Nerdy fun for kids in PDX
December 22, 2011 8:14 AM   Subscribe

So I'm visiting my wife's family in Portland and just discovered that the electronics surplus wonderland known as "Wacky Willy's" went out of business several years ago. It was sort of like Archie McPhee's for Maker types. Are there other similar places that I can take my budding geek 12-year-old that are similar to Wacky Willy's?

We have enjoyed the new Powell's Technical book annex, and will be visiting OMSI next week.
posted by craniac to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (8 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I was going to say Boeing Surplus but I see they are also closed.
posted by cda at 8:43 AM on December 22, 2011

Surplus Gizmos out in Hillsboro. Also, I've heard (but have not personally verified) that the Wacky Willy's guy opens a storage shed or something occasionally to sell off stuff. I'm also told that he can be found and/or reached through the Tektronix vintage museum on Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway. If you'd been here a couple of days ago, you could have come to the Monday night DorkbotPDX meeting, but I think we're skipping the next meeting.
posted by spacewrench at 8:44 AM on December 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

It depends on how long you'll be visiting there, but maybe checking out some of the classes offered over at ADX? Also, not exactly surplus, but check out URS Electronics. Especially if you need something specific. They're pretty stocked, and an excellent place to visit (not to linger though).

Also, not exactly the type of nerdy fun you mention, but no nerd-stop in Portland is complete without an afternoon visit to Ground Kontrol.
posted by furnace.heart at 8:54 AM on December 22, 2011

Try Fry's! If you're lucky this one's themed like the rest of the Fry's stores.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 10:55 AM on December 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

I vaguely remember...

ah yes. Stuff.
posted by mephron at 2:43 PM on December 22, 2011

Try Fry's! If you're lucky this one's themed like the rest of the Fry's stores.

Fry's is a great store for all types of electronics, but it hasn't had a 'theme' since it was Incredible Universe.
It's also a great place to visit if you'd like to spend some Xmas $$$.

You could always stop in to Free Geek if you want to look for odds and ends of computer parts, or just kill some time.
posted by nickthetourist at 6:33 PM on December 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

The Spruce Goose, a Blackbird SR-71, and a B-17 are an hour away in McMinnville. Be sure to watch this 7 minute video to whet ur appetite for the SR-71. (There's also a waterpark there).

Ride the Tram, $4 roundtrip:

Here's a list:

If you go to powell's tech books, be sure to catch their mini-museum of old home computers.

And if you go to Fry's, might consider the Family Fun Center next door:
posted by at at 10:40 AM on December 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

Not true, Nick! The latest Fry's stores built in California all have themes. The latest one was Atlantis and that was built in the mid 2000s! I got kicked out for trying to take pictures of their fish tank pillars...

AT beat me to it -- I was also gonna say that there was a Family Fun Center next door. They seem to go hand in hand with Fry's.. Not sure why.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 8:40 AM on December 27, 2011

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