Some people ask, why move to West Linn? Here’s one reason why: When we were getting ready to move two years ago, we were looking for a welcoming neighborhood in a family-friendly city. So when we began exploring West Linn, Oregon, we knew we found home. It has an incredible school district, access to the outdoors, a small-town feel outside Portland—and a wealth of parks. We love to spend time outdoors as a family, and as soon as we bought a home and moved, we began exploring the best parks in West Linn.
There are so many great outdoor spots to play, we could hardly choose a favorite. It’s just as well, because mixing it up keeps my kids happy! When I get the girls packed up and tell them we’re going to the playground, they ask, “Which park, Mama?” Will it be the one with the dinosaur skeleton? Or the one with the giant rocks you can climb in the splash pad? Or the one with the two-story high slide built into the hill?
So many choices!!!
The other day, as my kids were scream-fighting over a bouncy ball and I was hiding behind the kitchen island/taking a lie-down on the floor, I realized I had not been beyond a one-block radius of my house in seven days. Here I was, getting a very close-up view of all the crumbs along the baseboards, because I hadn’t done anything outside the home in a week. I know I’m not the only rainy day stir-crazy mom out there, so for all y’all desperate parents, I thought I’d put together a resource list of indoor kids activities in Portland, Oregon and the Portland metro area.
Many of these places we have tried; others I can’t wait to visit. And there are indoor kids activities in this overflowing-with-fun list for just about every flavor: activities for toddlers, preschoolers, big kids—and even parents who may or may not want a mimosa on a weekday. (Hey-o!)
Arts studios that will clean up mashed clay for you? Check.
Restaurants that include play places (and aren’t McDonald’s)? Check.
Gyms that encourage your kids to literally climb the walls? Check.
These indoor kids activities in Portland equal your sanity-saving plan for all the rainy, snowy, sleety weather we still have to endure. Winter, eat your heart out, ’cause this family is now prepared with plenty of indoor family activities that don’t include lying facedown on the floor.
Imagine yourself floating in a sea of wild grasses and millions of wildflowers and you’ll get a pretty good sense of hiking at Camassia Natural Area in West Linn, just outside Portland.
The easy loop is perfect for families and little hikers. There is plenty to see—bridges! giant rocks! flowers galore!—as well as a self-guided information pamphlet pointing out uncommon plants and other trivia.
The best time to visit Camassia Natural Area is in the spring, when the purple-hued camas is in full bloom (hence the name of the preserve), but there’s always something beautiful for the whole family to see, no matter when you visit.
One year ago we moved into our West Linn home, which, thanks to Peeper, we still call New House.
We’ve been here long enough that people have stopped asking us how we like our “new” neighborhood, house and town. But I’m just as grateful today as I was on that first day we moved in.
“Ye-ti! Ye-ti! Ye-ti! Ye-ti!” Peeper called. She let out a squeal-shriek that was nothing if not abominable. She peeked around trees.
She was searching for a yeti.