First, the weather. Find out what Mother Nature's got in store each day at Pioneer Courthouse Square, one of the city's famous gathering places. A silly, 25-foot weather machine topped with an earth-shaped ball flashes a sun on nice days, a blue heron on questionable days and a dragon on rainy ones. As you may expect, the weather dragon makes more appearances than its counterparts.
But Portland works around that with plenty of indoor culture and adventures. Here are some of our favorites:
Oregon Museum of Science and
Industry, copyright POVA
- Oregon Museum of Science & Industry (OMSI). The kids can conduct their own chemical experiments, get bumped and tossed in a simulated earthquake measuring 5.5 on the Richter scale, or climb aboard the USS Blueback -- a real U.S. Navy sub featured in the film, The Hunt for Red October. Budget at least a couple of hours to tour this huge, 219,000-square-foot playground for the brain.
- Portland Children's Museum. "Please Touch" is the motto at this interactive museum. Youngsters can strap on tool belts, and hardhats and build a house with kid-sized tools, or edit digital stories and create their own productions. Or, they can play with pumps, drawbridges, and bubbles in an exhibit called WaterWorks. If your kids like to climb, a new climbing structure doubles as a musical instrument. Plan to be here two hours.
- Oregon Children's Theatre. Lions and tigers and puppets, oh my! Children's books come to life at this playhouse where child actors play all the young characters. Among recent performances: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Ramona Quimby and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
- Tears of Joy Theatre Company. Experience the magic of high-end puppetry at this 25-year-old theater. It earned the coveted "Citation of Excellence in Art of Puppetry," American puppetry's highest honor, for three of its performances. In the summer, catch its shows in parks and at festivals.