Friday, October 12, 2018

Portland, Oregon in 36 hours

Two years ago we visited Portland, Oregon and knew we'd be returning.  (See previous post here) In fact we've even talked about moving up there one day, maybe when the kids are older.  This time around the weather was wet but it didn't keep us from getting out and enjoying the coast, farm, a creamery and children's museum.  Here's what we did in our short, 3 day jaunt to Portland.

Day 1
Our first stop was The Pumpkin Patch at Sauvie Island.  The last time we were here was during the Summer so I wanted to see what it was like during their Fall season.  If you plan to visit during this time, wear boots!!  We had no clue what to expect but some areas are muddy due to the rain.  One of their biggest attractions is their corn maze.  This was a first for everyone in our family.  Make sure you visit the portable potties beforehand because it can take awhile to get through the entire maze.  The good thing is, you can exit halfway through.  We opted to finish it and it took about 45 minutes.  Upon entering, you can select from an array of clue sheets varying by topic, ie: superheros, TV and movie, tots.  Throughout the maze are numbered signs which match up to the clues on the sheet.  Answer the question correctly and it'll direct you on which way to turn.  If you'd like a chance to enter a raffle, grab one of the Cornundrum cards for an added fun activity.  Scattered throughout the maze are also pictured signs/riddles. Try to decipher the picture and match it to one of those listed on the card.  At the exit, drop this off for a chance to win a prize.  Other fun things to do here besides the maze are the hayrides and cow trains, neither of which we got to try due to long lines.  Their animal barn is also a hit with the kids.  Don't forget to visit their market for some tasty treats and fresh produce. There is also a cafe and food booths available on the weekends so it really is a one stop shop.

Know Before you Go:
Hours: 9a - 6p
Wear boots if going during rainy season
Admission to the farm is free
Corn Maize - $8 ages 12+, $6 ages 6-12 and seniors, kids 5 and under are
16511 NW Gillihan Rd. Portland, OR 97231

Day 2:
We decided to drive toward the coast and visit the Tillamook Creamery which is about 1.5 hours from downtown Portland.  On our way we stopped at the Tillamook Forest Center for a potty break and some exploring.  Their information center contains lots of exhibits and history of the area.  There is even a kids scavenger hunt worksheet that we helped the kids complete for a prize at the end.  This actually forced us to walk around and read the exhibits which was very informative.  There are lots of outdoor trails as well which we couldn't enjoy due to time constraints and the rain.  

Know before you go:
Tillamook Forest Center
Hours: Wed-Sun 10a - 4p
45500 Wilson River Hwy, Tillamook, OR 97141

After about an hour we were on our way to Tillamook Creamery.  There is a self guided tour which begins upstairs but get in line for some cheese samples first!  From the second floor you can see the gift shop, restaurant area and the behind the scenes cheese making which is part of the tour.  Then head back down and enjoy some food or ice cream as we did.  The lines are long but they go by pretty fast.
By the way, if you're hankering for some seafood, given that you're by the coast, stop by The Fish Peddler at Pacific Oyster.  The raw oysters are super fresh and the clam chowder is one of the best I've had.

Know before you go:
Tillamook Creamery
4165 Highway 101 North, Tillamook, OR 97141
Hours: 8a - 6p

Day 3:
Since we had another rainy day, we decided to head to the Children's Portland Museum in Washington Park.  There are lots of interactive activities from a  water room, veterinary office, grocery store, to a theater.  Our kids favorite rooms here were the Maker Studio and Clay Studio.  Let your kid's creativity flow in the Maker Studio where you can make anything out of recycled material from cardboard, yarn, plastic bottles, you name it.  All materials are provided and you simply rummage through to find what you need.  Tools available also include glue guns and drills.   In the Clay Studio, grab a block of clay and mold it into anything you want.  You may choose to take it home for a nominal fee, have it painted and fired up for pick up another day or simply recycle the clay for the next person.

Know before you go:
Hours: 9a - 5p
Admission: $11 non-members, Free 1 and under
4015 SW Canyon Road, Portland, OR 97221

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Art Zone Children's Studio

We’ve been wanting to check out Art Zone for awhile after hearing good things from friends.  Our daughter loves arts and crafts so I decided to take her during their Open Studio session.  The staff was very friendly and immediately offered to give us a quick tour given that it was our first time.  They offer several “stations” which are set up for independent play.  On this day they had a table with clay, cookie cutters, beads and beans to mold your own creation.  Another table had slime with various cups and play scissors.  Violet immediately bee-lined for the easel and paint brushes and her inner Picasso went to work on several masterpieces.  Further back was another table set up with paper cut outs with glue and confetti for the kids to make a mess.  That’s what I love about this place…messes are encouraged.  At the very back is a water room with a running fountain and water toys.  Rubber sandals are available for the kids.  Next to the water room is a small area with windows and spray bottles with color liquid to spray on the windows.  Squeegees are provided to “start over”.  And lastly there is a playroom full of dress up clothes a small climbing structure and random toys.  This was Violet’s least favorite room probably because there was no art involved.  We spent a solid 2 hours here and would’ve stayed longer if it weren’t for the fact that it was approaching lunchtime.  This was well worth the $15 and they package up all the child’s creations to take home.  Art Zone is unique in that it is self-led or parent guided and the child can choose which activity to do and how to do it.  Employees do walk around to replenish supplies but there are not there to assist in the art in any way.  They are also a preschool and offer art classes, camps and Parents Night Out and birthday parties if you’re looking for something more structured.


Know before you go:
Open Studio (ages 18 months and up) - $15 (packages available) check website or call for hours
Parent’s Night Out (ages 3 and up) – $35  Fridays 5:30p-8:30p
Free parking in their lot – 4 spaces otherwise there is street parking.
Changing table is available.

About the business:
Art Zone
1102 Aviation Blvd.
Hermosa Beach, CA 90254