Cliff jumping, cooking classes, and air hockey tournaments

Fun For Ages 11-15

Edited by Kasey Cordell By Rachel Ritchie April 21, 2010 Published in the May 2010 issue of Portland Monthly

Blush Beauty Bar

Elk Rock Garden at the Bishop’s Close

11800 SW Military Ln

Any sixth grader who’s read The Secret Garden will fall under the spell of the fantastical Elk Rock Garden. Gifted to the Diocese of Oregon in 1959, the 13-acre English-style terraced garden is filled with delights for children and adults: winding staircases, stone benches, fish ponds, and a dizzying collection of flowers and trees. Stunning views of Mount Hood abound, but for a true storybook ending, head for cucumber sandwiches and a cup of Twinings at Lady Di’s British Store and Tea Room, just five minutes down the road in Lake Oswego. BMB

Avalon Theatre and Arcade

3451 SE Belmont St

Exterminate zombies, race your Lamborghini through the streets of Tokyo at midnight, dodge storm troopers, and challenge your friends to an air hockey tourney. At this Southeast Portland arcade, a $2.50 admission and more than 100 games priced at just a few nickels each means gamers don’t need to be stingy with their allowance. And when the coins do run out, catch one of the eight movies screening in the adjacent auditoriums for another $2.50. —MC

Blush Beauty Bar

513 NW 23rd Ave

Girls never really grow out of playing dress-up. Especially during prom season. Fortunately, this Northwest boutique specializes in prepping teens for the big night. Each spring, Blush’s beauty experts confirm prom schedules with all of the area high schools to ensure they’ve got enough people and shimmery products on hand—like Girlactik’s cosmic eyeshadows and iridescent lip glosses from Lorac—to guarantee your princess walks out feeling like a queen. —MC

Tualatin Island Greens

20400 SW Cipole Rd, Tualatin

Whereas most miniature golf courses offer tired windmills and goofy pirate ships, Tualatin Island Greens conjures dreams of shooting an eagle at the Masters. The holes here are inspired by the country’s most challenging greens, including Pebble Beach’s storied 18th hole and, of course, the “Island Green” at Florida’s TPC Sawgrass. Complete with water hazards, sand bunkers, and plenty of undulating terrain, this course sets the stage for a heated family competition. (Note to links lovers: green blazers not provided.) BMB

Haggart Astronomical Observatory


Up the ante on your next round of “I spy with my little eye” at this Oregon City observatory. Situated on the Clackamas Community College campus, Haggart’s 45-foot tower boasts three telescopes that let little Galileos get up close and personal with the moon and nearby planets (but only on clear nights when a volunteer is available). One catch: Haggart operates on a first-come, first-served basis—so get there early. Or save your stargazing for August, when the Perseid meteor shower presents the perfect opportunity for a late-night picnic at Council Crest. —KC

Moulton Falls

27781 NE Lucia Falls Rd, Yacolt, Wash.

Set on a lazy bend of the Lewis River less than an hour from Portland, Moulton Falls boasts blessedly cold, green-hued water, sandy beaches for wading and skipping stones, and a series of sun-warmed boulders (some up to 20 feet high) for diving. A wooden footbridge, arching 30 feet above the river, gracefully ties the sylvan scene together. And yes, a few daredevils take the plunge from the bridge, but such tomfoolery could earn you a hefty fine—not to mention a bruised hiney. BMB

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Slappy Cakes

4246 SE Belmont St

Easy-Bake meets performance art at this recently opened eatery. Just pick a batter, add your fixins, and flip the switch on your table’s built-in pancake griddle. When the batter arrives in squeeze bottles, the show begins. Faces, letters, giant animals—the griddle is your canvas! And those who forsake pancakes will find the full gamut of breakfast staples here, from country-fried steak to eggs Benedict, not to mention an eye-widening menu of forenoon cocktails. —RR



Tryon Life Community Farm

11640 SW Boones Ferry Rd

Nestled within Southwest Portland’s Tryon Creek State Forest, this seven-acre farm seems like the kind of place the mother of environmentalism, Rachel Carson, had in mind when she penned her 1956 Woman’s Home Companion essay, “Help Your Child to Wonder.” Among the farm’s firs and free-roaming chickens, growing greenies can learn about native species, wetland management, and, yes, even composting toilets. Just be prepared for questions a bit trickier than “Why is the sky blue?” (Like, “Mom, what are dreadlocks?”) —KC


Teen Yoga

Holiday’s health & fitness yoga
3942 SE Hawthorne Blvd

Have the SATs got your teen stressing? Are all the hours he spends logged on to Facebook making him slouch? If so, Holiday’s “Standing On Your Own Two Feet” course—a nonprofit yoga program designed to help teens stretch, pose, and breathe their way to relaxation, strength, and self-discipline—may be just the ticket. And if Wednesday’s Teen Yoga class conflicts with piano lessons, take a deep breath: at Holiday’s, teens are welcome in any yoga class at half-price. —MC

Shakespeare in the Parks

You like Cary Grant; your teenager would take a bullet for Zac Efron. Shakespeare in the Parks offers some middle ground. One of Shakespeare’s earliest plays and certainly one of his lightest, The Comedy of Errors—performed for free in city parks by the Portland Actors Ensemble starting July 31—is an episode of Three’s Company wrapped in Elizabethan dress, with slapstick comedy, cases of mistaken identity, and a fair number of bawdy puns. It won’t replace Hannah Montana, but it will certainly age better than Miley Cyrus will. BWB

The Merry Kitchen

5202 NE 72nd Ave

If Meryl Streep’s turn in Julie & Julia inspired your teen to pick up a whisk, but her creations could use some, er, constructive criticism, send her to the Merry Kitchen for some tutoring. Each week, owner and Western Culinary grad Julie Merry opens her home to kids of all ages, teaching them the basics of healthy, seasonal cooking—from the garden to the kitchen to the compost pile. In no time, your budding gourmand will be whipping up fresh ravioli, roasting chicken, rolling sushi, and baking red velvet cupcakes. The downside? If they’re cooking, you’ll be on dish duty. —RR

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