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Portland Children's Museum

Certificate of Excellence
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Address: 4015 SW Canyon Rd, Portland, OR 97221-2759
Phone Number: +1 503-223-6500
Website
Today
09:00 - 17:00
Closed now
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Hours:
Sun - Sat 09:00 - 17:00
Description:

Specialties

A museum's name tells you a lot about what it treasures.

You hear...

Specialties

A museum's name tells you a lot about what it treasures.

You hear the name--art museum, history museum, automobile museum--and you immediately know what you'll find there: objects, rare and wonderful; encounters with the unusual; beauty for beauty's sake. The specifics differ, but in each case, the collection takes center stage.

Our name shows what we treasure, too, and it tells you how we're different.

We're a museum that doesn't act like a museum because our audience--children and the adults who care for them--is more important to us than anything we collect. Indeed, our audience is the essential component that gives our exhibits meaning.

Instead of investing in precious objects, we use familiar materials to craft priceless opportunities for children to learn through play. Our approach is inspired by the early childhood schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy; built on inquiry-based learning strategies; and influenced by a strong image of children as intelligent, creative, and resourceful.

History

Established in 1946.

In 1946 visionary Portlander, Dorothea Lensch, founded the "Junior Museum and Adventure House," as part of Portland Parks and Recreation. Lensch, who served as Portland's recreation director from 1937 to 1972, was particularly dedicated to meeting the needs of Portland's underserved communities. She developed innovative programs for children with special needs and for economically disadvantaged families, a legacy that lives on in our mission and core values.

We moved to our current location in Washington Park in 2001, thanks to the incredible efforts of our partners including the Rotary Club of Portland and Portland Parks and Recreation. Our new building, the former home of the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), is five times larger than the one we left behind, allowing us to expand our programs and add a school. In 2014 we completed Outdoor Adventure, opening new kinds of exploration and discovery to our community. We now host over 313,000 visitors every year.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 278 reviews
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  • 162
    Excellent
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    Very good
  • 33
    Average
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    Poor
  • 3
    Terrible
Good for small children

I took my 3 year old and she really liked it. The displays are small and were the perfect size for her. It wasn't too crowded so that made out easy to move through the building... read more

4 of 5 bubblesReviewed 3 weeks ago
heatherdube5
,
Limestone, Maine
via mobile
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278 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 268: English reviews
Limestone, Maine
2 reviews
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

I took my 3 year old and she really liked it. The displays are small and were the perfect size for her. It wasn't too crowded so that made out easy to move through the building and see the displays. I think this place would be good for children 7 and under.

Helpful?
Thank heatherdube5
A TripAdvisor Member
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

Had a great outdoor space for the kids. The exhibits seemed to go on forever. Highly recommend for small children.

Helpful?
Thank A TripAdvisor Member
Waynesville, Missouri
Level Contributor
96 reviews
39 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago

We had friends visiting with a youngster. During the visit we scheduled a visit to the Children's Museum. It was a great time for the child and adults. There are lots of interactive displays. There was a caterpillar interactive story scheduled for the day we visited. We missed the show because the directory gave the wrong location for the show... More 

Helpful?
Thank Lewis P
Victoria, Canada
Level Contributor
33 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

We did our trip to Portland somewhat "unplanned"... meaning no research ahead of time ... not knowing what attractions are there and what we would be doing. What a pleasant surprise to find out that there is Portland Children's Museum! We took our 2 year girl there and had a blast. We also hit the jackpot going on their free... More 

Helpful?
Thank Aggie C
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
17 reviews
10 attraction reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 weeks ago

Really a fun place with lots of different types of sensory, role-play, and more for the kids. Kept them entertained the whole time, even after a hike through the rest of the area (it is inside the Washington Park area).

Helpful?
Thank swedishflowervalley
Level Contributor
98 reviews
29 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

Here for a few weeks & brought my 5 year old grandson. He is having fun, bought a family membership for them, he is a good age for this, can do everything by himself, he's enjoying himself!

Helpful?
Thank Monica S
A TripAdvisor Member
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 November 2016 via mobile

I went with my granddaughter, age 7 but special needs, and she was really too old. Wish they had made that suggestion at desk before I paid the rather high admission. It is really perfect for 2-3 year olds.

Helpful?
Thank A TripAdvisor Member
Orlando, Florida
Level Contributor
18 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 November 2016 via mobile

My 19 month old son and I went here last week for an afternoon of play. We had an awesome time! He loved digging in the rubber room, treating sick animals in the pet hospital, and cooking in the restaurant kitchen. He also like claiming the stairs tot he magnetic board and playing with the giant light brite. The cafe... More 

Helpful?
Thank Keith U
Minnespolis, MN
Level Contributor
161 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 99 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 October 2016

My grandson, age 2.5, loved this place! We were there 2 hours and he enjoyed the building and digging in the Groundwork area, the Pet Hospital and climbing the wall to a slide but then he discovered the Water Works room and stayed then until he got hungry and tired. It cost over $30 for two seniors and a toddler,... More 

Helpful?
Thank MinneapolisTourist
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
110 reviews
31 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 October 2016

My granddaughter was too young for most of the activities but it was great for kids 3+. Lots of crafts. Will be back. And If you are a Bank of America account/card holder you get a discount which is NOT advertised. Be sure to ask.

Helpful?
Thank Karen W

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Questions & Answers

Here's what previous visitors have asked, with answers from representatives of Portland Children's Museum and other visitors
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Typical questions asked:
  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
  • How do I get there using public transportation?
  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?