Oregon 2008 - Rainy Day Activities

Everybody looks to Grandpa to come up with something new and fun in whatever area we're visiting. I knew the Portland area has lots of stuff, but the weather wouldn't cooperate.

I wanted to visit the Hood River Valley and see the fruit trees in blossom, but there were snow warnings on all the roads, including I-84 that would get me to that part of Oregon.

We wanted to go to Tillamook to the cheese factory and have some ice cream. For the first time in years, there was snow at the coast. That also precluded a visit to McMinnville and the Spruce Goose.

When there's snow on the ground, that BMW (Big Mormon Wagon) just doesn't move.

I grew up in snow country and for the first 35 or so years of my life we lived in areas where winter driving included skid survival tricks. 30 years of living in San Jose has allowed me to see that it just isn't necessary to drive around on slippery roads. Not that I can't do it anymore, but it's mostly the other fellow who can't.

After looking at our options, We decided to take the kids to the "End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center", just a couple of miles away in Oregon City, but first we went shopping at the nearby Costco and had lunch. No snow and ample parking meant we could all travel together in the motorhome.

We've been to other interpretive centers before and this one didn't disappoint either. More than museums with cases of artifacts (they have a few of these too), the interpretive centers try to give people a feel for what the trip west cost, in terms of effort as well as money and even lives. The presentation was good, the film was great and it was well worth the price of admission. At the end, the kids got a chance to dip their own candles.

Here's Kenny, Robbie and Alex dipping candles.

We were only there a couple of hours, and they had more that we could do, but Zeke was missing his nap. We drove by a city park that allowed us to dump the tanks before proceeding back to the house. Zeke doesn't sleep well in the motorhome, especially when it's moving. Too much stimulation I guess.

The next day we were looking for other activities we could do. We considered the Oregon Zoo , but that's an outdoors activity, and definitely not for rainy days. The air museum at Online we discovered something called the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI).

Usually some museum with the word "industry" in the title spells instant boredom, especially for kids. But OMSI has a current exhibit of dinosaurs from China, so we opted to take the kids.

I figured parking would be difficult so we took Laurel's and Justin's cars. It meant we had to split up, but the parking situation was just as bad as I had feared. We had to park in their overflow lot and opted to walk the half-mile to the museum.

There was a huge line waiting to get in, so we counted heads and decided it wasn't much more expensive to buy a membership. With the package that we bought, everybody was covered and IMAX theater tickets were included.

The OMSI is located on the east bank of the Willamette river in downtown Portland. It was a good day as you can see from the pictures below:

Robbie and Kenny are dinosaurs
Ryan and Alex work on one of the many puzzles.
RoseMary tries to figure out one of the puzzles
Now it's Robbie and Ryan's turn.

We spent several hours at the museum and there was still stuff to see and do. This one's another keeper!

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