: Alpaca Farm and Gardens

Family-Friendly Fun in the Tualatin Valley

Make memories this season with games, outdoor adventures and dining.
March 6, 2023

Spring in Oregon can be cloudy and rainy one day, warm and sunny the next. No matter the weather, Tualatin Valley offers amazing activities — indoors and out — that are fun for the whole family.

Photo courtesy of Langers Entertainment Center

Bowling, Laser Tag and Quarter-Free Pinball

If the forecast calls for wet weather, plan a family game day. Sherwood Langer’s Entertainment Center invites visitors to go bowling, climb a 46-foot rock wall or play a game of laser tag. Feeling energetic? Tackle 20 different obstacles on a ropes course, including a 56-foot climb to the top of the building to ring the Langer family’s dinner bell. Young kids will love the Timber Town Jungle Gym, and the whole crew will appreciate the on-site restaurant with family-friendly fare like pizza, burgers, milkshakes and salads.

Next Level Pinball Museum in Hillsboro has one of the largest pinball arcades in the country, with more than 400 different games. They’re all on free play, which means you can buy a day pass and leave the quarters at home. Play retro pinball games celebrating the Ghostbusters and Indiana Jones movies, as well as Hot Wheels, Lord of the Rings and the NBA. Arcade games include Donkey Kong, Pac-Man, Mario Bros and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Don’t miss air hockey, a photo booth and mini rides for toddlers. Check the events calendar for regular pinball tournaments.

Have a budding geologist in the family? Check out the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals. Housed inside a 1953 house listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, the museum displays meteorites, fossils, crystals and minerals under fluorescent light, as well as numerous other geological wonders. Visit the website for family-friendly guided tours and volunteer opportunities.

Families can reserve a bowling lane at KingPins Family Entertainment Center in Beaverton. After your game, play laser tag in a 3,800-square-foot, two-level arena. An arcade features 50 different games plus the comic animated VR experience “Virtual Rabbids,” suitable for all ages. Hungry? Order some corn-dog bites and mac and cheese, build your own pizza, or enjoy a Caesar salad and a burger and brew.

Cooper Mountain Nature Park, photo courtesy of Metro

Zip Through the Canopy and Paddle the River

Ready to get outside? Schedule a two-hour canopy tour with Pumpkin Ridge Zip Tour (kids must be 8 or older), which features seven zip lines and two suspension bridges that take you up to 120 feet up in the air. Once outfitted with hard hats and gloves, you’ll sail through the trees and over water. Tour guides offer fun facts about ecology and the spectacular conifers and deciduous species all around you. 

At Cooper Mountain Nature Park in Beaverton, energetic little ones will adore scrambling over boulders and up a forested hill, playing in the sand pit, and climbing up the slide and other structures. Pack a picnic to enjoy while you explore 3.5 miles of trails through conifer forests, white-oak woodlands and a small prairie. Keep an eye out for rough-skinned newts, Western fence lizards, Townsend’s chipmunks and American kestrels.

Depending on conditions, spring can also be a great time to get out on the water. Pack a picnic, then head for Brown’s Ferry Park in Tualatin to rent kayaks, canoes and life vests from Alder Creek Kayak, Canoe, Raft & SUP. Kids under 18 must be accompanied by an adult, and you must be at least 12 to paddle your own watercraft. Explore the Tualatin River, then wander paths along the creek and pond to check out interpretive signage about the region’s history and nature. A wildlife-viewing blind offers the perfect spot to spy a bald eagle, great blue heron or snowy egret.

Photo courtesy of Fat Milo’s Family Kitchen

Nosh on Belgian waffles and Ice Cream Sundaes

Crowd-pleasing dining abounds in Tualatin Valley. In Hillsboro visit Amelia’s Rustic Mexican Restaurant for enchiladas, tamales, burritos and street tacos. Don’t miss the traditional dishes including bistec arriero and cochinita pibil. Also in Hillsboro Copper River Restaurant and Bar serves up homemade corn fritters and doughnuts, plus soups, salads and burgers. A kids’ menu includes chicken strips, French fries, PBJ and ice cream sundaes. Fat Milo’s Family Kitchen in Sherwood offers biscuits and gravy and Belgian waffles, lunchtime burgers and sandwiches, and a kids’ menu complete with soft-serve ice cream. You can also pick up a family-style dinner, fully cooked and ready to heat up in your hotel or other accommodation.

Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, photo by Robbie McClaran

Where to Stay

Pack your swimsuits for Staybridge Suites Hillsboro North, where kids and parents can unwind from the day in the heated pool, then savor light snacks, juice, wine and beer at an evening reception Monday through Wednesday. Hampton Inn Sherwood is a perfect spot for hiking enthusiasts. Grab a Western omelet or make your own waffle at the complimentary hot breakfast, then drive 2 miles to the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, where you can explore 3 miles of nature trails. Love animals? Book a farm stay at Alpaca Farm and Gardens 8 miles south of Hillsboro. Families can feed the resident alpacas by hand, then roast s’mores around a fire pit.

About The

Melissa Hart
Melissa Hart is the author of two STEM-related kids' novels--Avenging the Owl and Daisy Woodworm Changes the World. Her nonfiction has appeared in The New York Times, Smithsonian, CNN, National Geographic Kids, and other publications. She enjoys long-distance running and cycling, kayaking, hiking and taking pictures of Oregon's fascinating fungi and lichen. You can learn more at melissahart.com.

Trip Ideas