The Evergreen Wings & Waves Waterpark in McMinnville has 10 waterslides, a wave pool and a museum. (Photo credit: Sionnie Lafollette)
Bring your little ones to the Oregon Zoo, which is opening a new education center. (Photo credit: Carli Davidson / Oregon Zoo)
Explore the Old West with a road trip to the Thomas Condon Paleontology Center and The Painted Hills near the town of Mitchell. (Photo credit: National Park Service)

You made 25 valentines for your son’s class and cut out shamrocks for your daughter’s St. Patrick’s Day Party. It’s no wonder you haven’t given a thought to Spring Break. Luckily, Oregon has great getaways on the fly. Here are some last-minute ideas for fun escapes around the state.

Willamette Valley Wings and Waves

Let’s just start with the epic waterslide at Wings & Waves Waterpark at Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum: it’s three-stories high, starts on the roof in a real 747 jet and spirals down into the indoor heated pool. There are nine other waterslides (some toddler-sized), a wave pool and a hands-on science museum. You might not get any further than this mind-blowing fun for kids, but if you do, the space museum is right next door. Check out Howard Hughes’ enormous and legendary Spruce Goose, walk inside a fully restored B-17 bomber or explore a Mercury Space Capsule from the early days of America’s space program. Don’t miss the 3D theater and space-themed playground.

Explore Portland

Families love Portland. Admire the gardens at the International Rose Test Garden, Lan Su Chinese Garden, Pittock Mansion and the Portland Japanese Garden. Or immerse your kids in knowledge at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), Oregon History Museum and the Portland Art Museum. The Oregon Zoo is unveiling a brand new education center, and you’ll get great mileage by combining it with visits to the Portland Children’s Museum and World Forestry Center — they all share the same parking lot (and MAX stop) in Washington Park.

Old West Road Trip

Explore the Old West, the Oregon Trail and the Native American culture of Eastern Oregon with a spring break road trip that begins in The Dalles and ends at the Painted Hills. Visit the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center in The Dalles and the SAGE Center in Boardman. In Pendleton, don’t miss the Round Up Hall of Fame, the Umatilla County Heritage Station and the Tamastslikt Cultural Institute. In Baker City, visit the National Historic Oregon Trail Center and make sure to stay for the real pioneer dutch oven lunch. See the Kam Wah Chung State Heritage Site in John Day for a look into Oregon’s Chinese-American past. Complete your trip with a stop at the Thomas Condon Paleontology Center and the Painted Hills near the town of Mitchell.

Sunny Central Oregon

Take a guided snowshoe tour at Mt. Bachelor with a U.S. Forest Service ranger and learn about the natural history of the area, or consider sunny spring skiing on the mountain. Ski-and-stay offers at Sunriver Resort, the Riverhouse in Bend and Black Butte Ranch sweeten the deal. Or check out Tetherow Resort. Ranked the 54th Golf Course in America by Golf Digest, it also has great access to mountain biking trails and downtown Bend.

Farm-Friendly Fun

There’s farm for the whole family when you travel one of the Oregon Farm Loops — Farmlandia, Molalla Country Farm Loop and Canby Farm Loop. You can see rare heritage breeds of ducks, pigs and cows at Boondockers, learn about elk from the experts at Rosse Posse Elk Ranch and view spring lambs at SuDan Farm. Enjoy homemade goods from Fir Point Farms, tour Bob’s Red Mill and pick up farm fresh goods at Our Table Cooperative. Spend the week at Luscher Farm’s Spring Break Farm Camp in Lake Oswego, where young campers can participate in arts and crafts activities, songs and games while exploring the farm.

about author Eileen Garvin

Eileen Garvin lives and writes in Hood River. When she’s not hunched over her keyboard or digging in the garden, you can find her mountain biking, kiteboarding, hiking, skiing or camping somewhere in Oregon.

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