Have you had enough of the rain and used up all of your indoor activity ideas? If so, grab your kid, hit the road and explore Portland by land, air, sea, or rail. With so many options for transportation fun, it’s a shame to sit in the house one minute longer.
Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU) Aerial Tram
Take to the skies and let your little travelers delight in an aerial tram ride overlooking the Willamette River and downtown Portland. They’ll watch in utter fascination as the fully-windowed cabin completes its three minute journey up Marquam Hill from South Waterfront to OHSU. The ride is free for kiddos six and under and older kids and adults can buy a roundtrip ticket for only four bucks.
Download maps and directions online at: portlandtram.org
Bring your high-flyers back to the ground after their tram experience and continue the adventure in a Portland Streetcar. You can amp up the fun by hopping off the tram and catching a trolley a short distance from the ticket station at SW Moody and SW Gibbs. With a streetcar coming every 15 minutes, it won’t be long before your little explorers clamber into the car and get a front row view of the wonders of downtown Portland. Note: Streetcars are free in the Free Rail Zone (formerly Fareless Square).
Metropolitan Area Express (MAX)
If they’re still begging for excitement by land, air or sea, you can easily get off the street car at Pioneer Square and pick up the MAX. You’ll still be in the free rail zone as long as you stay downtown. Best of all, your light rail aficionados can loop around downtown until they (or more likely you) have had enough transportation fun for the day.
If, by this point, you’re feeling a little boxed in by all of the cabin-based rides, get some much-needed fresh air by hailing a Portland Pedicab. These bicycle-based rickshaws carry two to three people and are human-powered by cyclists. You can catch one on the fly, or call in and book a ride based on your schedule. Enjoy green transportation by the waterfront, Pearl District, Old Town or NW 23rd without the fear of your youngest cyclist falling off the bike or bee-lining into a parked car. Kids 12 and under ride free with an adult purchase.
Looking for transportation that’s a little more “magical” than just a ride downtown for the day? The Portland Spirit is bringing back the beloved Cinnamon Bear cruise for families this December, beginning on December 2, 2012. Based on the children’s book “The Cinnamon Bear”, this cruise will delight young sailors with magic, stories, songs and best of all, a boat ride up and down the Willamette River! The event is capped off with a picture of your little one and the Cinnamon Bear, sitting in his magical thrown. (Pictured)
Mt Hood Railroad
If your junior conductors are more likely to scream “All Aboard” than “Set Sail”, it’s time to experience the popular Polar Express on the Mount Hood Railroad. This delightful train ride invites kids to board in their pajamas and makes a round trip journey to the “south Pole”, complete with a reading of the “Polar Express”, Christmas carols, hot cookies and warm cocoa. Once the train pulls into the station, the old guy himself, Saint Nick, boards the train to hand out a special keepsake bell to each child. So grab your little caboose and ride the rails!
What’s your child’s favorite form of transportation in Portland?
— Laurie Halter