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Portland Children's Museum

Certificate of Excellence
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Address: 4015 SW Canyon Road, Portland, OR 97201
Phone Number:
+1 503-223-6500
09:00 - 17:00
Closed now
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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 294 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 172
  • 66
    Very good
  • 36
  • 5
  • 3
Great Family Fun and Value

My 6 kids just love the Children's Museum. And the new outdoor facility and play area was just awesome. Great value as well and search Groupon or Yelp for coupons. There were tons... read more

Reviewed 1 September 2015
Joseph W
Portland, Oregon
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294 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 282: English reviews
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
43 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 September 2015

My 6 kids just love the Children's Museum. And the new outdoor facility and play area was just awesome. Great value as well and search Groupon or Yelp for coupons. There were tons of things for my children to do and they are looking forward to going back soon.

Thank Joseph W
Sherwood, Oregon
Level Contributor
10 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 31 August 2015

Took my niece and nephew last weekend. Forgot what a treat this place is! Thank you Portland for having a place like this and keeping it updated so it always feels fun and original.

Thank glennl15
Level Contributor
33 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 August 2015

This is where all parents of toddlers leave a good chunk of change on many rainy days ostensibly to find something to do for the kids. I dare you to not get involved. Kids, don't be put off by the word "Museum", this is just so your parents feel like they are checking off the "culture" box.

Thank CTeverywhere
Palm Coast, Florida
Level Contributor
95 reviews
35 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 August 2015 via mobile

This is one of the best children's museums we have ever been to in our travels. We enjoyed all of the indoor and outdoor activities. We spent an hour in the clay room alone and my son was so excited to climb the tree outside. We even pid a little extra for him to make a tye dye shirt for... More 

Thank ReneBeneH
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
48 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 August 2015

A really good children's museum, but know that it's geared for the toddler set. Lots of interactive stations, but probably tops out at 5-6 year olds.

Thank Paul P
Tucson, Arizona
Level Contributor
72 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 August 2015

Went with our Grandaughter and family. It is a wonderful place so many things for them to see and experience.. We spent a lot of time there Many educational things for them to learn sharing, hand to eye, cooperation with other children. Take the time and visit a very neat place to spend family time... While your there walk across... More 

Thank patricia s
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
96 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 August 2015

It's not big, and if your kids are older than 5-6, they probably won't like it. That said, for the 5 or younger crowd, this place is a good way to burn a day. Exhibits on water, construction, digging, pottery, shopping, and story time at the tree house will keep your little ones engaged for hours.

Thank DP_42_Towel
Level Contributor
38 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 August 2015

Our kids are 18 months, 5 and 7.5 year old boys - all three of them had to be dragged away, and we must have been there for 4 hours. So many great imaginative play areas to explore, and so many brilliant props - staff were great, food was good, and the place was clean and tidy - really a... More 

Thank shedzy
east midlands
Level Contributor
297 reviews
65 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 176 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 August 2015

Took two grandchildren [at their suggestion] and it proved immensely successful. This isn't a museum in the conventional sense, more a place full of interactive displays for kids including a small theatre, a supermarket, a vets and so on. Our kids would have stayed all day quite happily but we wanted to do other things. We were happy spending a... More 

Thank lancashireexile
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
32 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 August 2015

My friend and I took his boys (3 and 5 yrs) here and had an absolute blast! From playing in the water works, to the tree house, space station, the outdoor areas... this was a place where a kid can run wild, learn new things, and let their imagination be free. We made little pottery pieces, face painted, and even... More 

Thank Heidi W

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  • 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?