The clouds have finally parted for school-aged children around the state—Spring Break is here! There are countless options to do with the family, from the coast to the desert, for toddlers, teens and grandparents—gamble at an Old West saloon, take a picnic to the coast and watch the gray whale migration, sort through precious gems.

There’s fun to be had around that state and it’s educational, but don’t worry, we won’t tell.

Peek into the seedy underbelly of the Wild West at the Sin in the Sage Brush exhibit at Central Oregon’s High Desert Museum. Get a firsthand account on how the barkeepers and “working women” of the Old West saloons survived; and see how well you fare amongst the sordid cheaters at the roulette or poker tables. Looking for something a little less seedy? Follow an adventure map to find hidden treasures. Play like a wild animal at the Dig, Craw and Climb exhibit where kids shoot down rock slides, swing from a spider’s web and crawl through an owl’s hole. See resident wildlife such as wild cats, otters, lizards, scorpions and snakes (oh my!), just a few of the creatures you’ll find here. There is no shortage of activities for all at this natural history museum.

March marks the beginning of spring season whale watching (gray whales to be exact), with majority of traffic occurring at the end of the month—just in time for spring break. Head to the Oregon Coast and post-up on a towering coastal bluff for a front-row view of the action. From Ecola State Park to Brookings, there are 28 prime spots to catch the migration. Settle in with a picnic and be sure to bring along extra binoculars; you’ll want to look out for blowing spouts, diving tails or a breaching whale leap from the sea. To get more information about the migration, visit Depoe Bay’s Whale Watching Center.

Even in the city you can get your hands dirty. Just a few miles from downtown Portland and covering over 5,000 acres, Forest Park is unlike any other urban park. The Forest Park Conservancy hosts a number of programs that help to keep the trails and natural habitat of the park enjoyable and healthy; this is a great spot for the budding botanist in the family or anyone who likes to romp in the woods. Pull invasive species like ivy, help plant a tree or explore the habitat on a guided hike.

Discover natural wonders at the Rice NW Museum of Rocks and Minerals. Their collection includes crystallized minerals, colorful copper, quartz and gypsum and rare gem crystals like emerald, ruby and aquamarine. Before you go, be sure to check out Grant McOmie’s recent trip to the museum.

Make science fun at Ashland’s Science Works Hands-On Museum. This museum is home to state-of-the-art interactive exhibits and currently offers a glimpse into Chinese art, culture, science, and language through the Connect with China exhibit.

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These maps and directions are for planning purposes only. You may find that construction projects, traffic, or other events may cause road conditions to differ from the map results. For travel options, weather and road conditions, visit, call 511 (in Oregon only), 800.977.6368 or 503.588.2941.

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  1. Name:Michael says…

    There are tons of FREE kids activities and educational information from environmental groups at the Energy Trust Better Living Show FREE Admission for the whole family.

    Written on March 20th, 2010 / Flag this Comment
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