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Portland Children's Museum

Certificate of Excellence
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Address: 4015 SW Canyon Rd, Portland, OR 97221-2759
Phone Number:
+1 503-223-6500
09:00 - 17:00
Closed now
See all hours
Sun - Sat 09:00 - 17:00


A museum's name tells you a lot about what it treasures.

You hear...


A museum's name tells you a lot about what it treasures.

You hear the name--art museum, history museum, automobile museum--and you immediately know what you'll find there: objects, rare and wonderful; encounters with the unusual; beauty for beauty's sake. The specifics differ, but in each case, the collection takes center stage.

Our name shows what we treasure, too, and it tells you how we're different.

We're a museum that doesn't act like a museum because our audience--children and the adults who care for them--is more important to us than anything we collect. Indeed, our audience is the essential component that gives our exhibits meaning.

Instead of investing in precious objects, we use familiar materials to craft priceless opportunities for children to learn through play. Our approach is inspired by the early childhood schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy; built on inquiry-based learning strategies; and influenced by a strong image of children as intelligent, creative, and resourceful.


Established in 1946.

In 1946 visionary Portlander, Dorothea Lensch, founded the "Junior Museum and Adventure House," as part of Portland Parks and Recreation. Lensch, who served as Portland's recreation director from 1937 to 1972, was particularly dedicated to meeting the needs of Portland's underserved communities. She developed innovative programs for children with special needs and for economically disadvantaged families, a legacy that lives on in our mission and core values.

We moved to our current location in Washington Park in 2001, thanks to the incredible efforts of our partners including the Rotary Club of Portland and Portland Parks and Recreation. Our new building, the former home of the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), is five times larger than the one we left behind, allowing us to expand our programs and add a school. In 2014 we completed Outdoor Adventure, opening new kinds of exploration and discovery to our community. We now host over 313,000 visitors every year.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 296 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 173
  • 67
    Very good
  • 36
  • 5
  • 3
Should be 6 Stars!!!

My son absolutely loved it. Being a toddler, he was able to explore and touch everything. Each area had it's own theme, and set up so he could move around at his own pace. He... read more

Reviewed 2 weeks ago
Anchorage, Alaska
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296 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 284: English reviews
Anchorage, Alaska
Level Contributor
48 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

My son absolutely loved it. Being a toddler, he was able to explore and touch everything. Each area had it's own theme, and set up so he could move around at his own pace. He split most of his time between the stage area, the water area and digging with the scoops. Staff was friendly and everything was very clean... More 

Thank KeithMil2
Level Contributor
17 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 3 weeks ago

We have been visiting the Children's Museum for about 5-6 years and our Grand Kids up to about 8 years old really enjoy it. Many hands on activities and special sessions and classes for them. Some better than others. Many exhibits where they can be messy without worrying–painting, water, sand. If they get bored the Zoo is across the parking... More 

Thank Bullet-PDX
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
9 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviewed 13 April 2017

Worth the money for the day if you have stir-crazy kids who are sick of doing adult things in Portland. Activities that engage children and adults alike. Worth a try!

Thank travelingfolks2015
Eagle Mountain, Utah
Level Contributor
28 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 April 2017

Went on a rainy day when the adjacent zoo was closed so the place was packed. The good thing was that the Grand Kids liked it so it has to be good. However, parking was not free ($1.60 an hour) and admission was $10.75 per person with NO discounts for anyone especially kids. All in all it was a $100... More 

Thank Bob K
Level Contributor
32 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 April 2017 via mobile

This was my favorite place in all of Portland for kids. I liked it even better than the other museums around because it was compact, but conducive to learning with SO many options for any kid. Outside and inside. Crafts, trains, cars, digging, climbing, water, pretending, theatre, and so much more. Plus they have healthy kid friendly food, even for... More 

Thank Rachelburkett
Oahu, Hawaii
Level Contributor
23 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 April 2017

I visited Portland's Children Museum with my daughter and my 6 year old grandson. We arrived shortly after it opened. So glad we enjoyed coffee and quick breakfast before entering the exhibits. We spent quite a few hours there. Grandson went straight to the water play area. Many interactive exhibits - marketplace, outdoors, hedge maze, theatre stage, and so much... More 

Thank MJV88
Hartford, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
78 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 April 2017 via mobile

We visited the Children's Museum while in Portland on vacation with my grandchildren, ages 2 and nearly 4. This museum offered something for each of them in every room. Construction projects, road and bridge fun with cars, pottery making (that you can take home), water works, and so much more. The staff is extremely friendly, helpful and knowledgeable. I was... More 

Thank Maripat B
Level Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 February 2017 via mobile

This place was a lot smaller than expected and some rooms seemed over stuffed with children. I really wish they had separate areas for different age groups because some of the older children put the younger ones in harms way as they plow through the place. Also wish they had staff assigned to each area to keep the older kids... More 

2 Thank oregondaisy2016
Saint Louis, Missouri
Level Contributor
50 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 February 2017

Families with young children will likely love the Children's Museum. There are many different areas for children to explore, including a market, water area, forest, Makerspace, and theater area. The Children's Museum seems to frequently rotate their main exhibits and have lots of interactive art experiences. They do have a small cafe in the front of the museum, as well... More 

Thank brightestblue
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 11 February 2017 via mobile

I loved this museum. It had plenty of rooms for children of all ages. I love the theater and musical story time. I also love the water room and sculpting room. The staff are super nice. It has plenty of options to choose from.

Thank Irene M

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Typical questions asked:
  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
  • How do I get there using public transportation?
  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?