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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
09:00 - 17:00
Closed now
See all hours
Sun - Sat 09:00 - 17:00


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

You hear...


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.


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 284 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 167
  • 65
    Very good
  • 34
  • 5
  • 3
Great for Elementary and younger

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... read more

5 of 5 bubblesReviewed 8 November 2016
San Francisco, California
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284 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 274: English reviews
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
17 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 November 2016

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).

Thank swedishflowervalley
Level Contributor
102 reviews
29 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 November 2016 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!

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.

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 

Thank Keith U
Minnespolis, MN
Level Contributor
161 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 100 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 

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.

Thank Karen W
State College, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
3 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 October 2016

I took my three year old grandson to this fun museum. Each room has a theme such as the Vet hospital where the child pretend to be a vet. There is a grocery store where the child can scan the groceries. If you have a small child this is the place to visit. Right now they are having themes from... More 

Thank cathyannm65
Level Contributor
134 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 October 2016 via mobile

We all had fun here ! Lots of things to do for kids! Craft and clay play was fun!! Go and enjoy with your kids and family

Thank kmorris677
Harrogate, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
36 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 September 2016

My 4 year old did enjoy this place, although it was a luittle limited until we found the outside area. Messy play seems to be the theme and there's lots of water, clay, sand etc. However my big gripe is that we went with 3 adults and 1 child. Under 1s are free and then 1-65s are over $10 each... More 

Thank Chris F
Orlando, FL
Level Contributor
14 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 September 2016 via mobile

This is such a fun place for kids. Our two year old had a blast indoors and outdoors in the different areas!!

Thank Doglando

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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?