The problem: You want to have some fun with your kids, but don’t want to break the bank doing it. The solution: Some free family-friendly activities in Oregon! We have some suggestions to get you started, so leave your wallet at home and enjoy!
Tillamook Cheese Factory Tour
Although the Tillamook Cheese Factory has recently had to stop doing public tours inside of the processing area, you can still take the kids on a super fun — and free! — factory tour that will have their eyes wide and their curiosity going! Tillamook Cheese is a beloved company in Oregon and their factory, located about an hour outside of Portland near the Oregon Coast, is fun to explore. Check out the self-guided tour that gives you very cool views of the processing plant to see exactly how they get their cheese wrapped up so tightly! The tour itself is free, but you may want to bring some money for ice cream on your way out.
Location: 4175 Highway 101 N., Tillamook, OR 97141
Audubon Society of Portland Nature Sanctuary
Where the city meets nature is where you’ll find the Audubon Society of Portland Nature Sanctuary, another wonderful free activity for your family in Oregon. We love the mission of the Audubon Society — “building a region where people and wildlife flourish together” and think it’s a great place to teach your kids that same school of thought. At the Nature Sanctuary, which is located at Forest Park in Portland, spend the afternoon checking out old-growth Douglas Fir Trees, searching for wildlife (there are dozens of species!), exploring the pond and the wildlife that makes it home and so much more.
Location: Forest Park, 4099 Thurman St., Portland, OR 97210
First Thursday Portland
There are countless amazing, kid-friendly museums in Portland — but admission to these museums can certainly start to stack up when you have to purchase tickets for your entire family! We suggest taking advantage of First Thursday in Portland, where dozens of Portland galleries open up their doors for visitors to explore the art. Plus, many of the local museums offer free admission, including the Portland Art Museum. During the summer there are often outdoor First Thursday events as well.
Location: Various places around Portland, OR
Phone: 503-295-4979 or contact the specific museums for more information.
Washington County Cultural Pass to Adventure
Have you heard about this program that is offered through the Washington County Library System? Local libraries each have Cultural Passes, which are available to be checked out for one day, giving you free admission to family-friendly destinations in the area, including A.C. Gilbert’s Discovery Village, the Lan Su Chinese Garden, Portland Children’s Museum and more. You must be a current library card holder in the system to check out the passes.
Location: Washington County Library locations — visit the website to see which passes are available at the location closest to you before you visit.
Phone: Please contact your nearest library location.
International Rose Test Garden
Spend the day with your family romping through the roses at the International Rose Test Garden in Portland. Okay, so you can’t actually romp through these gorgeous flowers, but you can explore the garden for free! These are the oldest public gardens of their kind in the country and your entire family will be amazed at how gorgeous they are and how many different kinds of roses they hold — over 10,000 roses in all! Be sure to pack a picnic lunch to enjoy on the grounds, which are equally as beautiful. And don’t forget your camera — this place is a photo op waiting to happen!
Location: Washington Park, 400 SW Kingston Ave., Portland, OR