Family Fun // Family Fun Reviews

Penny’s Puppet Productions

Category: Family Fun Reviews // Posted on March 1, 2013 // Leave a Comment

The Experience: Prepare to laugh, sing and dance in your seat when you attend a puppet show by one-woman wonder Penny Walter. Welcome to Penny’s Puppet Productions, a land of talking animals, smiling characters, friendship and music, a place where the motto is, “Making the World a Better Place One Puppet Show at a Time.” More…


MythBusters: the Explosive Exhibition

Category: Family Fun Reviews // Posted on February 28, 2013 // Leave a Comment

The Experience: Do you get less wet running through the rain or when you walk at a steady pace? With approximately 37 inches of rainfall in the Rose City annually, this is a question Portlanders need answered. More…


Hattie’s Sweet Shop

Category: Family Fun Reviews // Posted on February 14, 2013 // Leave a Comment

The Experience: Walk through the doors of Hattie’s Sweet Shop on NE Fremont, and you can’t help but smile. The bright colors of the candies and the sweet aroma of chocolates and fudge will fill you with delightful anticipation. More…


A.C. Gilbert Discovery Village

Category: Family Fun Reviews // Posted on January 24, 2013 // Leave a Comment

The Experience: Over a dozen exhibits are spread throughout three historic buildings at the A.C. Gilbert Discovery Village in Salem. Combined with a 20,000 square foot outdoor play area, hours of exploration and activity await. More…


Washington County Museum

Category: Family Fun Reviews // Posted on January 10, 2013 // Leave a Comment

The Experience: Travel back in time in two current exhibits at the Hillsboro Civic Center. First, journey thousands of light-years to contemplate the origins of the universe in NASA’s Hubble Telescope Exhibit. Then, in “Americans All,” visit Washington County during World War II to discover the legacy of Mexican farm workers in the United States. More…


Ping Pong’s Pint-Sized Puppet Museum

Category: Family Fun Reviews // Posted on December 27, 2012 // Leave a Comment

The Experience: Enchantment awaits you on a quiet street in the Sellwood neighborhood. Olde World Puppet Theatre Studios is home to a puppet making workshop, gift shop, puppet theater and Ping Pong’s Pint-Sized Puppet Museum. More…


Ladybug Theater

Category: Family Fun Reviews // Posted on November 22, 2012 // Leave a Comment

The Experience: Welcome to the Smile Station, home of the Ladybug Theater. Designed especially for the tiniest audience members, the Ladybug Theater teaches theater manners and uses children’s powers of fantasy, make-believe and imagination to offer up a morning of fun. Performances rely heavily on audience participation, but have no fear if your acting skills are rusty or you are occupied with a newborn. Children ages 2 and up are the ones most likely to join the actors on the stage. The only rule at the Smile Station on Wednesday and Thursday mornings is that everybody has to have a good time. More…


The Experience: Marc Chagall’s work is full of vibrant colors, animals, people and unexpected scenes. The latest exhibit at Portland Children’s Museum will introduce your children to art in an environment that welcomes exploration. Enter a light and spacious miniature art gallery, where reproductions of Marc Chagall’s paintings are displayed side by side with hands-on multi-sensory activities. Chagall for Children at Portland Children’s Museum runs now through January 21st. More…


The Experience: Humans create a new supply of snot every twenty minutes, and produce an entirely new layer of skin every 28 days. If your kids are bursting with biology questions, take a day to embrace potty-humor, throw all squeamishness aside and head to OMSI. The current exhibit, Grossology, the (Impolite) Science of the Human Body, runs now through January 6th. Based on the best-selling book of the same name by Sylvia Branzei, the exhibit reveals the science of ingestion, excretion and everything in between. More…


Apple Tasting at Portland Nursery

Category: Family Fun Reviews // Posted on October 11, 2012 // Leave a Comment

The Experience: When the big red apple flies over Stark Street, it must be fall – and time for Apple Tasting at Portland Nursery. Live music will keep your toes tapping as you queue up to sample over 50 varieties of apples and pears. Vendor displays, cider pressing demonstrations and the kids’ tent are a recipe for a weekend of fun for the whole family. Get outside and enjoy the colors, smells and flavors of fall in Portland. More…


Audubon Society of Portland

Category: Family Fun Reviews // Posted on September 27, 2012 // Leave a Comment

The Experience:Whether you need to get out of the house with a toddler or want to share Portland with out-of-town guests, the Audubon Sanctuary on NW Cornell Road is a place for discovery by young and old. Escape into nature, learn about protecting habitats and native species and get up close and personal with wildlife. More…


Leach Botanical Gardens

Category: Family Fun Reviews // Posted on September 13, 2012 // Leave a Comment

The Experience: Leach Botanical Gardens, tucked around a bend in Outer Southeast Portland, is a tranquil, romantic destination. It is also a great place to hike and explore with children, especially on Wednesday mornings during the weekly Honey Bee Hikes. More…


The Experience:
Larger-than-life logs, hands-on activities and spectacular displays make the World Forestry Center Discovery Museum an engaging and educational destination. Kids can climb, play and explore, not even noticing they are learning how trees and forests are important to our lives. But the kids aren’t the only ones that will learn new things. The museum, in Portland’s Washington Park, is your starting point to journey through history, the Pacific Northwest and forests of the world. More…


Blue Lake Regional Park

Category: Family Fun Reviews // Posted on August 9, 2012 // 1 Comment

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.
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Hollywood Bowl

Category: Family Fun Reviews // Posted on July 26, 2012 // Leave a Comment

The Experience: When the forecast calls for grey skies and rain, head for the Hollywood Bowl in NE Portland, where you’ll find indoor fun and games for kids of all ages. With 48 lanes of bowling and an automatic scoring system, you can work on your strikes and spares (or keeping your ball out of the gutters) without the hassle of keeping score or remembering who goes next. Grab a ball and channel your inner Laverne & Shirley. More…


Hawthorne Boulevard

Category: Family Fun Reviews // Posted on July 12, 2012 // Leave a Comment

The Experience: It has been called the Haight-Ashbury or Greenwich Village of Portland. Hawthorne Boulevard, with its vibrant bohemian scene, is filled with unique shops, eateries and entertainment options, not the least of which is the people watching. With a wide selection of family-friendly businesses and pedestrian-friendly streets, Hawthorne Boulevard is at the top of the list for fun Portland neighborhood destinations. More…


Cosmic Soda Pop and Candy Shop

Category: Family Fun Reviews // Posted on June 28, 2012 // Leave a Comment

The Experience: Kids from all corners of the world love candy. And soda pop. While most parents work hard to limit their kids’ intake of sugar, it can be fun to take a break from restraint to indulge in the sweet life. At Cosmic Soda Pop and Candy Shop, you can indulge your kids – and your inner child – with a wide assortment of current and classic sugary delights. More…


The Experience: Natural disasters are a part of life in many areas of our world, yet in Oregon, our brush with nature’s fury is mostly relegated to history books and the evening news. For an up-close look at the powerful forces of nature, be sure to catch Nature Unleashed: Inside Natural Disasters, the latest special exhibit on display at OMSI through September 3rd. More…


Multnomah Village

Category: Family Fun Reviews // Posted on June 8, 2012 // Leave a Comment

The Experience: Portland is full of interesting neighborhoods with unique, pedestrian-friendly business districts, lending a small-town charm to big-city living. Tucked in the hills of Southwest Portland is Multnomah Village, which boasts an assortment of shops and eateries sure to charm. These include a toy store worthy of a drive from across town, an independent bookstore with a just-right children’s section, and an old-fashioned candy store, to name a few. Whether you’ve never visited Multnomah Village or just haven’t visited recently, this is a neighborhood destination worthy of an outing with the kids. More…


The Historic Belmont Firehouse

Category: Family Fun Reviews // Posted on May 23, 2012 // Leave a Comment

The Experience: If you have a fire engine enthusiast in your house or are looking for an engaging way to begin or continue fire safety discussions with your kids, then head over to The Historic Belmont Firehouse in SE Portland to check out the Safety Learning Center and Fire Museum. More…


OCT’s Locomotion

Category: Family Fun Reviews // Posted on March 1, 2012 // Leave a Comment

The Experience: Having nailed family festivity this season with such exuberant productions as Pinkalicious Live! and The Magic Schoolbus: Climate Challenge, Oregon Children’s Theatre now turns the dial down with the reflective and emotive Locomotion.

Eleven-year-old Brooklyn-ite Lonnie Collins Motion struggles to adjust to a new life as a foster child after his parents’ death and a separation from his little sister Lilli. Equally sad, hopeful, curious and kind, More…


NWCT’s Rapunzel ~ Uncut!

Category: Family Fun Reviews // Posted on February 14, 2012 // Leave a Comment

The Experience: Girls onstage who sparkle and sing are nothing new to fairy tales – and in that way Northwest Childrens Theatre and School’s Rapunzel ~ Uncut! holds to tradition. More…


The Experience: Our family has seen nary an episode of the legendary Scholastic TV show “The Magic Schoolbus,” but that didn’t stop us from being mesmerized by the Oregon Children’s Theatre’s live stage adaptation, The Magic Schoolbus Live: The Climate Challenge.

From the moment Ms. Frizzle and her class of curious kids board the bus for their first adventure, we and all the other kids in this packed audience were agape. (Literally – I looked down the row and saw nothing but open-mouthed faces and riveted eyes.)

The class travels around the globe to figure out why the weather’s so wacky these days, and in the course learn about habitats, animals and the relationship between people, our actions and the changes we can see in the seas or feel in the weather.

It’s a cautionary tale, to be sure, but it’s fraught not just with evergreen messages like, “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle,” but also fresh additions like “Rethink” how you do things and “Small Things Matter” (small people, it seems to imply, do too). And even this relatively educated adult appreciated the refresher on the science of the greenhouse effect.

Bottom line? Take the time to catch this bus. You’ll walk away with lots to think about, to be sure. But between the show’s catchy songs and fast-moving dialogue, lively staging, creative sets and imaginative use of simple effects to pull it all together, you’ll never even know you’re learning something.

Inside information: The Magic Schoolbus runs about an hour, with no intermission. Booster seats for smaller kids can help ensure their view; get yours at the coat check room.

The 411

Performance dates:
Runs Saturdays at 2pm and 5pm; Sundays at 2pm thorough Feb. 19. Tickets: $16 to $30 adults, $13 to $26 youth, plus charges. Location: Newmark Theatre at the Portland Center for the Performing Arts’ Hatfield Hall, 1111 SW Broadway Contact: 503-228-9751; octc.org/onstage/magicschoolbus.

— Sarah Pagliasotti


NWCT’s Willy Wonka

Category: Family Fun Reviews // Posted on December 13, 2011 // Leave a Comment

The Experience: Our family has seen lots of shows this season, for the sake of these reviews. But Northwest Childrens Theatre’s current production of Willy Wonka, based on the book “Charlie & the Chocolate Factory” by Roald Dahl, is my 7-year-old’s “favorite show so far.” More…


Tears of Joy Puppet Theatre’s Pinocchio

Category: Family Fun Reviews // Posted on November 15, 2011 // 1 Comment

The Experience: If you have a spare hour this coming weekend, go right now and buy tickets to the final weekend of Pinocchio, the latest show from Tears of Joy Puppet Theatre. More…


John’s Incredible Pizza

Category: Family Fun Reviews // Posted on November 8, 2011 // Leave a Comment

The Experience: This relatively new addition to the area’s family-friendly food and fun scene (it opened in March) has a winning formula – offer (unlimited) food that both kids and parents like in a comfortable environment, throw in a whole bunch of games and rides and you’ll end up with an experience everyone will enjoy. More…


Pinkalicious returns this season with performances Nov. 10-Dec. 9. Check octc.org/onstage/pinkalicious for details.”

The Experience: Pinkalicious The Musical opened last weekend at the Newmark Theatre, and sightings of be-tutu’d and bejeweled girls downtown have soared.

With good reason – Pinkalicious the Musical is a pageant of pink that enchants even us earth-tone adults. More…


The Experience: Hero to sassy girls the world over, Junie B. Jones shines in the lively new play at Northwest Childrens’ Theatre based on the bestselling series by Barbara Park. Junie B. and her classmates show us just how trying first grade can be. And NWCT is the perfect troupe to perform this show More…


The Experience: A world of knights and princesses awaits at the Children’s Museum in the form of the new Lego Castle Adventure that opened this month and runs through January 22.

Lego fans of all ages will find plenty to play with and ogle – from detailed replicas of European castles to life-sized dragons and knights, to a catapult you can use against a simulated castle wall. More…


Hopworks Urban Brewery

Category: Family Fun Reviews // Posted on September 6, 2011 // Leave a Comment

The Experience: Dinnertime is an ongoing and universal family challenge. Rise to it at Hopworks Urban Brewery, where the scene, the food and the staff are equally welcoming to adults and kids.

Hopworks, recently named as one of Portland’s top family restaurants in our 2011 Readers Survey, is an organic microbrewery, a hip pizza joint, and a sustainably-minded family food haven all in one. Kids love More…


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