You don’t need to travel to Disneyland to hit up a family-friendly amusement park with fun attractions! Portland’s very own Oaks Park has been in operation for over 100 years, bringing rides, mini golf, skating and games, all in a picturesque setting. We’ve put together must-do summer experiences and a guide for all things Oaks Park, so that you can plan your family outing and activities without breaking a sweat (well, unless you’re roller skating!). Read on for our best insider tips.
photo: Rose City Rollers
What Not To Miss This Summer
Cross the parking lot to visit the Rose City Rollers’ Hangar to watch Portland’s champion women’s roller derby team in action. There’s a special family-friendly Junior League season opener tournament at 5 pm on September 7. Tickets to this are only $10, or buy a “Family Pack”, which includes four tickets, four sodas and a popcorn for only $40. Visit their website for more details at www.rosecityrollers.com.
Oaks Park Summer Discount Days
There’s no better way to spend your summer days than going on thrill rides, skating and putting in the warm sunshine. And guess what, you can do all of these things without breaking the bank. Oaks Amusement Park has a variety of Summer Discount Days options. Find the one (or two) that are right for you here. You’ll stay busy all summer long!
Chipper’s Preschool Rides
Every Tuesday and Wednesday through Sept. 4 families with little ones ages 6 and younger can enjoy a special morning of pint-sized fun from 9:30 a.m.-12 p.m. Chipper’s Preschool Rides features kiddie rides, selected family rides, cookies and milk, and story time with Chipper the Squirrel and The Oregon Dairy Princess!
Save some cash when you mention the weekly password posted to the Oaks Amusement Park Facebook page each Wednesday. If you do you’ll get admission to the evening Open Skate Session with conventional skate rental for just $6.
photo: David P via Yelp
The Sellwood neighborhood is home to charming cottages, a classic church chapel, and the Sellwood Park. If you want to make a day of it, consider stopping at Sellwood Park first to blow off some steam at the playground, where there are also accessible restrooms and picnic tables on hand.
Oaks Park is right along the lovely Springwater Corridor Trail, a 21 mile-long multi-use trail. The paved surface is wide and perfect for strollers, bicycles, wheelchairs, skates or just plain walking. Adjacent to the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge, it’s common to spot heron and woodpeckers, and perhaps even a bald eagle or deer! Play a game of “eye spy” with your little nature lover on the way to the amusement park for a well-rounded day. Safe and ample bike parking is available onsite, just remember to bring your bike lock.
Bringing the whole fam? Maybe it makes the most sense to drive. Oaks Park boasts plentiful parking, and it is always free! Do keep in mind that special events (festivals, roller derby games, etc.) can make parking extremely challenging, so check the Oaks Park website beforehand to plan your day. Pro tip: on busy event days, park in one of the nearby neighborhoods and stroll down via the Springwater Trail (see above).
Photo: Norma R. via Yelp
The most exciting part (for most kids, anyway), are the rides! From giant slides to the carousel, here’s a ride-rundown for those visiting with kids under 10. All rides shown below are included with any of the three ride bracelet options (starting at $18.95), or are $4.95 for a single ride ticket.
Big Pink Slide
This fun classic has three tracks, so bring a bestie and race them down to the bottom! Rider requirements: 34″ to ride alone, under 34″ may ride with an adult.
Ride your own mini-motorcycle in a fast circle with friends! Mom or dad can also sit beside. Rider requirements: 34″ to ride alone, under 34″ may ride with an adult, 54″ and taller must ride in the sidecar.
Go up, up and jump as though you’re riding the waves in a real boat! Rider requirements: 36″ to ride alone, under 36″ may ride with an adult.
This mighty tug boat sways and spins as passengers squeal with glee. Rider requirements: 42″ to ride alone, under 42″ may ride with an adult.
Go up, up, up in a colorful plane, before dipping back down to the ground. Great for the younger kids in your group! Rider requirements: Under 48″ tall.
photo: April Hasson
Another perfect ride for the younger child, these little cars are complete with a steering wheel and roll on a wavy track. Rider requirements: Under 48″ tall.
Oaks Park Train
A mellow and scenic activity for the whole family, take a break on the train while taking in the sites of the park, located along the Willamette River. Rider requirements: 34″ to ride alone, under 34″ may ride with an adult.
This hand-carved carousel from 1911 is complete with white tigers, deer, zebras, and colorful horses. Rider requirements: 34″ to ride alone, under 34″ may ride with an adult.
Another ride for the whole family, the classis Ferris Wheel will take you up high enough to view the Willamette River and Portland’s West Hills. Rider requirements: 42″ to ride alone, under 42″ may ride with an adult.
Just like a real roller coaster, but with littles allowed! Parents can join the fun, too. Rider requirements: 34″ to ride alone, under 34″ may ride with an adult.
Bounce up and down, and don’t forget to say “ribbit”! Rider requirements: 36″ or taller.
photo: April Hasson
Don’t feel like rides, or the weather’s not cooperating? No trip to Oaks Park is complete without checking out the Oaks Park Roller Rink! The rink is the largest and oldest in the nation, boasting a Michigan maple floor, and the last live Wurlitzer pipe organ to operate in a U.S. roller rink.
The rink is open Tuesday-Sunday all year long, with special hours on holidays and school-out days, as well as theme days geared specifically towards families with young children. Check website for details.
Skating is included with any ride bracelet, or $7.50 plus $2 for skate rental without a ride bracelet.
For another activity the whole family can try, check out Chipper’s Woods Miniature Golf, complete with waterfalls, funny obstacles, and bridges. Open Play is available when the amusement park is open to the public, March 23 – September 29, 2019. Admission is $8.95 per person. Chaperoning adults and youth 5 and younger are free.
For a break from all of the other activities, try your hand at games, including balloon darts, basketball toss, water races, and a variety of arcade games, like air hockey and pin ball. Prices vary.
Food options at Oaks Park
For a healthy and affordable option, without waiting in lines, pack a picnic! Outside food and non-alcoholic beverages are welcome in the amusement park. First-come, first-served picnic tables are also available along the waterfront free of charge. If you do want to purchase onsite food or snacks, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the prices. Because Oaks Park is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, their concessions are lower than probably any other theme park you’ll ever visit. Prices are $3.25 for a hamburger or slice of pizza, or $3.50 for nachos, cotton candy or an ICEE. Whole pizzas are available for $25 if you need to feed a crowd!
- Cash, all major credit cards, Apple Pay, and Android Pay are accepted. ATMs are located onsite.
- Locker rentals are available throughout the park for a .25 single use fee (bring quarters!)
- Oaks Park’s facilities are ADA compliant and all restrooms are ADA accessible. The Carousel and Train are wheelchair accessible. Complimentary caregiver bracelets are available at Guest Services for guests assisting those with special needs.
- Strollers are available to rent onsite. Baby changing stations are available in most restrooms. Guest Services can assist nursing mothers with finding privacy.
- Leashed dogs are welcomed.
The Amusement Park is open late March through late September. Amusement park hours vary; see website or call 503-233-5777 for details. The amusement park is always closed on Mondays except on recognized holidays as listed on the website. The roller skating rink is open Tuesday – Sunday, year round.
What’s your favorite thing to do at Oaks Park? Let us know in the comments section below!