Category Archives: Fun Stuff

33 Things to Do With Your Kids Around Portland This Spring Break

At long last, spring is here.

Along with the booming trees and flowers, longer days and warmer weather, every child is on spring break.

If this vacation will be a staycation, you don’t need to stay cooped up all week. We’ve compiled a list of 33 diverse adventures to get you and your children out of the house. With ideas for all ages, and everything easily accessible by transit, this is your guide to the ultimate Portland spring break staycation.

Pro tip: Use a Hop card on your spring break adventures for cheapest fares and greatest flexibility across MAX, buses, WES, Portland Streetcar and C-TRAN. 

The Classics

1. Ride the newest roller coaster at Oaks Park

Fun fact: Oaks Park is one of the few remaining trolley parks; an amusement park designed to be visited via transit. Their newest roller coaster, Adrenaline Peak, launched March 24th

#GoByTransit

2. Visit five star animals at the Zoo

Visit the zoo and have your family rate the animals. Spoiler alert: they’re all five out of five stars.

#GoByTransit

3. Celebrate Piano Day, TriMet style

Stop by the Washington Park MAX Station on Piano Day and inspire your child to fall in love with music.

#GoByTransit

4. See a Trail Blazers game and (just maybe) be a part of history

Don’t look now but the Trail Blazers are on a roll. Take your kids to one of the few remaining home games this season, so they can say they were there in 2018.

#GoByTransit

5. Go on an Easter egg hunt

Easter is April 1 and there are family-friendly activities and egg hunts in every part of town.

Happy ninth birthday to the Portland Aerial Tram! 🎉🚡🎉

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6. Get a different view of the city on the Portland Arial Tram

Give your child a whole new perspective on their home town with a three-minute trip that climbs over 500 feet.

#GoByTransit

7. Meet Robots at OMSI

OMSI’s newest exhibition, Robot Revolution, just opened. Go and get close to some of the coolest robots ever assembled!

#GoByTransit

Pop Culture

8. Witness the magic of Laika at the Portland Art Museum

The Portland Art Museum’s soon-to-conclude Laika exhibit offers a mesmerizing look into the sets, puppets and costumes that infuse life into Hillsboro-based Laika’s beloved stop-motion movies.

#GoByTransit

9. Indulge their inner Star Wars geek at Saber Forge

Leave your Star Wars-obsessed child speechless with a trip to a store that makes and sells lightsabers.

#GoByTransit

10. Visit all the Simpsons references in Portland

Is your child a fan of the legendary animates series? Seek out all the local places that inspired Simpsons creator Matt Groening.

11. Stop by Movie Madness and set up your own movie marathon

The newly-saved local landmark is as vital as ever. With thousands of titles in dozens of genres at this rental shop and museum of film, you can create a movie marathon that will appeal to any child.

#GoByTransit

Be Active

12. Ride a wave (indoors)

Mt Scott Indoor Pool features a water slide, wave pool, and perfect 84 degree water, allowing your kids to pretend spring break is summer vacation.

#GoByTransit

13. See how you roll at Gresham Skate World

Gresham’s classic Skate World is still the place for your child to learn how to skate, or show off the moves they already know.

#GoByTransit

14. Burn off energy at an indoor bike park

The Lumberyard, the West Coast’s only indoor bike park, is the perfect place for your extreme sports loving child to while away the hours this spring break.

#GoByTransit

15. Hit the trampolines

Instead of bouncing off the walls at home, let your child bounce on trampolines at Tigard’s Sky High Sports Trampoline Park.

#GoByTransit

Get Outdoors

16. Take a hike

There are dozens of hikes suitable for children of all ages across the Portland area. Our Transit to Trails map is a great starting point.

Hello, weekend. ☀😎 🌸#GoByTransit

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17-20. Visit a garden at its peak

Portland is rich in stunning parks, and spring break is when many are at their most beautiful. See the cherry blossoms at their peak in Tom McCall Waterfront Park. Walk among the blooms and wildlife (and maybe spot bald eagle) at the picturesque Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden. Or, see the newly remodeled Japanese Gardens in Washington Square Park, one of the finest Japanese gardens outside of Japan. Or, discover Lan Su Chinese Garden, a walled secret hiding in the urban landscape of Old Town.

#GoByTransit: Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden

#GoByTransit: Tom McCall Waterfront Park

#GoByTransit: Japanese Garden

#GoByTransit: Lan Su Chinese Garden

21. Get a “Before” view of Willamette Falls

The Pacific Northwest’s largest waterfall will be transformed in the coming years. Visit this historic landmark with your child and give them a memory of this falls as they were, before the ambitious restoration begins.

#GoByTransit

22. Get back to nature at the Spring Break Exploration Days in Tualatin

See spring unfold in the wild with the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge’s spring break-focused kid friendly programming.

#GoByTransit

 … Or Escape the (Probable) Rain

23. Take Oregon’s newest trains to see some of its oldest

Show your child how previous generations used to #gobytransit at the Oregon Rail Heritage Center, conveniently located on the MAX Orange line.

#GoByTransit

24-25. Play wildly creative indoor mini golf at Glowing Greens

Regular mini golf is fun, but indoor black light mini golf is an experience. Find it in Beaverton and in Downtown Portland.

#GoByTransit Beaverton

#GoByTransit Portland

26-27. Challenge your child to a classic arcade games

Let your child dive into 40 years of arcade games, from early classics to incredible modern day releases, at Ground Kontrol or Quarterworld.

#GoByTransit: Ground Kontrol

#GoByTransit Quarterworld

Spend Some Time With Furry and Feathered Friends

28. Get up close with feathered friends in Tualatin

Meet more than a dozen stunning and intelligent birds up-close when The Bird Man comes to the Tualatin Public Library.

#GoByTransit

29. Spend some time with the cats at Purrington’s Cat Lounge

Portland’s first cat lounge gives you and children as young as 6 a chance to enjoy a cozy beverage in the company of feline friends up for adoption.

#GoByTransit

30. Volunteer at the Humane Society

Do good while spending time with animals who could use the love; children as young as 12 can volunteer at Oregon Humane Society.

#GoByTransit

Go On An Adventure Of Your Own Making

31. Try to find Portland’s best dumpling

Kid-friendly dumplings are a great way to introduce a child to our diverse food scene. Hunt down Portland’s best dumplings and find a favorite.

32. Tour Ramona’s Portland

Perhaps Portland’s most famous and beloved fictional resident, Ramona Quimby’s imprint can be found across NE Portland. Pick up Portland-based Microcosm Publishing’s “Walking With Ramona” for instructions on how to take a three-mile Beverly Cleary walking tour.

33. Go on a tiny horse-finding adventure

Explore Portland’s quirky side with your child by tracking down as many tiny horses as you can find! Your all day Hop pass will allow you to traverse the city with ease as you uncover this whimsical art project.

Leaving town after all?

Take the train to the plane! We’ve added additional trains, including earlier and later trains, to and from PDX. Getting to the airport is easier than ever and as affordable as always.

Tom Williams

Tom Williams

I'm TriMet's Web & Social Media Coordinator. I'm here to share our story, and to keep you up-to-date on how TriMet can help you navigate Portland. When I'm not working, I love to read, spend time outdoors, and visit tiki bars.

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Driving a Bus Is Just One of This Operator’s Many Talents

Looking back on the last 41 years, you get the feeling there’s nothing bus driver Cindy Kassab can’t do — only things she hasn’t done yet.

Brian Lum

Brian Lum

I'm TriMet's Web & Social Media Coordinator. I'm here to help tell our story, and to share the interesting things I find along the way. When I'm not here, you'll find me out riding my bike and taking pictures.

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Check Out the Course at the 2017 Bus Roadeo

In retrospect, last year’s Roadeo was a walk in the park.

This time around, the competition featured new and additional challenges, like backing the 40-foot bus into an extremely tight space — twice. The course was harder and the stakes were higher, as this year’s top driver will get a trip to the national competition in Florida next May.

Brian Lum

Brian Lum

I'm TriMet's Web & Social Media Coordinator. I'm here to help tell our story, and to share the interesting things I find along the way. When I'm not here, you'll find me out riding my bike and taking pictures.

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Milwaukie Station Food Carts Open on the Orange Line

Take the Orange Line to Milwaukie and you’ll notice something new at the Main Street station: food carts!

In fact, the carts at the Milwaukie Station pod are the city’s first. There are 11 carts open now, with more to come.

Brian Lum

Brian Lum

I'm TriMet's Web & Social Media Coordinator. I'm here to help tell our story, and to share the interesting things I find along the way. When I'm not here, you'll find me out riding my bike and taking pictures.

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Watch Oregon Ballet Theatre Dancers on MAX

We recently joined up with the Oregon Ballet Theatre to shoot a promotional clip for their upcoming performance of Choreography XX in Washington Park. In the spot, junior company dancers Erika Crawford and Daniel Salinas show how easy it is to take transit to the Rose Garden — while dancing the entire time:

Choreography XX is a two-night engagement celebrating dance created by women. On the evenings of Thursday, June 29 and Friday, June 30, the company will perform new works by choreographers Gioconda Barbuto, Helen Simoneau and Nicole Haskins. Both shows will be free but seating in the Rose Garden Amphitheater will be limited, so plan your trip in advance and get there early!

RSVP on Facebook

Brian Lum

Brian Lum

I'm TriMet's Web & Social Media Coordinator. I'm here to help tell our story, and to share the interesting things I find along the way. When I'm not here, you'll find me out riding my bike and taking pictures.

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Ian J. Whitmore Talks About His Instagram Takeover

Ian J. Whitmore knows Portland. He’s worked here for years as a photographer, designer and teacher, so when the opportunity came up for him to take over the @ridetrimet and @biketownpdx Instagram accounts, we couldn’t say yes fast enough.

Ian’s week behind the wheel coincided with Design Week Portland, which gave him plenty of opportunity to take transit and bike share to and from presentations, parties and open houses all across the city.

As the week came to a close, we asked Ian some questions about the project.

We took note of the Portland Public Transit account on Instagram when you began posting at the beginning of the year. In your first post, you introduced the project as a way for you to learn more about Portland and described transit as one of the city’s most important and intriguing resources. Were you inspired by something specific, like the intense snowfall we were seeing at the time, or had you been developing the idea for a while?

I had started riding public transit more than usual in the fall as a way to avoid dealing with parking and to go out, be social and not have to worry about transportation. I remember going out with a friend on Halloween; we both took buses to meet up and then we bounced around town, and it reminded me of all the time I spent on transit when I lived in Chicago years ago. Honestly, I missed it. Riding public transportation is a unique experience and it’s a really interesting semi-social way of seeing and experiencing where you live.

Those trips in fall 2016 sparked the idea for the project and right around the holidays I decided to go for it. It was a good excuse to keep photographing in my downtime and also stay sharp while moving around Portland.

Photo: Ian J. Whitmore

Instagram seems like a natural fit for this project. As a professional photographer, what are the advantages of sharing on social media versus more traditional ways of displaying your work?

I think the biggest advantages are range of audience and the overall reach that digital media has. Sharing work in person is invaluable. I feel confident saying that when I meet with people in-person I am more likely to get them to hire me or to buy in on a project, but social media is the perfect introduction and doorway to that face-to-face meeting.

Sometimes I laugh at how I used to be so resistant to social media. Twitter never really excited me, but when Instagram came along I felt like a way for me to participate as an image maker.

Everyone has a story about something absurd they saw on transit. But it’s also where you’ll see some uniquely interesting, and even beautiful, moments and interactions. What catches your eye when you’re shooting for this project?

People. I have always been fascinated with architecture and urban landscape, but I think about all the portraits I haven’t made because I didn’t want to be rude or selfish and start pointing my camera at strangers. Even though I am a big advocate for photographer’s rights while photographing in public, buses and trains are a different space that require more consideration. I am still looking for ways to incorporate portraits into the project and I’d love find some volunteers that I can follow along their commute; I think this summer would be great for that.

Photo: Ian J. Whitmore

Your photos have a certain look: calm, observant, with sparing color and strong lines. How intentional is this? Is it inspired by any particular photographers?

I have always had an interest in efficiency when it comes to composition. Which doesn’t necessarily mean less complexity. But I consider whether the subject is calm or erratic, or if it has rhythm and movement. Strong lines certainly help with that, and I learned a lot from looking at both street photography and more conceptual work over the years. I have always been drawn to the classic mid-century street photography of Henri Cartier-Bresson, Josef Koudelka and Diane Arbus, and I am continually inspired by contemporary photographers like Colleen Plumb, Amy Stein, Brian Ulrich, Terry Evans and Will Steacy.

You also took over the BIKETOWN account last week. We’re always trying to emphasize the ease of the bike share–transit connection — how did it feel to you as you rode around on buses and trains, and then picked up bikes?

This process was pretty remarkable and incredibly seamless. The intersections between all these forms of transportation are almost perfectly aligned so that you can pick up or drop off a BIKETOWN bike within a half a block or less of a train or bus stop. When I started my Portland Public Transit project I honestly hadn’t taken that into account, and at the time BIKETOWN was still pretty new, but it became clear very quickly how this bike share program is a natural extension for transportation in parts of Portland.

I can’t wait to see the program expand and see it expand further out from the city center. It sounds like that is already happening.

Photo: Ian J. Whitmore

Your involvement with Design Week Portland was a perfect overlay for the week of your Instagram takeover. Not only were we hosting a Transit on Tap presentation at The Redd, but one of the festival’s themes was the Green Loop, a proposed bike and pedestrian path that connects the city and includes Tilikum Crossing. You’ve lived in Portland for a while and seen it undergo some radical transformations — what are your thoughts on how getting around the city has changed?

First and foremost, I have been impressed by Portland’s public transportation since I moved here from Chicago. They have a great system with CTA and Metra, but the sheer number of people there creates unique problems that Portland doesn’t have yet.

That said, I think the completion of Tilikum Crossing and the streetcar loop has been the biggest change that I’ve seen and experienced. When that was completed I rode the streetcar more than I ever had. It seems like that project alone could be used as a case for the Green Loop.

That connectivity and dedication of transportation space has had a big impact the city center, from my perspective, and I’m hoping other Portlanders are seeing the Streetcar as a temporary option to help with the Morrison bridge closing.

You recently had a show for your new photo book, Forty-Seven Hundred Miles. It seems like transportation is a theme you’re drawn to. Do you see a connection running through your work?

Such a great question. I think movement and experience are at the heart of what I’m interested in as an artist and person. I have been on move since I was 16; when I started photographing punk bands in basements and then on tour documenting my own experiences. Later, that translated into thinking a lot about landscape and our experience as we move through it, asking a lot of questions about the mental, emotional and psychological effects of both our public and private spaces.

More recently, the cross-country motorcycle ride that produced the book ended up serving as a way to reset my mind and to reconnect with that sense of movement. I was able to remind myself how important it is for me to seek out dynamic experiences.

I realized quickly on that trip from Chicago to Los Angeles and back to Portland that even if you’re on the same motorcycle every day, that experience doesn’t leave a lot of room for stagnation or boredom — I am drawn to the attention and care that it requires to ride and I love how different the world looks from the saddle.

Photo: Ian J. Whitmore

Do you see Portland Public Transit as an ongoing project? Or did you imagine working on it over a finite period? What’s next?

I told myself I would work on this for a year and see where it goes. This Instagram takeover has been incredibly fun and I think at the very least after a year I’d like to look into publishing another book of select images with a little writing as well. Maybe it’s a long term project I do for years and it also becomes documentation of Portland as it continues to change.

As for what’s next… the future is strange and exciting, and I am focusing more on my photography work than I have in a very long time. I’m also working in other creative areas and taking on new projects.

See more of Ian’s work at ianwhitmore.com

Brian Lum

Brian Lum

I'm TriMet's Web & Social Media Coordinator. I'm here to help tell our story, and to share the interesting things I find along the way. When I'm not here, you'll find me out riding my bike and taking pictures.

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