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I love Children’s Museums. Anything that can help my kids learn in a fun way is a plus in my eyes. And if I can add some education into a vacation- even bigger bonus! That is why I was so excited to visit the OMSI in Portland during our vacation at the end of June. (Read all about our vacation and how it went down the toilet HERE). Today I want to share with you all about the OMSI and 5 reasons why you should add it to your itinerary when you visit Portland. (While I am not sure that the OMSI classifies itself as a children’s museum, I am going to use that term in this post.)
Disclosure: I received 2 passes to the OMSI in order to review the museum for you. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.
The Oregon Museum of Science & Industry (OMSI) Is located on the banks of the Willamette river in the Eastside of Portland in an industrial neighborhood. It is easy to find via street signs or GPS. We had no problem finding it, even though we were in a rental car, and without our GPS for the day.
We arrived at the OMSI about 20 minutes before it opened and parked and unloaded our stroller and kids. There was already a short line, but nothing too unmanageable. One thing to note, when you park at the OMSI, you will need to pay $5 for parking, but you pay inside the OMSI, so make a note of your parking space number so you can pay when you purchase your addmission.
Upon opening, we headed inside and picked up our tickets and purchased the one for the Goof and paid for parking. We were given wrist bands to note what kind of admission we had (you can purchase regular admission, or admission to special exhibits, etc). From there, we could choose to enter the different exhibit areas.
The OMSI is really big. You could easily spend an entire day there and not do everything. So if you will be in the area for a while, or if you are local, I highly suggest getting a membership.
(Now, here is where I make a confession- with the vacation disasters from the day before, I did not remember to grab my DSLR and bring it to the OMSI with us, so my cell phone was all I had. I apologize for the lack of amazing pictures.)
I was quite impressed with the OMSI, and honestly, I could probably write several posts about it…but you don’t need to know every single detail. If I did that there would be no reason for you to go right? Well, I won’t write a bunch of articles on it, but today I am going to share with you 5 reasons to visit the OMSI the next time you are in Portland.
5 Reasons to Visit The OMSI
- There is something for EVERYONE! Not kidding. You know how some Children’s Museums are geared more towards 9-12 year olds, while others are geared more towards 4-8 year olds? It seems that a lot of times they are either very scientific with concepts that are for older kids, or they are more play based and for younger kids. Well, not the OMSI. There is seriously stuff for EVERYONE here. From my 15 month old twins, to my 6 year old, to tweens and teens, and yes, even to adults. There was something for each of us. There was a separate infant area that was perfectly safe for my twins, and does not allow older kids in so I didn’t have to worry about other kids plowing over them. The infant area is inside of another play area feared for kids about 3-8 years of age (though I don’t know if there are actually age limits). This was by far our families favorite area. I loved that it was closed off with doors and had someone posted at the front. It helped me feel like kids wouldn’t be as tempted to run out without parents, or that others wouldn’t be in there without kids. On top of that, there were different exhibits with everything from robotics, to earthquake houses, and so much more. Through out the museum there were brain teasers, some which even had me scratching my head to figure them out.
- They have stations with actual people there to help you learn. We have been to several Children’s Museums that have all these neat displays, but that is it. You are left to read signs and try and figure things out on your own. At the OMSI, they had the normal displays with signs, but they also had several stations with volunteers who explained how things worked. They also had stations set up with things like real-life angry birds, and the volunteers there would explain the physics of the game. It was really cool to have actual people teaching us about the different exhibits, rather than hoping we could get everything from a sign. Don’t get me wrong, there was plenty of open, self-guided exploration if that is your thing, but I liked having a mixture of both.
- The OMSI shows that learning can be fun. Kids need to know that learning can be fun. The OMSI is hands on and it helps kids see that what they learn in school has a place in every day life. It offers challenges, games, and more. All showing how fun learning can be. It is perfect for children who learn with more hands on activities that they may not get in the classroom.
- The OMSI is always changing. While some exhibits are constant, the OMSI has exhibits that come for a short period of time, so you can visit over and over again. Great for locals or those who visit the area often. During our visit, the OMSI had a new exhibit that is there for the rest of the year. Journey To Space. So while your children can re-visit their favorites, they can also check out the new exhibits.
- They are giving away a trip to Mission Control! You know how I just mentioned the OMSI having a new exhibit called Journey To Space? Well, as part of that exhibit (or maybe in celebration of) the OMSI is giving away a trip to NASA’s Space Center Houston Mission Control. While you technically don’t HAVE to visit the OMSI to enter, the ways to enter while at the OMSI are a heck of a lot more fun. (FYI- The giveaway is open to new entries until August 31, 2016. You can find all the official rules by CLICKING HERE.)
Even though our vacation had hit some major bumps in the road, the OMSI was the perfect distraction from everything that had gone wrong. The Goof gave it two big thumbs up. If you are a local, I strongly suggest getting a membership. If you are ever visiting Portland, I would definitely add this to your “must visit” list.
Have you been to the OMSI? What is your favorite part? Share in the comments below.