of the Mini Masters Fine Art Class. Adults are encouraged to participate with their child. Fri., 10:30-11:10 a.m., $10/person, Ages 2-5. Event details.

Worth the Drive

Fur Coats and Tails
During the dark, cold winter nights, animals are moving around everywhere. Have you ever wondered how they can navigate through so quickly and quietly? Find out and have fun with hands-on activities, games and stories. Sat., 1–3 p.m., Free, All Ages. Event details.

What grand adventures will you be embarking on this weekend?  Tell us in the comments below.

— Suzie Ridgway

Photo Credit: Tomi Tapio via Creative Commons