We're home from our three night, four day vacation on the Oregon Coast. While we did spend a lot of time exploring the beach near our hotel, we also visited four popular attractions in the Portland area. Every attraction has been given a family-friendliness rating of 1 to 5 🌟 to help you decide the best fit for your family. This is my honest and unbiased opinion of these places, and I have received nothing for these reviews. I hope this list encourages you to make some fun family memories this summer.
Two of our family-friendly attractions were completely free! On the way to the beach, we took a potty stop at MULTNOMAH FALLS. There is a nice, well-maintained hiking trail up to the falls, a gift shop with bathrooms, and lots of parking. It's always cooler near the falls than in the parking lot so it's a refreshing place to visit on a summer day. You can spend ten minutes at the falls or an hour with a picnic and a hike. Highly recommended for family-friendliness. 🌟🌟🌟🌟
On the way home, we stopped at the BONNEVILLE FISH HATCHERY to stretch our legs. The kids insisted on calling it a "fish factory," which I love. I don't think it quite met their expectations. They were also hoping to see more aspects of a fish life cycle. We did get to see a huge sturgeon in a pond, and some big brooding trout. The waking paths were lovely and well-maintained. The hatchery was free, but it was also low on amenities. Very family-friendly but sort of non-climatic. 🌟🌟🌟🌟
|photo credit- Emily Wilson|
One day, we drove down the coast to visit the SEA LION CAVES, which is the world's largest sea cave and the brooding grounds of sea lions. The bathrooms are free, but everything else is quite dear. You pay to take an elevator down into the cave, where you encounter sea lions in their natural habitation. The cave also had a few educational exhibits and a skeleton of a sea lion. This attraction is not handicap accessible, and didn't offer very much for the amount of money that it cost. 🌟🌟🌟
Our very favorite attraction was the OREGON COAST AQUARIUM. It was costly, but worth the extra money. We spent about two hours there, but a family with older, interested kids could spend a lot longer. They have a good variety of things that are found on the Oregon coast and beyond. They have seals, sea lions, and otters in the mammal category, invertebrates like jellyfish and an octopus, sharks, and lots of fish.
I love this picture because all the kids are doing similar things with their hands and all seem so engaged. We saw sea lions sunbathing and seals swimming. We missed the feed time, but I'm sure they would have enjoyed that as well. We loved how this exhibit could be viewed from so many different sides and levels.
|photo credit- Emily Wilson|
One of the best known features of the aquarium is the tunnel. There are 4 different types of tanks, which ends with the sharks. The kids were so engaged in this exhibit, watching the fish from the sides, above and below.
The kids spent a lot of time laying on their bellies and staring down at the fish. It was such an interesting experience- a peek into the aquatic world from their level. At one point, Tadpole moved his arms and legs like his was swimming and scooted across the window. I think this area would have been a lot less interesting if it had been crowded with people. We went on a Friday, and had lots of room for laying on the floor.
There were many more thing that we saw and experienced that I'm not going to talk about today. The aquarium is opening a new exhibit soon (Memorial Day weekend 2017), so we'll have to go back again. Even without the new tanks, I know that we'll return because the aquarium was so nice and is the sort of place with will grow with the kids. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
*A lot of it is outdoors, so be prepared if the weather is rainy*
So, that's it for my reviews. It look me most of the day, so I hope you find it helpful.