In Portland, Oregon finding a good indoor activity for the winter is essential. Our family has found that over almost all other places OMSI (the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) is the best place to go if we are spending our day inside. OMSI has something for every age group, and I do mean every age group, from infants to adults.
OMSI has been around for as long as I can remember, in fact I can remember going there as a child with my Father. It used to be located by the zoo but moved years ago to increase the space inside. There are two stories of great educational but fun interactive science exhibits showcasing biology, engineering, chemistry, physics and more. We have two main places that we love to go and visit every time we are at OMSI. These are the Science Playground which is designed especially for kids ages 0 to 6 and Turbine Hall.
Turbine Hall has water rockets, orbit tables, both a physics lab and chemistry lab, a room where you build ball launchers, a few water tables where to create and test out different types of boats (sail or paddle), and more. The Science Playground was recently given a makeover of sorts and now contains a brand new water play area and quite reading tent. It also has a forest discovery area where kids can pretend to be a chip monk dressing up and hiding acorns in a tree, play with puppets, and check out the inside of a cave. There is a sand play area, block building, a shopping and cooking area, and a craft area that also always features either play-doh or gak. There is so much more in this area, I really could go on for pages.
There is one more permanent exhibit area full of things ranging from live animals like rats, turtles, and snakes, to information about nanotechnology. There is a lot of stuff in this room about the importance of staying healthy and it does a good job of giving hands on ways to help this message sink in while still being fun.
OMSI also has a Submarine tour (you have to be at least 3 to go on), a planetarium featuring a wide variety of shows, the OMNIMAX Theater, a special exhibit that changes every couple of months and a cafeteria that actually has pretty good food.
Our family highly recommends OMSI especially for these dreary winter months.