World Forestry Center
Portland OR 97221
- Mon: 10am-5pm
- Tue: 10am-5pm
- Wed: 10am-5pm
- Thu: 10am-5pm
- Fri: 10am-5pm
- Sat: 10am-5pm
- Sun: 10am-5pm
The World Forestry Center, which houses the Discovery Museum, is a highly interactive museum that is great for all ages. In addition to learning more about trees and the animals that live in them, you can also take a simulated white water rafting trip, try your hand at steering a timberjack harvester and visit an old steam locomotive. It's also got lots of space for kids to run and crawl around. Plus, as the least-crowded of the other options in Portland's Washington Park area, it's a good stop if you need a little downtime.
Best and worst time to go to the World Forestry Center
The World Forestry Center shares a parking lot with the Portland Children's Museum and the Oregon Zoo. Compared to these two stops, the World Forestry Center is very manageable. Crowds are usually minimal - particularly on mornings during the school year. You are most likely to run into crowds during the summer and on the weekends, but even then the open floor plan keeps the museum from feeling crowded.
Must see/do at the World Forestry Center
The simulated white water rafting adventure is a lot of fun for the kids. Views of a fast-flowing river fill a screen before you as you jump into a raft that bumps and dips. Photographs are taken during the ride that you can purchase afterwards. Truck enthusiasts will get a kick out of trying the gears of the timberjack harvester. (It's harder than it looks!) Make sure to check out the old locomotive train ("Peggy") before leaving. Located outside the museum but under cover, kids are welcome to climb aboard this beautiful train, which has been estimated to have hauled a billion feet of logs.
Admission to the World Forestry Center
Admission is free for children under 3, and around $5-$10 for those older than 3. There is an additional hourly parking fee to park in the lot.
Parking and public transportation to the World Forestry Center
The World Forestry Center shares a large parking lot with the Oregon Zoo and the Portland Children's Museum. The World Forestry Center is located just north of the Children's Museum. Visitors are encouraged to take public transportation. If coming from downtown, visitors can take MAX (Portland's light rail system) by taking the Blue Line toward Hillsboro and getting off at the Washington Park MAX station. If coming from downtown by bus, take Bus 63 to Washington Park. During the summer a free shuttle bus is available to explore the other attractions in Washington Park, like the Portland Japanese Garden.
Food at the World Forestry Center
There is no restaurant at the World Forestry Center. There is a small gift shop that sells some snacks. If you are planning a longer visit, come prepared.
Insider tip for visitors to the World Forestry Center
The first Thursday of every month is TreeMendous First Thursday, when visitors ages 3 and up can gain admission to the museum for less than $5 (kids under 3 are always free). On Mondays from November to April, the museum also hosts a weekly Mommy and Me play time, with a variety of fun activities for the younger set.
Author's bio: Ali Wilkinson is a mom to three young children and she loves exploring all Portland has to offer with them. She is the founder of a Portland events website aimed at families, and writes about parenting on her blog run.knit.love.