Suggestions for a Two-Year-Old and an 80-Year-Old in Portland, OR today?
February 22, 2013 8:38 AM   Subscribe

My mom and grandfather are visiting Portland to see me and my two-year-old. We're planning to go to the zoo, but it looks like rain all day and we may decide it's too much. I'd love to have a backup plan, preferably indoors. My grandfather is 80, and while he still has a lot of physical stamina, he can't hear well when there's a lot of ambient noise. This rules out places like the Children's Museum and Playdate PDX. Any ideas of places where my toddler could be a toddler and the adults can hold a conversation?
posted by linettasky to Travel & Transportation around Portland, OR (14 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: And just like when you take your computer into the shop, two minutes later it hits me that this would be a great day to check out the new aquarium. But I'd love other suggestions.
posted by linettasky at 8:42 AM on February 22, 2013

Chinese Gardens downtown, depending on how exuberant your toddler is feeling.... And Powellsif you feel like hanging around the kids room? Just across the river by the Hawthorne bridge -- OMSI (maybe)?
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:46 AM on February 22, 2013

My parents are heading towards 80, and they're not really up to an all day event. As my sister puts it, "A thing and lunch."

So a Natural History Museum (Dinosaur bones are awesome at any age!) and then lunch at a nice, quiet place, followed by a nap for the kiddo and coffee and conversation for the grown-ups.

I too, love aquariums, so that might be a thing.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:46 AM on February 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

It's not a real exciting place to take your folks, but Papa's Pizza has a playroom for the kids and a separate relatively quiet dining area for the adults. When my boy was 2, he really liked it.
posted by elmay at 9:07 AM on February 22, 2013

It might be a little far, but the Evergreen Aviation Museum? I don't remember it being that loud, except for the area around the children's play section, which is a room within one of the hangers. And there were lots of areas to sit and look at airplanes. Also: Spruce Goose Juice!
posted by jetlagaddict at 9:34 AM on February 22, 2013

Finnegans Toys is a nice toy store. We took our daughter there several times when we visited Portland last summer. A nice bonus is there are a lot of food carts right across the street.
posted by Dansaman at 9:51 AM on February 22, 2013

Checked with the wife:

Evergreen is expensive and a bit of a haul, time it for naps, but fits the bill, we have taken ours when she was not quite 2 and she liked it.
The aquarium is CRAZY busy, and a drive. Put it in the category of the Childrens museum for noise.
OMSI will be busy as pants today - friday, raining, but you can go from room to room so you can leave when a room gets too nuts.
Munchkin playground may work, but it will be riddled with kids on a day like this, but it is reasonable on the days we've been as far as noise, kind of sit and watch the minions run wild thing.

Leaves us with: - Museum in Hillsborough, cool Hubble thing, probably not as busy as everything else. Also Hubble.
The Forestry Center, not going to be as busy, some kid entertainment stuff.

Hit up a Hopworks for lunch, kid play area is a god send.
posted by iamabot at 10:01 AM on February 22, 2013

OMSI could work, ditto for Hopworks.

Other options:

Multnomah Village has Thinker Toys toy store, Annie Bloom's Bookstore (with kid-friendly section), Fat City Cafe, Down to Earth Cafe, or Marco's Cafe.

Garden Home has Old Market Pub (my friends with toddlers swear by the place - has play area, and should be relatively quiet at lunch).
posted by sazanka at 10:28 AM on February 22, 2013

Seconding OMSI!
posted by Specklet at 10:57 AM on February 22, 2013

The Children's Museum can get really busy on rainy days it's true. But if it's a weekday morning, it probably won't be that bad. There are some quiet-ish spots to hang out too, if it's crowded. The baby's garden is usually pretty quiet. The tree-house has a story time area that's usually pretty quiet. There's also a quiet nursing room that he can certainly ask to rest in if the noise starts really bothering him. /former children's museum employee
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:07 AM on February 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

If it isn't raining that hard, the rose and Japanese gardens.
posted by brujita at 11:49 AM on February 22, 2013

I don't think iamabot's recommendation of the Washington County Museum is very good -- I would not take my toddler there, they're still working on moving into that space and there are tons of things that a little one could get into (in a bad way), and there's no place for older ones to sit (and psst, it's Hillsboro, not Hillsborough).

BUT, right directly underneath it is Outdoors In, which is an indoor playground that does not get too crazy or loud, and there is a little dining area where the adults can sit and eat lunch that you brought from home or bought at any of the decent restaurants nearby : Jasmine Thai is right there, and a couple blocks away there is truly great sushi (Syun) or pizza (Earth Oven, where we had a MeFi meetup not too long ago). And a Starbucks right next door if you just want something quick and/or caffeinated. It does have a small entrance fee, and they are closed noon-2, but it's another option, and it ticks all your boxes.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 12:13 PM on February 22, 2013

Response by poster: Thank you all. We ended up at OMSI, which was fantastic - my brothers, who are in their early 20s, were along, so we did the Mythbusters exhibit. Then my kid & my brother hung out in the Science Playground while the rest of us enjoyed a leisurely exploration of the museum.

(Plus lunch at Laughing Planet, aka the dinosaur restaurant.)

But I'll be hanging onto this list for later. I wish so hard that we had a natural history museum...
posted by linettasky at 1:48 PM on February 22, 2013

Next time try the Portland Art Museum.
posted by togdon at 6:42 PM on February 22, 2013

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