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Things to do in Bend, OR with a 3.5-year-old?
May 16, 2014 11:17 AM   Subscribe

We are in Bend for the weekend with our preschooler and we're not familiar with the area at all. Aside from the High Desert Museum, what things should we do that are kid-friendly?

Bonus question: we also have a dog, and while she's perfectly happy chilling in our room, dog-friendly activities would also be appreciated.
posted by rabbitrabbit to Travel & Transportation around Bend, OR (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Pilot Butte is a sort of obvious option, but it's really worth it. An easy walk to the top (doable with kids + dog), and a pretty stellar view up top.

The Deschutes is beautiful, and worth hiking along.

Not sure if breweries count as kid-friendly enough, but boy, there are some good ones: Boneyard, Crux, 10 Barrel.
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:29 AM on May 16 [1 favorite]


The aquatic center at Sunriver is pretty great if a bit spendy.
posted by vespabelle at 11:43 AM on May 16 [1 favorite]


There are lots of great hikes in Central Oregon. It's a little early for some of the high lakes, but you could take some nice walks along the Deschutes or McKenzie rivers, or any number of the larger lakes (here's a nice list of some hikes near Sisters).

You might also check out some of the great caves found in the area. Lava River Cave is a super easy, tourist destination cave, but might be a good fit. I don't think dogs are allowed, though. If you're a little more adventurous, you can explore some of the less improved caves, but they might be a bit difficult to tote a little one through.

You should definitely check out Peterson Rock Garden. It's a little cheesy, as kooky old road-side attraction, but my 3-year-old loved it.

There's a play place called Bouncing Off The Walls that is a good activity if your kid just needs to burn off some energy.

Jackson's Corner is a good, kid-friendly place to eat. There's a little playground outside where you can eat and drink beer while they play.

That's all I can think of right now, but if I come up with anything else, I'll pop back in. Have fun!
posted by maniactown at 12:03 PM on May 16


Bend Parks and Recreation has some great playgrounds! You can see the whole parks list here and a map here. Try out the "boats" at Columbia and Harmon Parks.

If it's warm out, check out Juniper Swim and Fitness. They have a water play area for kids that gets a lot of use.

If you're here in early summer, you might still find some snow up off of the Cascade Lakes Highway. nothing says awesome like building a snowman in June.
posted by golden at 1:34 PM on May 16 [1 favorite]


Here is a list of activities on the events calendar for Bend
posted by Leenie at 2:01 PM on May 16


If you're up for a 20 minute drive, Smith Rock State Park is a great place for a hike. It's well-known as a rock climbing destination, but there are lots of well-maintained trails and bathrooms for those traveling in an exclusively horizontal plane. Maybe the kid would enjoy watching the climbers?
posted by EKStickland at 9:15 PM on May 16


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