The Portland area has quite the museum scene. But when you are taking your whole family for a museum outing, things can get a bit expensive. Enter: free and reduced admission days. Below you’ll find out the best times to visit some of Portland’s most popular kid-friendly museums if you’re on a budget.
The Historic Belmont Firehouse. Slide down a fire pole and “ride along” on an emergency ride in the back of a mock fire truck while learning about fire safety. Free and open to the public Wednesdays and the second Saturday of every month from 9 am to 3 pm. 900 SE 35th Ave. (at Belmont).
Oregon Historical Society. Always free for Multnomah County residents. The Oregon Historical Society’s permanent History Hub exhibit tells stories of the diverse people and events that have shaped Oregon history. The new Experience Oregon exhibit is a new, interactive area designed to engage third graders and above. 1200 SW Park Ave.
Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI). For a mere $2, you can wander this great museum the first Sunday of every month. Kids love the interactive areas in the Science Playground, and there is also an infant area. 1945 SE Water Ave.
Oregon Rail Heritage Center. This railroad museum near OMSI is free all the time, with three vintage engines and changing exhibits. It is open Thursday and Friday 1- 5 pm and Saturday and Sunday 12 – 5 pm. On Saturdays there are speeder train rides to Oaks Park (March through November), with departures on the hour from noon-5 pm. Train ride prices begin at $5 for kids. 2250 SE Water Ave.
Oregon Zoo. Admission is discounted on second Tuesday of each month from September through May. If you take public transportation, you get another $1.50 off. In the summer, instead of Second Tuesday deals, the zoo offers Twilight Tuesdays with reduced admission in the evening on select Tuesdays. 4001 SE Canyon Rd.
Portland Art Museum. Get arty from 5-8 pm every first Thursday of each month for free. The Museum also offers free admission and special family programming several times a year. Admission on Fridays after 5 is just $5. Kids 17 and under are always free. 1219 SW Park Ave.
Portland Children’s Museum. Enjoy the museum for just $4 per person between 9 am–noon every second Sunday of the month. Once you’re there, stay to play all day! 4015 SW Canyon Rd.
Washington County Museum. Snag free admission on Washington County Museum’s Family Day, held on the Second Saturday seasonally (check website). In addition to free admission, you’ll also get to try out a craft, hear a story, and more. 17677 NW Springville Rd., Portland, 97229.
Don’t forget your local library’s free passes to area museums and cultural institutions.