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Portland Children's Museum

Certificate of Excellence
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Address: 4015 SW Canyon Road, Portland, OR 97201
Phone Number:
+1 503-223-6500
09:00 - 17:00
Closed now
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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 288 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 168
  • 66
    Very good
  • 35
  • 5
  • 3
Lots of things for young ones.

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... read more

4 of 5 bubblesReviewed 2 weeks ago
Saint Louis, Missouri
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288 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 277: English reviews
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago 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 

1 Thank oregondaisy2016
Saint Louis, Missouri
Level Contributor
50 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago

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
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago 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
Baltimore, Maryland
Level Contributor
26 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 January 2017

When we visited Portland in October 2016 we went there with our granddaughter. It has a series of different themed areas for the little ones. Shiloh enjoyed all the different exhibits. The two she liked the most were the grocery store and the vet's office. Little ones played mostly with them selves.

Thank Charles G
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
12 reviews
7 attraction reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 January 2017 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 3 January 2017

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
80 reviews
28 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 December 2016

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 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 December 2016

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
32 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 December 2016

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

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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?