The Experience: When the weather heats up, find splashing, spraying and paddling fun at Blue Lake Regional Park. Just 20 minutes from Portland, the park offers a 3,500 square foot Water Spray Ground, a sandy beach and swimming area, play structures, canoe and paddleboat rentals, picnic areas and more. Whether you are tired of the local pool, looking to get out in nature or in search of an easy day trip with the kids, Blue Lake Regional Park should be on your list.
In the Water Spray Ground, water spouts from giant nozzles, spurts from the ground, and pours down from buckets suspended overhead. The water-features vary in strength, height and direction, appropriate for kids of all ages and abilities. A non-slip surface and water that is recycled through an on-site treatment facility keeps the area safe for play.
When your little ones are ready to dry off, help them explore the wonders of the Nature Discovery Garden, just a few feet away. Take a self-guided tour, or visit on a weekend afternoon when a nature educator is available with hands-on activities. On a recent Friday, kids could peek in a worm bin, make “green” cleaning products to take home and play bingo with plant identification cards. Visitors are encouraged to smell and touch the plants and read the displays. Busy kids still full of energy? Visit the play structure beyond the garden.
In all this fun, don’t forget the lake front. Bring sand toys and build a castle at the swim beach, located just down the path from the Spray Ground. Children under age five are not permitted in the lake, but can play in the sand while older kids take a dip. Follow the path east along the lake, and you will find another sandy area with a hands-on water feature – a series of three tables with a continuous feed of water where kids work sometimes frantically, sometimes thoughtfully to make dams with sand and removable dividers. Continue east on the path to rent a paddleboat or canoe, or to visit the fishing pier.
Insider Information: Parents of little ones will be glad to have a stroller, even if just to haul gear from the parking lot. That stroller will come in handy if you head to the boat rentals, as the walk from the swim beach to the docks might be a stretch for little legs. Boat rentals are cash only. Use the outdoor showers for getting the last of the sand off, and duck into the dressing rooms, attached to the restrooms, to change into dry clothes before the ride home. No pets allowed.
Hours: Park: 8am – sunset; Water Spray Ground: 11am-7pm when the temperature is 70 degrees or higher; guided activities in the Discovery Garden: Fri. – Sun. 1pm-5pm
Prices: $5.00/car day use fee. Canoe and paddleboat rentals start at $10.00
Location: 20500 NE Marine Dr. in Fairview
Contact: (503) 797-1850, oregonmetro.gov; for information on boat rentals: (503) 661-6087
-Heather Lee Leap
August 9th, 2012 | Category: Family Fun Reviews