Home to the Next Generation: Oregon’s Family-Friendly Lifestyle

July 11, 2016

Over the past three years, people from across the country such as physicians, artists and entrepreneurs have chosen to build an active and enriching lifestyle for their families by moving to Portland and other cities throughout Oregon. The variety of indoor and outdoor activities, family-friendly amenities and array of attractions unique to the region make Oregon a sought after location to lay down roots. Anyone new to the area should start by checking out the fun and educational activities below. Here are Portland-area favorites, perfect for families of all ages.


Family Enrichment


The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, known to Portland locals as the “coolest museum in town,” offers fun and educational activities for family members of all ages. OMSI features hundreds of interactive exhibits, a planetarium, live lab demonstrations, a 4-story giant-screen theater and a retired Navy submarine. Visitors can experience an earthquake, conduct experiments in the interactive labs, watch the formation of storm systems on a giant globe and much more. Kids aged 6 and under are free to explore in the hands-on Science Playground and those aged 21 and over can enjoy scientific enlightenment and local brews at the museum’s “OMSI After Dark” events.


Oregon Coast Aquarium

The Oregon Coast Aquarium is one of the Pacific Northwest’s top tourist attractions, as well as a vital ocean education and conservation resource for the region. In addition to educational activities, children and family members of all ages will see sea lions and playful otters in the outdoor pools. There are also recreated ocean habitats to watch stingrays and sharks glide through towering kelp forests. The Aquarium, a nonprofit organization located on the coast in Newport, is devoted to the conservation and rehabilitation of all the Pacific Northwest’s beloved plant and animal species.


Outdoor Adventure

Mount Hood Adventure Park at Skibowl

Mount Hood is Oregon’s highest mountain and one of the highest in the United States. It is located about 50 miles east of Portland. Its lofty pinnacle is visible from almost everywhere in Portland and all the surrounding areas and remains dusted with snow even in the depths of summer. The Adventure Park at Skibowl is a year-round resort for families looking for outdoor excitement and includes a 24,000 square-foot indoor play zone. In the winter, it boasts:

  • The largest night ski area in the country
  • Zip-line
  • Cosmic snow tubing
  • Snowshoeing
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Sleigh rides
  • And kid-friendly snowmobiling

In the summer months, the whole family can enjoy more than twenty attractions, including but not limited to:

  • Go-karts
  • Canoeing
  • Pony rides for the kids
  • Bungee trampolines
  • Horseback riding
  • And lift-accessed mountain bike trails


Washington Park

To call Portland’s Washington Park a “park” is a bit of an understatement. For a full day of family fun, the 410-acre public park includes:

  • The Oregon Zoo
  • The Portland Children’s Museum
  • The World Forestry Center’s Discovery Museum
  • The Hoyt Arboretum
  • The Rose Garden
  • The Japanese Garden
  • The Sacajawea Memorial and much more

In addition to more than 15 miles of hiking and biking trails, visitors to the park seeking to explore the outdoors will find an archery range, a soccer field and tennis courts. There are also picnic areas, playgrounds, public art exhibits, an amphitheater, and many acres of wild forest to discover. Parking is ample, but the park can also be accessed via bicycle or the convenient MAX light-rail.


All-Weather Exploration

World Forestry Center

The World Forestry Center’s Discovery Museum first opened in 1971. It hosts year-round field trips for school groups and classes and offers a hands-on approach to environmental education for students and family members of all ages. The 20,000 square-foot museum is home to a diverse array of interactive, child-friendly exhibits relating to geography, conservation, ecology, and the material sciences. In addition to its own attractions, the WFC belongs to the larger Washington Park zone, and is adjacent to the Oregon Zoo and Portland Children’s Museum.


Evergreen Wings & Waves Waterpark

The Evergreen Wings & Waves Waterpark is an indoor, all-season educational waterpark dedicated to imparting the wonder of science to people of all ages. The park operates ten different waterslides varying in thrill-level from mild to wild. Some of them drop down from a real Boeing 747 aircraft perched on the roof of the building. The park also features a massive wave pool and the hands-on H2O museum where kids can explore the interactive exhibits and learn about the power of water.


Please visit the Northwest Living Resources page on Northwest Permanente’s website for more exciting family friendly ideas in the Portland Metro. Interested in moving to Oregon? Visit the job board for current internal medicine, family medicine or more specialty physician openings.

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