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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Leave Something Behind? Check Lost & Found

If you ever forget something on a bus or train, don’t despair. Found items are constantly being turned in to our Lost & Found department, and there’s a good chance we’ve got what you’re looking for.

Last year, we processed 24,000 (!) lost items. Here’s what we saw most often:

  1. Phones
  2. Wallets
  3. ID cards
  4. Bags
  5. Hats
  6. Bicycles
  7. Keys
  8. Personal items/mementos
  9. Umbrellas
  10. Backpacks

Everything we find is sent to our headquarters on SE 17th Avenue, where Lost & Found staff sorts and tags items. Claimed items are held for at least 14 days, though we’re happy to work with you if you need more time. Unclaimed items are eventually donated to charity (or destroyed if they contain personal information).

We’re still hanging on to this Portland Traction Co. student pass from 1948. (If you recognize the owner, let us know!)

Even though keeping track of your stuff is common sense, we know it’s not always easy. (Especially in the winter, when just your layers can be a handful!) So if you think you left something on one of our buses or trains, give us a call at 503-238-RIDE (7433) or report it online. We’d love to reunite you with your stuff.

Tia York

Tia York

I’m a Public Information Officer for TriMet. I’m here to help you understand our system, its people and how we all work together to make this place the best it can be. There was a time when I only took transit during emergencies, but the Orange Line changed everything. I hopped aboard one of the first trains to Milwaukie and never looked back. Transit transforms, empowers and unites.

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You Can Now Get Help on Twitter Every Day of the Week

That’s right. We’re now on Twitter from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., seven days a week at @trimethelp.

We’ll still use @trimet for service alerts, information and promos, just like normal. We added the new handle so we could interact with riders and respond to more of your questions, comments, complaints and commendations. We can even help you plan a trip!

We’re also happy to announce that if you need Hop support, we’ve got you covered at @myhopcard.

(Note that Twitter still isn’t the place to report emergencies — tell your operator or call or text 911 if you need to report a dangerous situation, crime or suspicious activity.)

We won’t pretend this isn’t long overdue — but there’s no denying that it’s a huge step in the right direction. @ us if you agree.

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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Our Year in Review: 2017

How do we summarize a year like this?

Normally, we’d share some facts and figures describing what we accomplished and the challenges we faced. But 2017 wasn’t so straightforward.

Looking back, we’re happy to say that we made some huge strides that included introducing a new fare system and upgrading some of the oldest parts of the MAX system. But we were also tested in ways we never expected, and in the end it was the strength of our community that got us through. Now we’re entering 2018 with a strong sense of who we are and where we’re going.

A snowy start

We began the year in the middle of an epic winter. Temperatures didn’t rise above freezing for a week after a huge January storm and the resulting blanket of snow and ice made getting around extremely difficult.

Snow in January

Keeping our buses and trains moving throughout the winter’s record snowfall required extraordinary effort — and extraordinary patience from our riders (thank you!). When the going got tough, your positive attitude and understanding helped push us through.

Going into this winter, we’re keeping in mind something we noted back in January: Be prepared for the next big storm, because it could come as soon as tomorrow.

Making MAX better

Spring arrived not a moment too soon. We had been looking forward the year’s big MAX project, which involved improving the tracks along Morrison and Yamhill streets in Downtown Portland.

As eager as we were to start the work, we were also anxious about asking commuters to adjust their schedule for three full weeks. We knew that having a smoother and more reliable ride would make it worth it in the end, but that would require lots of trust and cooperation. Looking back, our riders deserve all the credit in the world for stepping up and working with us — the days flew by and the project was completed on schedule.

We did some work on some of our other MAX stations this year, too. At Gresham City Hall, we renovated the shelters, installed arrival monitors and made safety and security upgrades. Over on the other side of town, we gave the Washington Park station a stunning (and much-needed) makeover, just in time for the annual ZooLights crowd.

Heartbreak at Hollywood

Just a week after the MAX improvements were completed, everything changed. On the afternoon of May 26, two young riders were harassed on board a train near Hollywood Transit Center. Three men intervened and were attacked — two of them, Ricky Best and Taliesin Namkai-Meche, were killed.

Our whole community was left reeling, and in many ways we still haven’t recovered.

Just as that memory will always be with us, we’ll also remember what happened in its wake. In the moments, days and weeks after the attacks, when the hurt was rawest, people came together and created something beautiful. Candlelight vigils were held, moments of silence were observed and helping hands were extended. The concrete walls of the Hollywood station were transformed by bouquets of flowers and thousands of messages left in chalk — the site of horrible tragedy became an overwhelming and unforgettable expression of love, unity and hope.

Though it was temporary by nature, that spontaneous memorial will live on. We’re planning a mural that will cover the ramp walls at the transit center, inspired by the chalk messages that have since washed away.

Adding some color

Our plans for public art didn’t end there. This year, we commissioned two expansive murals by Portland-based artists at MAX stations along the Banfield.

Daniel Duford’s mural, titled “The Green Man and the Cinder Cones,” tells the supernatural origin story of the landscape surrounding the NE 60th Ave station.

One stop east, at NE 82nd Ave, Alex Chiu’s “How They Grow” is a colorful celebration of family and community. Chiu’s three-year-old daughter, Mazzy, is featured in panels throughout the mural.

A new way to pay

When Hop Fastpass was released in July, we felt a wave of relief — but in many ways the adventure was just beginning. We had been dreaming up and developing our new electronic fare system for years alongside our partners at C-TRAN and Portland Streetcar, and we knew what we came up with was both rider-friendly and thoroughly modern.

But convincing tens of thousands of people to ditch their routine, whether they like to pay with paper tickets or use the TriMet Tickets app, is no simple task.

Luckily, Hop has benefits that sell themselves, like automatic reloading and caps on daily and monthly fares. New features have been added regularly, too, like the ability to pay with a mobile wallet or soon, the ability to use a virtual card in Android Pay (we’re the first transit provider in the world to do this). We also worked to make cards easily available from popular retailers like Fred Meyer and New Seasons along with ultra-convenient stores like Plaid Pantry. And it’s working: We’re seeing more and more taps every day, and the feedback we’ve received has been positive.

Keep Oregon Moving

This summer, the Oregon Legislature passed House Bill 2017, also known as Keep Oregon Moving. This landmark package established statewide funding for transit — for the first time ever. It’s hard to overstate how significant this is for us, especially as we look for ways to serve our ever-growing region. We can’t thank Oregon lawmakers and Governor Kate Brown enough for their leadership, which will make transit even more accessible and put more service on the streets.

We expect to receive about $35–40 million annually through the bill’s employee payroll tax. A sum that large naturally raises the question: What are we going to do with it? Fortunately for us, we had a plan ready.

Starting next summer, we’ll launch a new low-income fare program that will make adults at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level eligible for half-price fare. This is something we’ve wanted to offer for a long time, and the new funding will make it possible.

The money will also go toward adding bus service. Over the last few years, we’ve worked with riders, businesses, cities and counties to identify the transit needs, wants and wishes for communities throughout the region. Now we’ll be able to provide more and better service quicker than we expected, with a focus on establishing more equitable service first.

After such a wild year, it’s good to know there’s so much to look forward to. Thanks for everything you shared with us in 2017 — whether it was your time, your support or your feedback — we truly appreciated it. We’ll see you on board in 2018.

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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Our New 3700-Series Buses Are Rolling out Now

Something about that new car smell gives you a sense of opportunity. And right now, many of our riders are getting that same feeling as we put dozens of new buses out on the streets. These are the Gillig 3700 series, and by the end of January, we will have 57 of these American-made machines in service.

Aside from the smoother, quieter ride that comes with advancements in technology (and that new car smell), you may not notice many differences between the 3700s and the 3600s. But if you’re a regular rider, you will eventually experience a big change: fewer rides in older buses, many of which have out-served their expected lifespan.

Do you know the average service life of a bus?

It’s 12 years, according to the Federal Transportation Administration. During that period, a TriMet bus will typically have:

  • At least one new engine installed
  • One transmission replacement, maybe more
  • Between  750,000 and 1 million miles!

The 3700s, along with the addition of 64 more new buses next year, will help bring the average age of our fleet to seven or eight years. We’ve already started retiring and decommissioning some of our oldest workhorses, many of which provided service for 15 or more years.

While new may be nice, the 3700s represent a lot more. They are a sign of the times, and of our commitment to more and better service. In the next few years, you’re going to see a lot more from us. We’re expanding and increasing frequency on our most popular routes, improving reliability in areas plagued by congestion and providing new service to meet our community’s growing and changing needs.

We’re also working to meet the needs of operators, who spend hours and over time, days, weeks, even months behind the bus’ 18-inch steering wheel. We worked with Gillig and other partners to make the operator area safer, easier to use, more ergonomic and more comfortable. There’s a new generation driver’s seat with a gel-foam pad, built-in bellows for lumbar support and air bellows for seat height adjustment.

Today’s buses still run on biodiesel, but the technology has changed. Our newest Gilligs use clean air diesel engines with built-in systems that remove many pollutants before they reach the air. (We’re taking our commitment to clean air even further next year, when we begin testing electric buses on Line 62.)

We are working to make transit better. Hop on board one of the 3700s and enjoy the ride!

Tia York

Tia York

I’m a Public Information Officer for TriMet. I’m here to help you understand our system, its people and how we all work together to make this place the best it can be. There was a time when I only took transit during emergencies, but the Orange Line changed everything. I hopped aboard one of the first trains to Milwaukie and never looked back. Transit transforms, empowers and unites.

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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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Hollywood Transit Center: Looking to the future, remembering the past

Within a few years, the Hollywood Transit Center will look much different than it did on May 26, 2017. Our plans are coming together to honor those who lost their lives and those hurt that day, including the young women harassed by a man spewing hateful words.

Two tributes are currently planned. The first is a large commemorative plaque that will be placed at the Hollywood Transit Center permanently. After conferring with the families of those targeted in the May attack, we have commissioned designer John Laursen to create the tribute. The plaque will be 4 feet by 6 feet and made of porcelain enamel on steel. Descriptive text that honors the three men and two women will mix with images of the spontaneous memorial created by family, friends and strangers in the days that followed the attack. The art will be installed at the transit center by May 26, 2018.

The second tribute will be a mural reminiscent of the messages that filled the walls that line the ramp at the transit center. We’ve brought together a group of diverse artists, designers and community members who will select an artist (or a team of artists) to paint the walls using some of the original words that people wrote following the attack.

While the paint will last longer than the original chalk messages, this second tribute will be temporary, since over the coming years we have plans to redesign and redevelop the aging transit center. However, during that renovation, the plaque will be incorporated into a permanent memorial honoring the men and women at the center of our thoughts that day, as well as our community’s inspired reaction that renounced hate and embraced healing.

Learn more about the tributes and sign up for email updates

Roberta Altstadt

Roberta Altstadt

I’m TriMet’s public information officer. I communicate with the news media on all TriMet-related topics. When I’m not busy working, I like learning new skills, gardening, and going for walks with my sweet three-legged dog, Ernie.

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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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Here’s How You Can Plan Ahead for a Natural Disaster

It’s never too early to start preparing for a natural disaster, so we’ve been working with city and county partners to put together an emergency plan in case something big — like Cascadia — hits.

If something disastrous were to happen, we’d keep transit running as long as roadways are usable. We’ve also been developing a transportation recovery plan with other local transit agencies to ensure we’re able to move people to and from emergency shelters and bring in resources if needed.

Do you already have an emergency plan in place? Here are some tips to help you plan ahead:

Learn more about planning ahead for a disaster.

Jessica Ridgway

Jessica Ridgway

I'm TriMet's Web and Social Media Coordinator. I develop content for our website and social media channels. I'm a daily MAX rider and an adopted Oregonian.

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Celebrating Two Years of the Orange Line

Can you believe it’s been two years since we opened the MAX Orange Line? Neither can we! But since September 12, 2015, more than six million rides have been taken on this line, and that number only continues to grow!

Learn more about the MAX Orange Line

Jessica Ridgway

Jessica Ridgway

I'm TriMet's Web and Social Media Coordinator. I develop content for our website and social media channels. I'm a daily MAX rider and an adopted Oregonian.

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