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Out of This World
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Space Training Center at Out of this WorldWhat’s to Love: Awesome indoor playpark! When I’m out investigating businesses that bill themselves as “family friendly,” it’s obvious that the majority of these businesses have good intentions. However, all too often, I’ve discovered the list of caveats to be as long as the list of good intentions. For example, your kids may have a great time somewhere, but exorbitant costs come close to driving you into bankruptcy! It’s definitely hard to find a place with high marks in a wide variety of areas (e.g., decent food, fair prices, accessibility, plenty of options for fun, low stress, etc.). Well, I’m happy to report that “Out of This World” owners Don and Linda Milford used their good intentions wisely, and absolutely nailed the indoor playpark concept!  This is without a doubt the best multi-use, indoor playpark in the greater Portland area. Here is why…

Seating area at Out of this WorldOut of This World is a HUGE, indoor playpark featuring one of the largest playstructures I’ve ever seen anywhere. The entire place is super clean with plenty of space for your kids to roam freely. Since the business just opened on March 15th, 2008, everything is practically brand new. Their website states, “We wanted a fun, safe and secure environment for our children. We wanted to have a wide variety of play options. We sought activities that address both a healthy body and healthy mind and provide play for children of different ages and with different interests. It was important to us that we were comfortable while our children played.” They definitely succeeded in their goal!

Rock Climbing Wall at Out of this WorldOne of the nicest features is how the playpark is divided into sections for kids of differing age groups. As a parent, you can sit comfortably (on nice leather couches!) in the “under 2” section watching your toddler climb on foam shapes. At the same time, you’re resting easy knowing that your older kids are having a blast jumping in the inflatable play structure, riding push cars, climbing on the bouldering wall, or playing in the incredible “Space Training Center” (that’s what they call the giant playstructure).

Seating area for parentsThe Space Training Center is three stories tall with two, 23-foot-tall, corkscrew slides, and two other slides for younger kids. The structure even has a timer on each side, so kids can race if so inclined. Your kids will have plenty of time to climb and explore this giant funhouse. The pathways are enclosed with mesh-netting, so you’ll know they are safe during their outer-space explorations. Also, indoor playstructures are often brutal to parents’ knees – not this one!  The climbing platforms are nicely padded, and the entire structure is spotless.

Indoor race track at Out of This WorldMy son is a big climber, so it surprised me a bit when he became so fascinated with the push-bikes. These are little cars where the kids steer and propel themselves with their own leg power. There is plenty of room for them to circle round and round. However, keep an eye on your kids while they are doing this activity – this is the activity with the highest probability for conflicts. My son had a short-lived tug-of-war for a car, but parents and their staff members were monitoring the track.

Kiddie slides at Out of This WorldThere are two inflatable playstructures strategically placed to keep younger kids and older kids separated. For the most part, this strategy of trying to keep kids separated by different age groups works very well. By the smaller inflatable playstructure, there is a small, plastic playhouse with a play grocery-checkout area. When the kids got tired, they retired to this area and called it their “secret fort.”

Inflatable jumping area at Out of This WorldFinally, how many places will let you (parents) in for free, and give your kids UNLIMITED play for $5.00 – $7.00 each? There are no video games, televisions, electronics, arcade games, etc. In this case, that’s a very good thing – the focus at Out of This World is on physical play, which is just what most kids (and parents!) need these days.  Here is a 2 minute video clip:

Caveats:  We visited with two 4 year old kids, and for the most part, we let them go off on their own. Every 5 – 10 minutes, we’d check-in with them. While the playstructures are safe, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your kids, especially younger kids who might get pushed aside.  They have a staff member on the floor and security; however, parents need to be attentive and help out monitoring the kids – it’s a big place.  

Website: Out of This World

Distance from Portland: It’s about 15 miles from downtown Portland. Every time I paste their address in Google Maps, I get the wrong location!  Yahoo’s mapping feature works fine.  Here is a link to the directions on their website.

Recommended Ages:  Infants, toddlers and pre-teens will all have a great time at Out of this World!  Teens will have fun with younger siblings.  See “Family Fun Factor” for more information.

Parental Stress Factor: Amazingly low for a place like this! Parents, bring some friends, and you’ll actually be able to sit and have a conversation…no kidding!!! It seems like we’re always going places with friends, and we just don’t get a chance to talk, because our kids are literally on top of us. Here, you can take a seat on a comfortable leather sofa, and watch in amazement as you actually relax a bit.

Physical Difficulty: Parents – climbing in the Space Training playstructure can be difficult, if you’re not used to that type of activity.  Also, bouncing on the inflatable playstructures can get the heart rate moving quickly…be careful!  The building and restrooms are handicap accessible; however, the structures are not accessible.

Family Fun Factor: High! While the activities here are kid-centric, there will be plenty of opportunities for you to engage and have fun with your kids. I really liked the fact that I could play for a bit, then sit down and relax with our fellow parents and friends.

Pet Friendly: No pets.

Weather Considerations: Certainly, Out of This World is a year-round destination. However, this place is the IDEAL indoor activity for a wet and cold day!

Inflatable jumping area at Out of This WorldInsider Info: They sell “juice bags” for kids, which came in handy a couple of times. When you get there, my advice is to get a table for your family, order your pizza, and go play with your kids!

There is a private room (The Mother’s Room) by the leather couches for women who prefer privacy while breastfeeding. The room has one-way- glass, so moms can see out, but no one can see in…nice touch! Despite the private area, there were plenty of women breastfeeding while sitting on the couches. It’s obvious this business supports mothers’ rights, and provides a comfortable environment for the whole family.

Concerning busy and slow times: Don Milford states via email, ” Our busiest times are Saturday all day and Sunday from 1pm to 6pm. Fridays are getting busier during the dinner hour partially because we have a magician that goes table to table and entertains the guests compliments of Out of this World. Mondays are usually the slowest. On Tuesday we also offer an hour from 9am to 10am dedicated to children 5 and under so they can run around without the concerns of larger children.”

If you plan on visiting frequently, you may want to explore membership options.  The cost of membership depends on how many kids and/or guests you plan on covering.  Members receive free admission for one year, 10% off menu purchases and birthday parties, and a “member for a day” one-time-use-pass for neighbors, friends or family members from out of town.  Since rates change, please check their website for more information.

Pizza at Out of This WorldFamily Tips: With indoor play structures, I always prefer long pants and a long-sleeved shirts for kids. Make sure they have a pair of socks! It’s probably not a bad idea to bring an extra pair as well.

Since Out of This World serves food (the pizza was good!), you will not be able to bring in your own food. However, they will “…make exceptions for very small children and those with special dietary needs. Besides the juice bags, the business offers mixed fruit cups, mandarin orange cups and yogurts. For kids just starting on solids, snacks like cheerios or goldfish are fine.

For birthday parties, you can bring you own cake, or pay a modest $5 administration fee, and Out of This World will get a cake to your specifications delivered through Fred Meyer.  This will eliminate some of the stress around this very important factor in every birthday party.  Just show up knowing the cake is all set!

Technorati Tags: Out of This World, Hillsboro, indoor play park, playstructure, inflatable, jumping, family, space theme

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  1. Mom in MIlwaukie

    I was NOT happy with "OUT of This World" when I had my son's birthday party here. The staff was unorganized and I was told they didn't even have my cake. And that was in the middle of the party. The first item I had trouble swollowing was I was told AFTER I put a deposit down I was not allowed to bring in a homemade cake. This info at the time was never on their website. When I told them that I had to order a cake, they stated they could pick up a cake for me from COSCO, I agreed. HOwever, when we showed up at our table, there was no way all our guests were going to fit. The guy that "helped" us was never anybody I talked to, and when I paid for everything and was told money would be taken off my package, he said I no longer had a package. The cake was not the colors I asked for. I know I'm not the only one that day having trouble with them because I overheard the same guy arguing with another woman about taking tables away. I couldn't even finish a soda I paid for because when I went to the restroom before I got ready to leave, with family still at the table, it got thown away by the busser.

  2. mom in milwaukie

    You also might want to clarify above, you can not bring your own cake if it is not store bought.

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