Sellwood Park

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Playstructure at Sellwood ParkWhat’s to Love: As far as I’m concerned, this is the crown jewel of far-southeast Portland. We ride our bikes to this park all the time, and it’s my son’s favorite park. I love many Portland parks, but Sellwood is my favorite as well. This park has an one of the nicest public swimming pools with a great section for toddlers and beginning swimmers. The play structures at the park are practically in new condition with a nice structure for early walkers. There are plenty of monkey bars, swings and slides to keep big kids interested.

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Oaks Amusement Park

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What’s to Love: In 2005, Oaks celebrated its 100th consecutive year in operation making it the oldest amusement park in the country (source)! While impressive, that’s not the reason to bring you kids here. The reason to bring your kids here is that it’s a great time! Your money supports a local Portland institution, AND the park has perfect rides for every age group. For a small amusement park, they have a decent variety of rides.

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Kelley Point Park

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Kelley Point Park Green SpaceWhat’s to Love:  Located right at the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers, Kelley Point is the northernmost park in Portland.  In my opinion, Kelley Point Park is one of the more interesting outdoor destinations in Portland – as far as parks go.  When cruising along the beautifully forested, paved bike paths, you’ll catch glimpses of the beach, river and large green spaces.  This perfectly serene moment will most likely be sabotaged by a giant, cargo ship’s unmistakable hum – a loud, foreboding hum!  The ship’s horn might give a blast, and you will start to see (and smell) all the industrialization – the chemical plants, acres and acres of new cars, massive cranes, loading and unloading stations, etc.  The reality here is that Kelley Point Park is ground-zero for shipping and receiving via the Columbia River.

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Abernethy – Playground

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What’s to Love: This is the playground of Abernethy school, which is located in the heart of Ladd’s Addition. This is a very nice, family friendly place in Portland. Although the houses are out of range for most people, the neighborhood has a good, down-to-earth vibe. There are two very nice play structures – one for toddlers and a second for older kids. Both offer some excellent options to improve motor skills, sharpen footwork, and build strong bodies. They are very clean, safe (relatively speaking) and well kept.

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Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge – Hiking Loop

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What’s to Love: A great 2 mile loop-hike right in the heart of the Westmoreland area, and right in the heart of a beautiful Wildlife Refuge. Many hard-working people have transformed this entire wetland into a wonderful destination for hiking, biking, bird watching and exploring. For the most part, it is now very clean and safe. Historically, that has not always been the case (see Caveats).

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Tryon Creek State Park

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What’s to Love: The fact that Tryon Creek State Park exists is practically a miracle. It’s hard to imagine a state park existing within an urban setting. The actual miracle is that Tryon Creek is a still a healthy stream with migrating fish, which helps support an abundance of wildlife. Visitors are encouraged to learn more about the history of Tryon through various exhibits inside the visitor’s center, which also offers a plethora of activities for keeping kids busy.

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Cannon Trail – Forest Park

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What’s to Love: Cannon Trail is a *relatively* new trail in the Forest Park trail system. In my opinion, building this trail was very smart. The building of Cannon Trail helped eliminate the need to use many existing, rogue trails that cut through sensitive areas on a steep hillside. The trailhead is located off Germantown road either at Leif Erickson or the Wildwood trail parking lots.  If you’re looking for a hike with a bit less traffic, this hike fits the bill. 

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Lower Macleay Loop Hike

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Lower Macleay Parking AreaWhat’s to Love:  I have hiked all 30 miles of the Wildwood trail, as well as most of the peripheral trails throughout Forest Park.  Therefore, I feel I’m in a pretty good position to expound on this incredible natural resource.  Whether you’re trail running, pushing a jogging stroller, wandering aimlessly, or hiking with friends, Forest Park has a hiking option that’s just right for your family.  This article focuses on a 2 mile loop-hike starting at Lower Macleay park that is a great option for families with small children.

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