With the older kids back at school, you may be wondering how you’re going to entertain your energetic toddler during the crisp, cool days of autumn. To help, we’ve put together a handful of indoor and outdoor activities around the city that will keep you and the little ones busy all season long. Read on to learn more.
photo: Carrie Uffindell
Ride the Oregon Pacific Railroad
You and your little conductor can climb aboard for a 45-minute, round-trip excursion along the Willamette River and the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge. Passenger coaches – an open-air car, a business car, and a caboose or two – are pulled by the OPR 1413, a c. 1959 GMD-1 diesel locomotive. For the best views, try to score seats in a caboose’s copula. Fares are $5/person.
2250 SE Water Ave.
Explore the Science Playground at OMSI
For one of Portland’s best-kept secret indoor play spaces, head up the escalator at OMSI to the Science Playground. Built specifically for budding scientists 6 years and under, this 7,000-square-foot exhibit hall features an 11-foot sandbox, 400 gallons of water play fun, an infant area with soft building blocks, and more. Museum admission is $14/adults; free for children 3 & under.
1945 SE Water Ave.
photo: Ocean Yamaha via Flickr
Play & Roll at Oaks Amusement Park
Tuesday and Wednesday mornings each fall, Portland’s turn-of-the-century amusement park is all about the little ones. In September, there’s kiddie rides, milk and cookies, and story time with Chipper the Squirrel and the Oregon Dairy Princess. In October, the park offers a special skating time featuring toddler tunes, games, balls, snack time and a visit from Chipper the Squirrel. Hours vary. $7.50-$9/child; free for adults.
7805 SE Oaks Park Way
Catch an Olive & Dingo Show
Portland’s kid-friendliest clowns will entertain and delight your wee one with funny stories, balloon animals, live tunes, and face painting. Olive and Dingo perform at select venues throughout the week, including Hammer + Jacks Toy Store and Seahorses PDX, and usually run an hour. Suggested donation of $5/person.
photo: The Craft Factory
Create a Masterpiece at The Craft Factory
Every Friday morning, this hands-on art studio (located in Multnomah Village above Annie Bloom’s Books) offers a special craft time just for the 3 & younger crowd. For $5, your little artist can create two ornamental masterpieces using new, recycled, and repurposed materials. Older kids are also welcome to come and make a regularly-priced craft item, $12/each.
7832 SW Capitol Hwy, Suite B
Take a Stroll Through Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden
For an easy autumn walk with your toddler, head to this historic farm-turned-garden located across the street from Reed College. Along with nine acres of trees and plants, you’ll find well-maintained paths, dramatic fall color, and a spring-fed lake populated with birds and waterfowl. Another great reason to go in fall? Admission is free September through February. Open daily.
5801 SE 28th Ave.