Thunder eggs, theater, and a chocolate waterfall

Fun For Ages 4-11

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

A sweet taste of summer at Staccato Gelato

The 100th Monkey Studio

110 SE 16th Ave

The 100th Monkey Studio’s summer body care workshops let you just say no to tongue-twisting lotion ingredients like methylparabens and phthalates. Each two-hour class teaches you and your aspiring chemist how to make soaps, lotions, and body sprays with natural ingredients—like lavender and coconut oil—that are as easy on the skin as they are to pronounce. —MC




Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals

26385 NW Groveland Dr, Hillsboro

Hollywood might have you convinced that the earth is in constant danger of being body-slammed by a giant asteroid, but any pint-size patron at this Hillsboro museum—called one of the best in the country by Smithsonian magazine—can tell you otherwise. (The really big ones show up only once every million years or so.) They’ll also learn about the world’s largest opal-filled thunder egg, glow-in-the-dark fluorescent minerals, and where to find the best stone souvenirs in the giant rock pile out back. –KC

The Flower Farmer

2512 N Holly St, Canby

If your mini Martha Stewart is wreaking havoc on your garden with her spontaneous centerpieces, point your Subaru toward the Flower Farmer in Canby. Here, flower children can clip their own seasonal blooms with wild abandon. Of course, no trip would be complete without a spin around the 20 acres on the Phoenix & Holly railroad to visit Tilly the mule and Dover the miniature goat. All together now: Old McDonald had a farm … —KC

Staccato Gelato

1540 SE Bybee Blvd;

Whether you’ve been bird-watching in Oaks Bottom or riding the Zoooom Coaster at Oaks Park, nothing seals the deal on a perfect summer day quite like a heaping scoop of gelato. With 18 delicious flavors offered every day—keep an eye out for blackberry, honey tangerine, and strawberry rhubarb—Staccato Gelato is our favorite sweet spot in town. And if your gelato lover’s taste for adventure somehow remains unquenched, the Westmoreland location features a small Moroccan-themed play area complete with a cook set and stacks of classic kids’ books. —RR

Willamette Jetboat Excursions


While mellower types may enjoy observing the Willamette at a leisurely 12 miles per hour from the deck of the Portland Spirit, young adventurers might prefer something a bit, well, faster. Like a jetboat tour, where kids can zip past towering grain ships and through a wall of spray as they race south toward the 40-foot Willamette Falls near Oregon City. You’ll still spot bald eagles and sea lions, but with some humor and plenty of shirt-soaking donuts, the pilots make this outdoor history lesson a splash. —MC

You Who
tickets available at Black Wagon, 3964 N Mississippi Ave

If you hear the Teletubbies theme one more time, Tinky Winky and Dipsy are gonna get it. But what if you and your kid could enjoy the same music? You can. This monthly variety show at the Kennedy School features skits, interactive dancing, stories, sing-a-longs, puppets, and, most important, 45 minutes of kid-friendly, parent-approved live music. Past performers include Quasi and Blitzen Trapper; this month’s guest is the Dandy Warhols. (Don’t worry. The set list probably won’t include their song “Not If You Were the Last Junkie on Earth.”) BWB

Educational Birds at The Audubon Society

5151 NW Cornell Rd

Each year, the Audubon Society of Portland Wildlife Care Center rehabilitates nearly 2,500 injured wild birds. Many are released, but a few patients who can’t survive in the wild have become permanent residents. Although these majestic birds—seven in all, including a turkey vulture and a northern spotted owl—can no longer soar the skies, their stories still inspire visitors with lessons of stewardship for the environment and the critters who call Portland home. BMB

Casting Ponds at Westmoreland Park

SE McLoughlin Blvd & Bybee Blvd

When your 8-year-old is just learning her way around a fly rod—not to mention a pair of waders—our state’s 55 Wild and Scenic Rivers can seem a bit too wild. Instead, head for the placid water of Westmoreland Park’s casting ponds. Constructed as a WPA project in the 1930s, the banks of this time-honored training ground are dotted with miniature piers ideal for perfecting that roll cast. And with cherry blossoms and sprawling lawns, it’s a fine spot for thumbing through that faded copy of A River Runs Through It. —BMB

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DIY Theater

Northwest Children’s Theater and School
1819 NW Everett St

If Tim Burton’s trippy reimagining of Alice in Wonderland has your child craving the spotlight, the Northwest Children’s Theater’s whimsical costume rentals can make his (or her) star-studded dreams a reality. Currently in stock: pieces from Alice in Wonderland, the Narnia books, Winnie the Pooh, and The Wizard of Oz. Just make sure Dorothy doesn’t dribble ice cream on her ruby slippers. BWB

My Masterpiece Art Studio

7905 SW Cirrus Dr, Beaverton

If your kids’ finger paintings are more Michelangelo than mess, this Beaverton studio might be just the place for them. Starting with immersion programs, My Masterpiece stokes creative tykes with drawing workshops, an open studio for experimentation, and a Mini Masters program that focuses on in-depth explorations of icons like Matisse, Mondrian, Picasso, and Van Gogh. So you might want to start archiving those colorful drawings on the refrigerator now … just in case. BWB

East Portland Community Center Pool

740 SE 106th Ave

Soaring floor-to-ceiling windows and a bevy of skylights allow the sun to reign supreme at this indoor aquatic center. Not that your 5-year-old will notice. Because, rain or shine, the main draw here is the spine-tingling plunge down the 18-foot-tall, candy-apple-red bobsled of a waterslide (be prepared for epic water wedgies). Timid swimmers will dig the shark-shaped kiddie slide, while a 102-degree whirlpool provides adults with a safe refuge from all the splashing. BMB


5101 N Interstate Ave

For those moments when your desire to simply sit still is at odds with your youngster’s hankering to somersault, there is Pause. The popular NoPo pub’s backyard—which is abutted by umbrellaed picnic tables and three herb gardens—is the perfect patch of grass for tykes to tumble on while you enjoy the shade with a Cuban sandwich, hand-cut fries, and a cold summer ale. And when your Mary Lou Retton is all tuckered out and ready for a refuel, just order up a kid-size pasta with butter and cheese—with a price tag of $0, it’s the best deal in town. —RR

The Candy Basket

1924 NE 181st Ave, Gresham

The Candy Basket picks up where Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory left off—minus the manic chocolatier. The experts at this Gresham confectioner have been handcrafting all manner of decadent cures for your sweet tooth since 1914, but you’ll find a cure for your curiosity in a tour of their Northeast Portland factory. The lobby’s 21-foot dark-chocolate waterfall makes a splash, preparing candy-lovers for the fascinating journey to come: through the molding rooms, taffy kitchen, and chocolate tunnel. Expect a sugar high as you score scrumptious samples along the way—and there won’t be a single Oompa-Loompa in sight. —RR

Peter’s Walking Tours


Former schoolteacher Peter Chausse will give your kids their first lesson in Stumptown citizenship with one of his three-hour walking tours, which he’s been leading since 1995. The popular Central City tour investigates everything from the hidden echo chamber at Pioneer Courthouse Square to sidewalk quotes you’ve probably passed by a hundred times but have never noticed. Little ones will particularly enjoy slapping magnets on Portland’s historic cast-iron buildings. Whether you’re a long-time resident or a fresh-faced newbie, the mile-long meander will give your precocious urbanite a leg up on the city they’ll one day be exploring on their own. —KC

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