our everyday life

Things to Do With Toddlers in Portland, Oregon

by Sarah Bourque, studioD

Portland, Oregon is a city that prides itself on being green, both literally and metaphorically. The city boasts lush greenery and environmentally sustainable practices including a superior public transportation system and an emphasis on community gardening and organic foods. Portland is extremely family friendly, and offers a wide variety of entertaining and engaging toddler activities.

Visit the Animals

The Portland Aquarium (http://portlandaquarium.net) is home to over 2,500 species of sea life including sharks, birds, turtles, bat rays, tropical fish, jellyfish and octopi. Most exhibits are hands on. The Oregon Zoo (oregonzoo.org) features a wide variety of animal exhibits, organized in an easy to navigate and engaging way. Check out the African Rainforest with rhinos, zebras and giraffes, then head to Pacific shores to view polar bears, penguins and sea otters. The Fragile Forests area is home to a wide variety of primates, plus caiman and ocelots. Hop on the Zoo Train for a tour around the zoo and lush greenery of Washington Park.

Seasonal Activities

The Pumpkin Patch on Sauvie Island (thepumpkinpatch.com) is a working family farm, open June through October. The farm sells a large variety of fresh produce and flowers, and also has a cafe and gift shop. In October, you can catch a hay ride to pick a pumpkin, and navigate your way through the 5-acre corn maze. The Portland Rose Festival (rosefestival.org) is an annual festival held downtown on the beautiful waterfront. The festival runs from around mid-May to mid-June. Activities include a Grand Floral Parade, Starlight Parade, Dragon Boat Race, lots of rides and games, concerts and food booths.

Indoor Play

The Portland Children's Museum (portlandcm.org) is an indoor interactive play space, perfect for toddlers. Imaginations will flourish as tots play freely with exhibits like the water room, construction area, dig pit, grocery store, theater, clay studio and animal hospital. The Playground Gym (theplaygroundgym.com) offers little ones a chance to burn off some energy and socialize. Open gyms and classes are available in this large space that includes a climbing wall, gymnastics equipment, tree house, 1,400-square-feet of matted area for tumbling, and a 550-square-foot cork floor for dance and yoga.


Portland maintains a remarkable public park system (portlandoregon.gov), many with unique features that will engage your tot. Peninsula Park is a large, shady park that includes a splash pad, playground, basketball court, horseshoe pit, and rose garden. Washington Park is one of Portland's older park, originally acquired in 1871. The park is nestled among a lush forest and offers a toddler friendly park, fountain, art work and hiking trails. Sellwood Park hosts a seasonal outdoor pool with a shallow spray feature area. This park also has lots of walking paths, a playground and picnic sites.

About the Author

Sarah Bourque has been a freelance writer since 2006 and is based in the Pacific Northwest. She writes and edits for the local publisher, Pacific Crest Imprint and has written for several online content sites. Her work recently appeared in "The Goldendale Tourism and Economic Development Magazine" and "Sail the Gorge!" magazine. She attended Portland Community College where she studied psychology.

Photo Credits

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