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 start with the epic water slide at the indoor Wings & Waves Waterpark: 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 water slides (some toddler-sized), a wave pool and a hands-on science museum. You might not get any farther than this mind-blowing fun for kids, but if you do, the Evergreen Aviation & 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 3-D theater and space-themed playground.
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 Historical Society 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 Pendleton Round-Up and Happy Canyon Hall of Fame, the Umatilla County Heritage Station and Tamástslikt Cultural Institute. In Baker City, visit the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive 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, Riverhouse on the Deschutes and Black Butte Ranch sweeten the deal. Or check out Tetherow Resort, where the golf course is ranked among the best courses in America by Golf Digest; it also has great access to mountain biking trails and downtown Bend.
There’s a farm for the whole family when you travel one of the Oregon Farm Loops: Farmlandia, Molalla, Marion and Canby farm loops. There’s so much to discover along these routes. You could learn about elk from the experts at Rosse Posse Elk Ranch, or 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.