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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 283 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 166
  • 65
    Very good
  • 34
  • 5
  • 3
Best in the Northwest

This is our favorite children's museum in the area. It's spacious with many different activities. You can explore the grounds outside on a nice day. It's located next to the... read more

5 of 5 bubblesReviewed 5 days ago
Seattle, Washington
via mobile
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283 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 273: English reviews
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
10 reviews
7 attraction reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 days ago NEW via mobile

This is our favorite children's museum in the area. It's spacious with many different activities. You can explore the grounds outside on a nice day. It's located next to the zoo. The snack/food bar is limited in what it offers. So bring food if you plan to stay long.

Thank KLMTWolf
Rio Rancho, New Mexico
Level Contributor
27 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago

If you have young ones in your group a visit to the Portland Children's Museum is sure to be the highlight of their day. Lots of opportunities for interactive play and imaginative play. It is one of the better Children's Activities in the many cities I have lived in and traveled to. As an adult I find myself thinking how... More 

Thank ltspada
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
62 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago

Over the last six years, we maintained a yearly pass to the museum. It is totally worth it if your kids are 6 and under. There is so much to discover for them there and it is a very safe and covered place to hang out for a family or a single parent on duty with their children for the... More 

Thank Florian H
Manhattan Beach, California
Level Contributor
102 reviews
35 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago

My daughter brought her father, me and her two children here for the afternoon. I HIGHLY suggest families coming here. AND they have memberships as well!

Thank sdrnek46
Central Oregon, Oregon
Level Contributor
22 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 weeks ago

My daughter LOVES museums, zoos, etc. She was very excited to go to a museum specifically aimed at Children. As a child I myself was lucky enough to go to the museums in Chicago and other large cities fairly frequently, so I was interested to make the comparison between the Midwest and the Pacific. Heavens what a disappointment. I had... More 

Thank Alisha B
Limestone, Maine
2 reviews
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 November 2016 via mobile

I took my 3 year old and she really liked it. The displays are small and were the perfect size for her. It wasn't too crowded so that made out easy to move through the building and see the displays. I think this place would be good for children 7 and under.

Thank heatherdube5
A TripAdvisor Member
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 November 2016 via mobile

Had a great outdoor space for the kids. The exhibits seemed to go on forever. Highly recommend for small children.

Thank A TripAdvisor Member
Waynesville, Missouri
Level Contributor
101 reviews
42 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 November 2016

We had friends visiting with a youngster. During the visit we scheduled a visit to the Children's Museum. It was a great time for the child and adults. There are lots of interactive displays. There was a caterpillar interactive story scheduled for the day we visited. We missed the show because the directory gave the wrong location for the show... More 

Thank Lewis P
Victoria, Canada
Level Contributor
33 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 November 2016 via mobile

We did our trip to Portland somewhat "unplanned"... meaning no research ahead of time ... not knowing what attractions are there and what we would be doing. What a pleasant surprise to find out that there is Portland Children's Museum! We took our 2 year girl there and had a blast. We also hit the jackpot going on their free... More 

Thank Aggie C
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
17 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 November 2016

Really a fun place with lots of different types of sensory, role-play, and more for the kids. Kept them entertained the whole time, even after a hike through the rest of the area (it is inside the Washington Park area).

Thank swedishflowervalley

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Questions & Answers

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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?