Eugene, Oregon’s second-largest city, is home to the University of Oregon. Thanks to a heady mix of arts and culture, natural beauty and physically and socially active residents, Eugene has plenty of activities that let teens explore their interests. Whether your teen is looking for a little weekend fun or a long-term activity, she’ll have no trouble finding something to do in Eugene.
High school students in Eugene can learn about the area’s natural history and explore the basics of archaeology by volunteering at the Museum of Natural and Cultural History at the University of Oregon. Teens can lead tours, serve as exhibit hall interpreters or help with general museum duties after applying and participating in the museum’s training process. Teens interested in wildlife might enjoy volunteering at the Cascades Raptor Center, where they can learn more about corvids, eagles, owls and other birds of prey. High school students can also volunteer to help with camps, planetarium shows and other activities at the Science Factory Children’s Museum and Exploration Dome.
Explore the Outdoors
Adventurous teens won’t want to miss an expedition down the Umpqua River, just south of the city, with Oregon Whitewater Adventures. The Class III and IV rapids make for action-packed paddling, so if your teen is new to rafting, consider making the short drive to one of the outfitter’s less intense whitewater trips. Admission is free for teens who want to hike at Mount Pisgah Arboretum, and teens who bike to the arboretum don’t have to pay for parking either. Several trails, including Trail 1, which takes you up more than 1,000 feet to the mountain’s summit, are good for group day hikes.
Make Some Art
Teens can study the usual drawing and painting at the Maude Kerns Art Center, but you’ll also find more unusual classes for teens, such as movie making and cartooning. Check the schedule online for upcoming course options. Even teens who have never thought about how glass is made will be impressed by the skill that glassblowing requires. Let them watch a glassblowing session at Studio West Fine Art Gallery and Glassblowing Studio, and sign them up for a beginners’ glassblowing class -- if the process piques their interest.
See a Show
Teens can sample all kinds of performing arts at the Hult Center for the Performing Arts, including classical music concerts, Broadway musicals and independent films. Eugene’s Very Little Theatre in one of the oldest community theaters in the United States, and its affordable lineup of classic plays, lively musicals and quirky productions is likely to include a show with teen appeal. Theatrically minded teens can even participate by joining the theater with a membership or auditioning for shows.
- University of Oregon: The Museum of Natural and Cultural History
- Cascades Raptor Center
- The Science Factory
- Oregon Whitewater Adventures
- Mount Pisgah Arboretum
- Maude Kerns Art Center: Young Adult Classes
- Studio West Fine Art Gallery and Glassblowing Studio
- The Very Little Theatre
- Hult Center for the Performing Arts