Portland

Portland Races for Families

A Good Gray Portland Races for Families

Want to be more active as a family? Try one of these local races that are juuuust right for families.
Dates for 2017 have been included.

SPRING
ORRC Hagg Lake Runs (Gaston): May 6, 2017, 10.5 miler, 10k, 5k; strollers welcome
Cinco de Mayo Run/Walk (Portland): May 7, 2017, Half Marathon, 10k, 5k, Kids Half-Miler; jogging strollers welcome
Lake Run (Lake Oswego): May 13, 2017, 10k, 5k, Kids Dash;
Run Mama Run (Portland): May 14, 2017, 10k, 5k, Kids Fun Run; stroller friendly
Health Hillsboro Family 5k (Hillsboro): May 20, 2017, 5k; $5 adults, FREE under 18, stroller friendly

SUMMER
Grateful Dad Run/Walk (Portland): June 17, 2017, Half Marathon, 10k, 5k, Kids Half Miler; this fun Father’s Day has a beautiful route along the Columbia River
Summer Solstice Sundowner at the Oregon Zoo (Portland): June 22, 2017 at 7:00 pm, 5k, Kids Run, Tot Trot; course runs entirely through the zoo
Color Fun Fest 5k (Portland): July 22, 2017, 5k; kids 12 and under free, wear white to this family-friendly run and brace yourself for some color!
Beaverton Sun Run (Beaverton): July 23, 2017, 10k, 5k, Kids Dash
Ladybug Run for CDH Awareness (Tigard): July 29, 2017, 10k, 5k, Kids Runs; this race raises money for children and families affected by CDH, a condition our sweet nephew, Jake, was born with
Garlic Run/Walk (North Plains): August 12, 2017, Half Marathon, 10k, 5k; no strollers

FALL
Hero-Up (Tigard): Sept. 2, 2017, Half Marathon, 5k, Kids Run; this fundraising race helps commemorates the life of the organizer’s son and raises money for children’s cancer research
Portland Marathon Kids Runs (Portland): Oct. 8, 2017, Marathon, Half Marathon, Kids and Toddler Runs

Any I missed? Let me know of your favorites!

Easter 2017: what’s hoppin’ on Portland’s West Side

Easter is almost here! There are plenty of fun activities for you and your fam… hop to it!

Easter 2017

APRIL 7 (FRIDAY)
Underwater Egg Hunt (Beaverton): Hunt for eggs in the pool and other fun Easter activities at the Conestoga Recreation and Aquatic Center. Preregister now! $7, 5:30 to 8:30 pm.

APRIL 8 (SATURDAY)
Peter Rabbit Pancake Breakfast and Carnival (West Linn): In its 41st year, this event at West Linn High School is a treat. From 8:00 am to noon, pay a small fee for breakfast, games, auction, and a visit with Peter Rabbit.
Breakfast with the Easter Bunny at Bridgeport Village (Tigard): For $10 a ticket you can enjoy breakfast, crafts, music, prizes, and visits with the Easter Bunny and Mother Goose.
Egg Hunt for Hope (Sherwood): This fundraising egg hunt begins at 1:00 pm.

APRIL 15 (SATURDAY)
Underwater EGGstravaganza at SHARC (Hillsboro): Bring your kids to hunt for eggs and prizes, and even visit with the Easter Bunny. $10/resident, $15/non-resident.
Rabbit Romp at the Oregon Zoo (Portland): Free with zoo admission, children 10 and under can hunt for candy eggs every 15 minutes from 9:30 am to 3:00 pm.
Hippity Hop Bunny Hop Through the Pearl District (Portland): Come to the Pearl for fun activities, treats, and a hug and picture with the Easter Bunny. 10:30 am to 3:00 pm.
Spring Egg Hunt (Portland): This egg hunt—rain or shine—will have candy and prize eggs, as well as hot chocolate and donuts at Garden Home Recreation Center. Register online, $7, 11:00 am to noon.
Great Westside Easter Egg Hunt (Hillsboro): At the Washington County Fair Complex you can enjoy egg hunts and visits with the Easter Bunny. (Additional activities are available for an extra fee.) 9:00 am to 3:00 pm, $5/family.
Egg Hunt at Lee Farms (Tualatin): Each child 12 and under gets to hunt for eggs, decorate a cookie, see the Easter Bunny, and make crafts. 10:00 am to 12:30 pm. Tickets are $6 and are selling out fast.
Alpenrose Dairy Egg-stravaganza (Portland): Come for egg hunts (with prizes!), the Easter Bunny, and more, starting at 10:30 am.
Egg Hunt at Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm (Woodburn): Bring your little ones to hunt at one of the most beautiful places in Oregon. Come early for the hunts at 10:00 am and noon.

APRIL 16 (SUNDAY)
Sunrise Easter Service at Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm (Woodburn): What a beautiful place to start Easter Sunday! This 7:00 am Sunrise Easter Service in the tulip fields will be run by WAMA, Woodburn Area Ministerial Association.
Anything I missed? Please let me know in the comments below!

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‘Tis the Week Before Christmas: Portland’s West Side 2016

christmas-2016

‘Tis the week before Christmas,
And the kids are out of school
They’re overflowing with seasonal cheer
And you juuust might lose your cool

But thank your lucky stars!
Portland is full of holiday fun
Check out the list below

And start with your favorite one

Bundle up your sweet family
And go make some memories
Merry Christmas to all

And to all, the happiest holidees!


CHRISTMAS LIGHTS
Christmas Ships (Portland, through Dec. 18, 7 to 8 pm): Since 1954 Portlanders have paraded down the Willamette and Columbia Rivers with their boats and ships blinged out for Christmas. Find a spot on the waterfront and enjoy the fun.
Winter Wonderland at Portland International Raceway (Portland, evenings Nov. 25 to Dec. 25, $20/car): Stay cozy in the car and drive through this spectacular light display.
ZooLights at the Oregon Zoo (Portland, Nov. 25 to Jan. 1, 5 to 9 pm): The zoo dazzles with a million and a half lights. Prices vary, members are free. It gets busy, so plan for a crowd.
The Grotto’s Christmas Festival of Lights (Portland, through Dec. 30, 5 to 9:30 pm): Walk through the impressive light displays at the Grotto, a 62-acre Catholic Shrine and botanical garden. There are half a million lights, holiday concerts, and outdoor caroling. Adults $11, children (3-12) $6, children 2 and under FREE.
Christmas Fantasy Trail at Wenzel Farm (Oregon City, Dec. 2 to 30, 6-9 pm): Take a walk surrounded by thousands of Christmas lights, including a castle and tunnel. Adults $6, Children 12 and under $5.
Peacock Lane Christmas Lights (Portland, Dec. 15 to 31, 7 to 10 pm): These neighbors have a long gone all out providing beautiful Christmas displays. FREE. It gets busy, so it’s best to park far and walk more.
Lighting of Maddox Woods (West Linn, Nov. 19 to Dec. 31, 4-9 pm): Enjoy a magical walk down a lighted, accessible path through the woods to a viewing platform on the Willamette River.

INDOOR EVENTS
Pittock Mansion Christmas Exhibit (Portland, Nov. 21 to Dec. 31, 11 am to 4 pm): Their annual holiday exhibit doesn’t disappoint. Enjoy each room’s “Symbols of the Season” while local musicians play. Adults $11, Youth (ages 6-18) $8, Children under 6 FREE.
24 Days of Music at the Portland Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Lake Oswego, Dec. 1 to 24, 7 pm): Come to the visitor center for nightly choirs and performances. Admission is free, but seating is limited.
The Nutcracker Ballet (Keller Auditorium, Portland, Dec. 10 to 26, 2:00 pm/7:30 pm): Share the magic of the Nutcracker ballet with your child. Performed by the Oregon Ballet Theatre.
“A Christmas Carol” at Portland Playhouse (Portland, Nov. 30 to Dec. 30, 2:00 pm/7:00 pm): Introduce your children to this Christmas classic with a live performance.

OUTDOOR EVENTS
Christmas in Dairyville and Storybook Lane at Alpenrose Dairy  (Portland, through Dec. 18, times vary): This charming little Portland-area tradition includes carols, cool decor, and Santa.  Admission is free.
The Holiday Express by the OR Rail Heritage Foundation (From Oaks Park Station, various dates and times until Dec. 18): Join Santa and his elves on this vintage train as you wind through both the wilderness and the city. Tickets sell out fast, but you might get lucky!
The Polar Express by the Mt. Hood Railroad (Hood River, various dates and times until Dec. 28): Join Santa on this magical train ride based on the popular book and movie “The Polar Express.” You’ll get treated to hot cocoa, music, and a special gift. Buy tickets in advance!
Winter Village at Orenco Station (Hillsboro, Dec. 2 to Jan. 2, 10 am to 10 pm): This holiday tradition in its 2nd year and brings the only open-air ice skating rink to the area. Adults $12, Kids 4-9 $9, Kids 3 and under FREE, plus skate rental.

SINGLE DAY EVENTS
Song Circle Holiday Edition at Beaverton Library (Beaverton, Dec. 19, 6:30 pm)
Gingerbread Houses at Beaverton Library (Beaverton, Dec. 19, 4 pm): Registration required
Jingle Babies at Beaverton Library (Beaverton, Dec. 20, 10:30 am): For children 0 to 6.
Life-Sized Candyland Game at Brookwood Library (Hillsboro, Dec. 20, 2:30 pm)
Family Holiday Movie at Beaverton Library (Beaverton, Dec. 21, 2-4:00 pm)
Winter Crafts at Shute Park Library (Hillsboro, Dec. 21, 2-3:30 pm)
Holiday Storytime at Beaverton Library (Beaverton, Dec. 22, 1:00 pm): Ages 2-6
Holiday Movie Marathon at Shute Park Library (Hillsboro, Dec. 22, 2:30-5:30 pm)
Winter Wonderland at Brookwood Library (Hillsboro, Dec. 23, times vary): Christmas movies, Family Holiday Sing-Alongs, Storytimes

Anything I missed? What would you add?

Thanksgiving Play 2016

It’s Thanksgiving again! Somehow! (Is it seriously almost 2017?? WHAT IS HAPPENING?!) Whether you’re planning a family run or looking to kick off the Christmas season, there’s plenty going on this week on Portland’s west side.

November 23 (WEDNESDAY)

Turkey Trot 5k Run/Walk + Kids Trot (Portland International Raceway, 5:30 pm): Register to run through the raceway’s holiday lights. Dogs welcome.
Harvest Month (Portland Children’s Museum, November): Participate in different harvest-related activities with your kids all November long.

November 24 (THURSDAY)
Turkey Trot at the Oregon Zoo (Portland, 8:00 to 9:45 am): This 4-mile fun run or walk winds through Washington Park and ends at the zoo. Children events included, and jogging strollers welcome. Register today.
Bridgeport Village Turkeython (Tigard, 8:30 am): This fun morning includes a 5k, 10k, and Kidathon. Register online.
Give ‘n’ Gobble (Sherwood High School, 9:00 am): This 5k walk or 10k run with a food drive is a Thanksgiving tradition. This race sells out, so register in advance.

November 25 (FRIDAY )
My Macy’s Portland Holiday Parade (Portland, 9:00 am): Kick off the holidays with Portland’s own Macy’s parade. Geared towards children.
Tree Lighting Ceremony at Pioneer Square (Portland, 5:30 to 6:30 pm): Witness the lighting of the 75-foot Christmas tree with holiday music and festivities.
Holiday Express Train Ride (Portland, weekends Nov. 25 to Dec. 18): Take a 1-hour ride along the beautiful Willamette with Santa on this holiday-decorated train. Made possible by the Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation.
Winter Wonderland Holiday Light Show (Portland International Raceway, Nov. 25 to Dec. 25, 5:00 pm): Drive through one of the largest light shows in the country. $20/car.
Zoo Lights (Portland, Nov. 25 to Jan. 1, 5:00 pm): Come see your favorite zoo all lit up for Christmas.
Christmas Festival of Lights (Grotto, Nov. 25 to Dec. 30, 5:00 to 9:30 pm): This family-oriented tradition includes dozens of choirs and hundreds of lights.

November 26 (SATURDAY )
Hillsboro Holly Days (Downtown Hillsboro, 1:00 to 6:00 pm): A Christmas extravaganza featuring Santa from 2:00 to 4:00 pm, live reindeer, train rides, the tree lighting at 5:30 pm, shopping, music, activities, and more.
Cinnamon Bear Cruise on the Spirit (Portland, weekends Nov. 26 to Dec. 27): Take a 2-hour ride on the Portland Spirit with Cinnamon Bear and friends. Enjoy snacks, drinks, and holiday activities.

Community Service Projects for Families

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How do you raise compassionate, selfless little people? Good question! I’m only 6 years into this child-rearing thing so I’m still figuring it out.

But here’s something: teach them to care for other people and to try to understand their struggles. Last September my girls and I watched a documentary called “Living on One Dollar,” and it led to a discussion about poverty and the challenges some people face. We all decided we’re pretty dang spoiled.

We felt inspired to do something to give to others, so we organized a small coat drive. I searched and found the Hillsboro Family Resource Center, a group helping families in our town. The girls decorated a large box, we put it on our porch for a few weeks, and I advertised our coat drive to our friends and neighbors by email and social media. BOOM! I kept the donating circle small, but we ended up with several bags of donations. It was a great experience for our little family.

So what else can our families do? Check out this list of community service projects for families to do together in the Portland area:

  1. Offer to help an older neighbor with yard or housework
  2. Coat or Clothing Drive: Contact a group like the Foster Closet or Lutheran Community Services NW to find out what they need. Leave a large box on your porch and advertise to your neighbors and friends with fliers or by social media (never post your address online). Set a deadline and drop off the donations together.
  3. Make dinner together for a friend or neighbor
  4. Make “Bags of Sunshine” for Cancer Patients: We passed these out in the waiting room at my Dad’s cancer center. The girls helped fill small Ziplocs with chapstick, candy, lotion, and a cheerful note. It was meaningful for all of us.
  5. Northwest Children’s Outreach: This group provides clothes, toiletries, and more for foster children. Families of all ages can come organize and sort during set hours at their locations in Beaverton, Tualatin, and more.
  6. Rake leaves or shovel snow for your neighbors
  7. Make cards or Valentine’s for a senior center or nursing home
  8. HillsDOer Day: Each October the city of Hillsboro organizes service projects all around, and many are great for families.
  9. Oregon Food Bank: Organize a food drive or even take your children (as young as 5!) to pack food at their Beaverton or Portland locations. Learn more here.
  10. Clean up Trash: Go for a walk or head to a park and clean up trash. Wear gloves, supervise, and give some safety tips.
  11. Give to the homeless: Wrap burritos in foil or stuff a rolled pair of socks with chapstick and granola bars and hand them out to people you pass on the streets. (Use appropriate caution.)
  12. Donate to a children’s hospital: Here are the sorts of things they need.
  13. Oregon Special Olympics: Take older kids to volunteer or young kids to cheer at their next event
  14. Write letters to members of the military through A Million Thanks
  15. Do a lemonade stand or bake sale and donate the profits
  16. Make Blankets for Project Linus: Even young children can help make easy, no-sew fleece blankets to donate

 

I’d love to learn of more! Comment and share other service opportunities, pretty please.

Eek! It’s Halloween 2016

Halloween 2016Get the spooky scoop on all of Portland’s westside activities this Halloween.

OCTOBER 21 (FRIDAY)
Great Pumpkin Hunt at Garden Home Recreation Center (Portland, 6 to 8 pm, $10): Come for games, crafts, a bouncy house, and bring a flashlight and hunt for pumpkins out back

OCTOBER 22 (SATURDAY)
Monster Mash at Bridgeport Village (Tigard, 9:00 to 10:30 am): California Pizza Kitchen is hosting a fun morning for kids. Registration required.
Villains in the Village at Bridgeport Village (Tigard, 10:30 am to noon): Wear your costume and come fight villains at this fun, free event

OCTOBER 26 (WEDNESDAY)
Safe Trick-or-Treat at Pacific University (Forest Grove, 4 to 7 pm): This 18th annual event has free treats and activities for all
Night-time Walkabout at Jackson Bottom Wetlands (Hillsboro, 6 to 8 pm, ages 8 and up): Register for this free event

OCTOBER 27 (THURSDAY)
Night-time Walkabout at Jackson Bottom Wetlands (Hillsboro, 6 to 8 pm, ages 8 and up): Register for this FREE event

OCTOBER 28 (FRIDAY)
Squishing of the Squash (Oregon Zoo, 10:30 to 11:30 am, FREE with zoo admission): Some of the world’s largest animals squish some of the area’s largest pumpkins
Spooky Dance Party at Shute Park Library (Hillsboro, 6:30 to 8 pm): Dress in costume and come shake it to spooky (but not scary) music
Enchanted Trail and Haunted Trail at Mary S. Young Park (West Linn, 7 to 10 pm, various prices): Bring kids 8 and younger to the charming storybook-themed Enchanted Trail, or wait later to bring the big kids to the freaky Haunted Trail.

OCTOBER 29 (SATURDAY)
Enchanted Trail and Haunted Trail at Mary S. Young Park (West Linn, 7 to 10 pm, various prices): Bring kids 8 and younger to the charming storybook-themed Enchanted Trail, or wait later to bring the big kids to the freaky Haunted Trail.
Howloween at the Oregon Zoo (Portland, 10 am to 3 pm, FREE with zoo admission): Dress in costume and participate in this fun but educational scavenger hunt at the zoo, collecting treats and prizes.
Dia de los Muertos Crafts (Beaverton Library, 11 am to noon)
Oaks Park Halloween Spooktacular (Portland, 1 pm and 7 pm): Skate in costume to Halloween music–games and costume parade too
Halloween Carnival (Beaverton Library, 3 to 4 pm, grades 1 to 5)

OCTOBER 30 (SUNDAY)
Howloween at the Oregon Zoo (Portland, 10 am to 3 pm, FREE with zoo admission): Dress in costume and participate in this fun but educational scavenger hunt at the zoo, collecting treats and prizes.
Not-So-Scary Halloween (Portland Children’s Museum, 10 am to 3 pm): Trick-or-treating, crafts, and games
Oaks Park Halloween Spooktacular (Portland, 1 pm and 7 pm): Skate in costume to Halloween music–games and costume parade too

OCTOBER 31 (MONDAY)
Spooky Babies (Beaverton Library, 10:30 to 11:15 am, up to age 6): Bring your little ones in costume for a parade and fun.
Halloween Dance-o-Rama (Tualatin Public Library, 11 am to noon, ages 6 and under)
Harvest on Main (Hillsboro, 5 to 9 pm): Downtown Hillsboro’s former “Safe n’ Sane” event is now Harvest on Main, and includes more activities and longer hours. You can still bring kids for trick or treating at local businesses as well as fun activities.
Trick-or-Treat at the Streets of Tanasbourne (Hillsboro, 1 to 3 pm, ages 12 and under)
Halloween at Orenco Station (Hillsboro, 3:30 to 5:30 pm): Trick-or-treat in Orenco Station, and enjoy games and crafts with Fancy That and the Dentists at Orenco Station
Spooky Storytime (Beaverton Library, 4 to 5 pm)
Trick-or-Treating at McMenamins’s Grand Lodge (Forest Grove, 4:30 to 6:30 pm, all ages)
Mall-o-ween at Cedar Hills Crossing (Beaverton, 6 to 7 pm): Trick-or-treat at participating stores

Anything I missed? Please comment below!

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8 MORE Dessert Places to Love in the Portland Burbs

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A while back I came up with 8 dessert places to love on Portland’s west side. Well since then, I’ve sampled—and fallen for—some new ones. So without further adieu, here are 8 more sweet stops I’m happy to take my kids to:

  1. Momo’s Hawaiian Ice: Hillsboro
    This place is the real deal—the ice is perfectly shaved, the flavors are extensive, and you can go big with ice cream and authentic Hawaiian toppings. Big portions, fair prices. It’s tropically delicious.
  2. Beaverton Bakery: Beaverton
    This bakery turns 90 this year, and through the years they’ve been perfecting sugar cookies, cakes, and other specialty bakery creations. We got our wedding cake here, and we love coming back and grabbing a treat with our kids.
  3. The Pie Guy: North Plains
    We first fell in love with his pies at the Hillsboro Farmers’ Market, but my sister just informed me you can now go to his stand. Daily. Stop delaying that gratification! My favorites are Razzleberry and Coconut Cream. Mmmmm boy.
  4. Alotto Gelato: Orenco
    This new-ish spot in Orenco Station (next to La Provence) offers rich, creamy, gelato and Italian sodas in various flavors. It ain’t cheap, but it’s a great sometimes treat.
  5. Donut Day: Beaverton, Tigard
    These are sweet, rich donuts. My husband raves about their coconut, I love their regular glazed. Also try the buttermilk bar and their fritters. Tip: It’s easier to access their Beaverton shop by the side street instead of TV Highway.
  6. Nothing Bundt Cakes: Beaverton, Tualatin, Clackamas
    These little darlings look adorable and taste amazing. The frosting is sweet, but the cake is rich, moist, and just right. They are a great place to order treats for parties or special occasions!
  7. Dutch Bros Coffee: Various locations
    Yes, it’s a drive-thru coffee chain, but it’s headquartered in Oregon and feeeeels local-ish. Also, a junior menu with delicious smoothies, shakes, and hot chocolate? It just hits the spot sometimes.
  8. Sesame Donuts: Beaverton, Hillsboro, Tigard
    We first tried these donuts (oddly enough) at the cafe in the Hillsboro Main Library. You can buy a ton of donut holes for cheap, and I found them to be a traditional yet tasty donut. Their other locations are open 24/7. Try their trademark Sesame Donut.

 

Easter 2016: Portland & the West Side

What’s hoppin’ this Easter? Get some ideas on how to have some eggstra fun with your family this year.

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MARCH 12 (SATURDAY)
Peter Rabbit Pancake Breakfast and Carnival (West Linn): This 40-year tradition at West Linn High School is a treat. From 8:00 to 11:00 am, pay a small fee for breakfast, games, auction, and a visit with Peter Rabbit.
Egg Hunt for Hope (Sherwood): This fundraising egg hunt begins at 1:00 pm.

MARCH 18 (FRIDAY)
Underwater Egg Hunt (Beaverton): Hunt for eggs in the pool and other fun Easter activities at the Conestoga Recreation and Aquatic Center. $7, 6:00 to 8:30 pm.

MARCH 19 (SATURDAY)
Breakfast with the Easter Bunny at Bridgeport Village (Tigard): For $10 a ticket you can enjoy breakfast, crafts, music, prizes, and visits with the Easter Bunny and Mother Goose.
Extreme Egg Hunt for Teens (Beaverton): This is part egg hunt, part scavenger hunt, and all fun for anyone 13-17 years old at the Tualatin Hills Athletic Center. $20, 5:00 to 7:00 pm.

MARCH 26 (SATURDAY)
Underwater EGGstravaganza at SHARC (Hillsboro): Bring your kids to hunt for eggs and prizes, and even visit with the Easter Bunny. $10/resident, $15/non-resident.
Rabbit Romp at the Oregon Zoo (Portland): Free with zoo admission, children 10 and under can hunt for candy eggs every 15 minutes from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.
Hippity Hop Bunny Hop Through the Pearl District (Portland): Come to the Pearl for fun activities, treats, and a hug and picture with the Easter Bunny. 10:30 am to 3:00 pm.
Spring Egg Hunt (Portland): This egg hunt—rain or shine—will have candy and prize eggs, as well as hot chocolate and donuts at Garden Home Recreation Center. $7, 11:00 am to noon.
Great Westside Easter Egg Hunt (Hillsboro): At the Washington County Fair Complex you can enjoy egg hunts and visits with the Easter Bunny. (Additional activities are available for an extra fee.) 9:00 am to 3:00 pm, $5/family.
Egg Hunt at Lee Farms (Tualatin): Each child 12 and under gets to hunt for eggs, decorate a cookie, see the Easter Bunny, and make crafts. 9:00 am to 12:30 pm. Tickets are $6 and are selling out fast.
Alpenrose Dairy Egg-stravaganza (Portland): Come for egg hunts (with prizes!), the Easter Bunny, and more, starting at 10:30 am.
Egg Hunt at Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm (Woodburn): Bring your little ones to hunt at one of the most beautiful places in Oregon. Come early for the hunts at 10:00 am and noon.

MARCH 27 (SUNDAY)
Sunrise Easter Service at Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm (Woodburn): What a beautiful place to start Easter Sunday! This 7:00 am Sunrise Easter Service in the tulip fields will be run by WAMA, Woodburn Area Ministerial Association.

Anything I missed? Please let me know in the comments below!

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St. Patrick’s 2016: Portland & the West Side

Whether you’re Irish to the core or just for the day, there’s plenty o’ fun for your family in our area this week.

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MARCH 12 (SATURDAY)
Murphy’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade (Hillsboro): Participate in this beloved 40-year tradition—parade, food, and children’s activities. Parade at 11:00 am, lunch at noon.
St. Agatha’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Festival (Portland): This Catholic school’s yearly celebration features a parade, carnival, 5k fun run, and live entertainment, all starting at 11:00 am.
Luckython (Aloha): Bring the whole family to the Reserve Vineyards and Golf Club for fun runs for kids, competitive races for adults, and a potato bar for all.

MARCH 13 (SUNDAY)
Shamrock Run (Portland): With all sorts of races, ranging from stroller-friendly runs to a half marathon, this event has something for everybody.

MARCH 17 (THURSDAY)
Paddy’s St. Patrick’s Celebration (Portland): This tented street party is family-friendly from 11:00 am to 9:30 pm. Come for a Irish feast and exciting entertainment—bagpipes, dancers, bands, and more.
St. Patrick’s Day Celebration by the Oregon Irish Club (Portland): From 4:00 to 9:00 pm at the Ambridge Event Center you can see Irish dancers and bands, visit the children’s area, and enjoy Irish food. See site for admission prices.
McMenamins (several locations): This Portland chain invites all ages to come for delicious food and special Irish entertainment.
St. Patrick’s Day Dinner (Hillsboro): Enjoy corn beef and cabbage, boiled potatoes, and more at the senior center. $6/person.

 

Anything I missed?? Let me know and I’ll add it to the list!

Portland’s Best Passes and Memberships for Families

We use Christmas money every year to buy a family membership somewhere around town. It’s exciting to pick where we’ll spend our free time in the new year.

Want to know why we love passes? (Of course you do!):
– It saves us money after just a few uses. (Case in point: one visit to the Oregon Zoo for an average family of 5=$48.50, membership for a household=$114.00. Go more than 2.5 times on the pass and it’s worth it. Boom.)
– The investment helps motivate us to get out and enjoy an outing with our family regularly. I hate to waste dinero, so we make that pass count and have fun doing it.
– Membership takes off the pressure to “see the whole place.” We can go for a short visit without the guilt.
– Passes usually include discounts to on-site shops, special extended hours, or other perks.
A Good Gray: Portland's Best Passes and Memberships for Families
We’ve stuck to the Oregon Zoo membership so far, but we’re ready to try something new. I’ve been researching some of the best annual passes around, and here’s what I’ve found:

EVERGREEN AVIATION AND SPACE MUSEUM* (McMinnville, $125-150/family): This museum ain’t close but apparently it’s amazing. It has tons of information on air history, from airplanes (including the real Spruce Goose!) to space travel, and also a kid zone, playground, and carousel. Pass offers discounts for water park and IMAX theater. **A smart friend just told me that this pass is part of a reciprocal passport program that can get you into dozens of other museums across the country.

OREGON MUSEUM OF SCIENCE AND INDUSTRY (OMSI) (Portland, $105-$135/family): This big ol’ museum is hands on and full of scientific fun for all ages (there is even a baby/toddler area for little ones). Around May there’s an OMSI Groupon for a highly-discounted membership deal (in 2015 it was 46% off!). **A smart friend just told me that this pass is part of a reciprocal passport program that can get you into dozens of other museums across the country.

OREGON PACIFIC COAST PASSPORT ($35/vehicle): This annual vehicle passport will get you free day passes into various popular coastal parks, including Fort Stevens, Cape Lookout, and Sand Lake.

OREGON ZOO* (Portland, $114/family): With a wide variety of animals in a variety of settings, it’s hard not to find something to love here. There is also a train, summer concerts, Zoo Lights, and new renovations (we were fascinated by the new Elephant Lands). This pass can also get you into 120 other zoos across the country.

PORTLAND ART MUSEUM (Portland, $95/couple, children always FREE): If you’re a family of art lovers—or you’re trying to become one—head to the art museum for extensive exhibits in a variety of art forms.

PORTLAND CHILDREN’S MUSEUM (Portland, $80/2 people, $25/each additional person): If you have small children, this museum offers hours of entertainment and discovery. They provide hands-on play both indoors and out, and our kids love this place.

RICE NORTHWEST MUSEUM OF ROCKS AND MINERALS* (Hillsboro, $90/family): This small museum is full of a world-class collection of fine rocks and minerals, as well as fossils, meteorites, and gemstones.

WASHINGTON COUNTY MUSEUM* (Hillsboro, $100/person+3 guests): This is a small and simple museum featuring local history and is best for older children.

WORLD FORESTRY CENTER* (Portland, $50/person+5 guests): We found this discovery museum to be interesting but also best for older children. They have rotating art exhibits throughout the year as part of the museum.

*One cool advantage of these starred venues? If you buy a pass to one of 8 participating attractions, you can get into the other 7 for FREE during different months throughout the year. Here’s the schedule for 2016:
January – Oregon Zoo
February – World Forestry Center
March – Oregon Historical Society
April – Lan Su Chinese Garden
June – Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals
September – Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum
October – Washington County Museum
December – Historic Deepwood Estate

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