Tag Archives: family fun

Portland Aquarium

The new Portland Aquarium has lots of people talking. With it’s many exhibits of amazing marine life, you’d think  that would be enough to keep everyone’s interest, but Portland Aquarium takes the experience even further by offering many other activities for families. From story time with mermaids, to summer camps and ‘Sleep With the Sharks’ over-nighters, they certainly have plenty to for kids and families to take part in!

Yellow Tang, photo credit: Wikipedia

Yellow Tang, photo credit: Wikipedia

Open 365 Days A Year

Sunday – Thursday 10am – 7pm
Friday – Saturday 10am – 8pm

General Admission

 Children under 2……………………. FREE

Children 2-11 ……………………….. $7.95

Ages 12 and up ……………………. $10.95

Senior (55+)/Military …………… $9.95

Fun For Pennies Tips:

  • If you head there on the first Tuesday of the month, beginning 6/4/13, admission is only $5 per person! Children under 2 are still free.
  • The Portland Aquarium offers 50% off  children’s admission on weekdays, if they bring in a colored drawing. Why not have them draw what they think will be at the aquarium, then have them compare to the real thing?
  • If you are a foster parent, Portland Aquarium offers free admission for foster children. Just be sure to bring state issued I.D.
Crown of Thorns, photo credit: Wikipedia
Crown of Thorns, photo credit: Wikipedia

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

So it looks like we are stuck with this rain for a bit…. SURPRISE, OREGONIANS! Oh, wait, no, we’re not shocked at all. I don’t know about you, but I might still be just a wee bit unprepared….I was so ready for summer!


Enter my Rainy Days Pinterest ideas board! Chock full of ideas other people came up with to keep your lil ones busy and cabin-fever free. ( You will have to figure out your own game plan for sanity for yourself, however. Sorry, we can’t do ALL the work!)

Here’s some of my favorite ideas, by age:

babies/toddlers: Punch holes in the top of a LARGE cardboard box, push christmas lights through holes. Throw in some pillows, cozy blankets, favorite stuffed animals, and some books, and TA-DA! Insta-toddler hide-away!

Art: Tape mini markers or fat crayons to the back of toy cars, lay out lots of paper, and let them “drive and draw”. This is super fun and makes for really cute colorings.

School Age Kiddos: My boys, who are 12 and 8, LOVELOVELOVE science experiments, kits, and projects. HERE  is a great site with  plenty of different science experiments for kids. Our favorite is the ol’ stand-by of vinegar and baking soda. My youngest, Henry, likes to turn my kitchen sink into his “lab area” with jars and cups and pitchers of baking soda, vinegar, and  food coloring. Then he spends hours mixing and stirring and “blowing stuff up”.

Of course, rainy days are also good for the classic soda and mentos explosion. Test out how different kinds of sodas react differently to the mentos. Which ones explode more? Which ones just fizzle out? Make sure to do this outside, as it is quite messy, and when you are all done, the rain will just wash it all away!

Another favorite for this age group – so easy and you wouldn’t BELIEVE how long it entertains them! Take a large dish ( baking dish, large shallow bowl, etc) ad warm water and a bit of dish soap. Give kids straws and tell them to blow. See how high they can make

Bubble Tower Science Project
Bubble Tower Science Project

the tower of bubbles before it collapses,  test it out with cold water to see if it works as well, ad other ingredients like sugar, salt, baking soda, etc, just to see what happens, Have them form theories about why it reacts the way it does. Then have them blow more bubble towers. It is simple, enchanting fun at it’s best!

Older kids: Pre-teens, with their newly developed sense of privacy, will love the Invisible Ink project. All you need is stuff you probably already have;

  • Half a lemon
  • Water
  • Spoon
  • Bowl
  • Cotton bud
  • White paper
  • Lamp or other light bulb

 Follow the directions on the site and they can create secret messages to give to their friends!

Art: you can tie die shirts, curtains, or anything else that mom approves of, with sharpie markers and rubbing alcohol. Click HERE for directions.

For even more ideas, here’ s the link to my Rainy Days Pinterest page again. And, if all else, fails, boot up the kiddos and go puddle jumpin’! Might not be the warmest, cleanest, or most convenient way to have fun, but they will have a blast, and I guarantee they will remember it forever!

In the meantime, I hope everyone holds tight to their sanity, and don’t worry, the sun will be back! I think. 🙂 In the meantime, keep an eye out for rainbows!

My son admiring a rainbow after a big spring storm

OMSI. Go Ahead. Geek out on science!

OMSI is a great destination for some hands on learning fun. Their upcoming exhibit is the Mummies of the World exhibit, opening on June 14th. They have ongoing tours of their submarine, a state of the art planetarium, laser light shows, and the OMNIMAX theater. Tickets for these are sold separately.

Omsi Turbine Hall, Photo credit : Wikipedia
Omsi Turbine Hall, Photo credit : Wikipedia

The rest of the museum has five halls of(over 200) different  labs and exhibits. The Science Playground, The Earth Hall, The Turbine Hall, The Life Hall, and The Science Labs all exist for kids to experiment, explore, and test the world around them, in areas such as renewable energy, global climate, health and wellness, chemistry, engineering, technology, and more.  OMSI has even has the forethought to add a separate room for the toddler crowd.

Omsi Science Playground, photo credit : Wikipedia

Omsi Science Playground, photo credit : Wikipedia

OMSI SS-581 Submarine, photo credit: Wikipedia

OMSI SS-581 Submarine, photo credit: Wikipedia

                     Regular museum Admission ~ Submarine ~  OMNIMAX® ~ Planetarium / Laser light

Adult $12.00 $5.75 $6.00 – $8.50 $5.75 – $7.50
Youth (3-13) $9.00 $5.75 $5.00 – $6.50 $5.75 – $7.50
Senior (63+) $9.00 $5.75 $5.00 – $6.50 $5.75 – $7.50
Member (Join OMSI) FREE! $4.75 $4.00 – $7.50 $4.75 – $7.50

OMSI is another one of those great places that can, and probably will, take you all day, and you STILL won’t be able to see or do everything. If you and the kids really enjoyed it, I highly suggest buying the membership pass. Then you can come back again and again! Also, you get amazing discounts on admissions to all OMSI features and exhibits, AND it’s considered a charitable donation on your taxes, to boot! Definitely worth the money!

Fun For Pennies tips:

  • OMSI discount Sundays are the first Sunday of each month. Regular museum admission for each individual is just $2! Admission for additional features such as OMNIMAX, planetarium, featured exhibits, and submarine tour, are separate, but also sold at a discount on the first Sunday discount day. A great time to spend the day checking out all that OMSI has to offer before buying a family membership!
  • This is also another one of those wonderful places that allow you to bring your own food and drink in. Pack in a cooler with good foods for lunch and snacks, store it in one of their lockers provided ( for an extra small fee) and save some money! Or, you can hit up their cafe if you prefer not to bring your own.

UP NEXT: Portland Aquarium!

*( featured photo front of OMSI building. credit: Wikipedia)

Portland Children’s Museum – great for too rainy, or too hot, days!

The Portland Children’s Museum is a wonderful, interactive museum of exploration and learning for the younger crowd, ages 10 months – 10 years. With creative and hands- on activities from painting, to puppet shows, to making music, to  dress up, to building inventions, there is plenty to keep little bodies, hands,  and minds occupied and busy! Exhibits do change from time to time ( photo below is from their Sesame Street Exhibit), so check the Children’s Museum site frequently for updates. Starting May 25th they will have  an Exhibit called ” Dinosaurs: Land of Fire and Ice”.

Portland Children's Museum entrance. The Child...
Portland Children’s Museum entrance. The Children’s museum is located in Washington Park, Portland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Museum Hours from March 1st- Labor day are 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Admission Rates:

Under one: free

Ages 1-54: $10

ages 55 up and military: $9

There is a $4 parking fee per car.

Fun For Pennies Tip: 

  • The first Friday of every month is Free First Friday, with free admission for all , between the hours of 4 and 8 p.m. *( they stay open 3 hours past their normal business hours on this day)
  • Pack your own lunch and snacks, outside food it totally allowed! They do have some vending machines with limited healthy choices available.
  • YAY, COUPONS! $2 off admission ( good til 6/30/13) AND $15 off of Summer Camp Tuition ( good until 5/31/13)

Hours, admission, and discounts subject to change. Please check back on their site HERE frequently for updates and current info. Thanks!


Oregon Zoo for the win!

The Oregon Zoo is a great fun-filled place to take the whole family.  It’s best to plan to be there the whole day, especially if you want to see ALL the animals (as most children are as ambitious as that). Feel free to pack and bring your own lunch and snacks in a cooler, or you can buy food and refreshments there.

Photo of a Bald Eagle taken at the Toledo Zoo.
Photo of a Bald Eagle taken at the Toledo Zoo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Hours change seasonally, so check online  here for spring/fall/winter hours. Summer hours are below.

SUMMER HOURS ( May 25 –Sept 2nd) are 9 a.m. -6 p.m.

Admission rates:

Adults ( 12-64): $11.50

Children ( 3-11) : $8.50

Seniors( 65 and up): $10

2 and under are free

Parking is $4 per car.

My oldest son at the Oregon Zoo

*My oldest son at the Oregon Zoo* Don’t forget your camera! The zoo is a GREAT place to take pics!

Fun For Pennies Tips:

  • Use public transportation to get there, show your receipt at the window and get $1.50 off admission.
  •  If you visit the Oregon Zoo on the second Tuesday of each month, it’s only $4 admission!

BONUS FUN! Pick up a “Zoo Key” for only $2.50, and unlock the secrets of the zoo! Use your zoo key in the animal talk boxes located on the zoo grounds. You can learn more about bats, black bears, chimpanzees, bald eagles, elephants, giraffes, mandrills, mountain goats, naked mole rats, otters, penguins, polar bears, rhinos and zebras.  This is a great interactive way for kids to explore the zoo.

* Hours, admission prices, and discount days are all subject to change. Please check online HERE before your zoo trip!

( Tiger photo courtesy of Lawrence Jackson  through stock.xchng.com )        

NEXT UP: The Portland Children’s Museum