We are definitely in the thick of spring and April is the month to let those little ones run through acres of tulip fields bursting with color at the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival, to treat yourselves to free ice cream cones at Ben and Jerry’s, or to take kids on a behind-the-scenes tour of the Oregon Zoo’s new elephant habitat they will never forget. The following are 10 things in Portland your family cannot miss this month.


 photo: Brady Montz via Flickr Creative Commons

1. Stop and Smell the Tulips at the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival
Now through May 3rd

This 31st annual event centers on field after field (40 acres, actually) of tulips in every color and draws visitors from far and wide. Activities and photo opportunities take place each day, including hay rides and cow train rides, bouncy houses, slides, swings, trying on wooden shoes and eating plenty of delicious food. Some of the kids’ activities require an additional small fee. All ages.

Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm
33814 S Meridian Rd.
$5/person ages 13 and up; $20 max per carload; free for kids 12 and under
Online: woodenshoe.com

2. Learn Why Three is a Magic Number at Schoolhouse Rock Live!
Now through April 26, Sat. and Sun.

Check out the 70’s morning classic, animated shorts, School House Rock, as they come to life in a musical production on the big stage. The show features Tom, a nerve-wracked school teacher, inspiring his students with the beloved music cleverly disguised as history, civics, grammar and math lessons. Kids will have a blast with I’m Just a Bill, Three is a Magic Number and Conjunction Junction, among others. Best for ages four and up.

Dolores Winningstad Theatre
1111 SW Broadway
Online: octc.org

3. Let Them Entertain You: Tears of Joy Puppet Show: When Animals Were People
April 10-19

Tears of Joy Theatre presents two tales from Mexico and Argentina paired into one dynamic puppet play incorporating Spanish words and phrases. When Animals Were People features friends, Tortuga, Grandfather Zopilote, and Ardilla, who enjoy sharing meals together. Find out what happens when Lobo asks to join them, and wants to eat more than just their delicious stew. The Lazy Bee, features a young, fun-loving bee as she faces the consequences of refusing to do her fair share of the work. Best for ages four and up

Imago Theatre
17 SE 8th Ave.
Online: tojt.org

4. Have a Blooming Good Time at the Hood River Blossom Festival 
April 11-26

Celebrate spring with Hood River County’s acre after acre of pear, cherry and apple trees dressed in their delicate pink and white blooms. In addition to the supremely scenic 35-mile drive around the Fruit Loop, families can expect pancake breakfasts, a pansy party, quilt and craft shows, beer and wine tastings, as well as truckloads of baked goods, preserves, yarn and fresh produce available for purchase. See website for a complete schedule and event locations along the Fruit Loop. All ages.

Hood River Fruit Loop
Various locations, schedules and pricing (see website for details)
Online: hoodriver.org

ben & jerry's ice cream

photo: Ben and Jerry’s 

5. Treat Yourselves to Ben and Jerry’s Free Cone Day
April 14

What’s better than ice cream?  Free ice cream!  Ben and Jerry’s celebrates another awesome year of making ice cream by doling out free scoops for one day. Pop into one of their five Portland locations to get yours. All ages.

Pearl District, 301 NW 12th Ave.
Downtown, 524 SW Yamhill St.
PSU, 510 SW Mill St.
Uptown Center, 39 NW 23rd Ave.
Hawthorne, 1428 SE 36th Ave.
Online: benjerry.com

6. Immerse Yourselves in Culture at Oregon Symphony’s Peter and the Wolf
April 19

The Magic Circle Mime will play out Prokofiev’s classic story, set to music performed by the Oregon Symphony for their final kids’ concert of the season. The performance will have kids on the edge of their seats as three musicians and a conductor’s assistant try to outwit the wolf that threatens the orchestra and the audience. All Ages.

Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
1037 SW Broadway
Online: orsymphony.org

©Oregon Zoo/ photo by Kathy Street

photo: ©Oregon Zoo/ photo by Kathy Street

7. Get an Elephant’s View at Elephantastic!
April 25

Visitors will have the opportunity to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience touring a portion of Elephant Lands from the elephants’ perspective. Small groups will be able to walk through the North Habitat, formerly the Elk Meadow. The exhibit is covered in thick sand and not suitable for those with mobility challenges, but the pedestrian viewing area is completely accessible. All ages.

Oregon Zoo
4001 SW Canyon Rd.
Free with Zoo Admission ($8.50-$11.50/person; Free for children 2 and under)
Online: oregonzoo.org

8. Kick Off the Rose Festival at the 82nd Avenue of the Roses Parade
April 25

The Rose Festival events kick off in 3, 2, 1… For the first officially sanctioned event of the Rose Festival, the 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade will feature local businesses, school groups, bands, fire engines and community organizations marching down the street in grand fashion. Stick around afterwards for the carnival with children’s entertainment, face painting, balloon animals and more, as well as the ultra-cool, classic car cruise-in. All ages.

Eastport Plaza
S.E. Boise Street – North on 82nd Ave. to SE Yamhill & SE 80th Ave.
Online: rosefestival.org


 photo: Oregon Ag Festival

9. Be a Farmer for a Day: Oregon Ag Fest 2015
April 25-26

After petting adorable bunnies, goats, sheep and pigs, learning how to lasso from real-live wranglers, racing mini tractors and riding ponies, don’t be surprised if  your kids want you to pack up your city life and move to the country. In addition to the mountains of activities to keep the littles entertained, there will also be plenty of free, live entertainment and delicious homemade food available to sample and purchase. All ages.

Oregon State Fairgrounds
2330 17th Ave.
$9/adult; Free for kids 12 and under; Free Parking
Online: oragfest.com

10. Go on an Epic Adventure with The Little Mermaid
April 25-May 25

The NWCTS finishes its season up with this world-premiere adaptation featuring a young mermaid longing to live above the sea, on land. A-WOL Dance Collective takes the audience on a grand journey through the mermaid’s underwater adventures, and up into the air, flying high above it all, with this musical performance. All ages.

Northwest Children’s Theater
1819 NW Everett St.
Online: nwcts.org

Which of these will your family do? Let us know in the comments below!

—Suzie Ridgway