This January, you voted in our readers’ poll and shared your favorite people, places, and spaces around Portland. These are the places you voted as your favorite Kid-friendly Museum and Family Memberships. While their doors are temporarily closed, you can still experience some of what makes these museums special.

And since many of these Portland-area institutions are facing challenging times, we’ve also included ways you can help them if you are able to.

Chendra, Rose-Tu and Samudra in the Elephant Lands Pool at the Oregon Zoo. ©Oregon Zoo / photo by Kathy Street

WINNER: Oregon Zoo

There’s nowhere else in Portland quite like the Oregon Zoo. It’s our go-to spot in all seasons — from ZooLights, concerts on the lawn, Howloween and more. Whether it’s the first time we took our kids, or the last time we went, our phone is filled with the photos we took, and our heart is filled with memories made with our families and the amazing animal residents.


Programming During Closure: While we can’t physically go to the zoo, the Oregon Zoo is bringing their great programming to you. 

First, during Oregon Zoo Live Facebook events, you can go behind the scenes to meet animals with a presentation and talk by the animal care staff. You can even submit questions in real time through comments. After each live video, check their website for at-home activities, developed by their award-winning education team. 

We also love their great library of videos. Don’t miss Tiny Goat Visits and Just for Fauna, two series of shows that you can find on their Facebook page or YouTube channel.

How You Can Help: The Oregon Zoo has lost substantial revenue during the closure, and they are still feeding and providing excellent care for 2,500 animals representing more than 200 species. The animals are doing well, but the zoo needs public support to continue to care for the animals. You can support their daily operations through their Emergency Recovery Fund.


Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum

Programming During Closure: While the Evergreen Aviation and Space museum is closed, you can check out their video series with docents giving talks at different exhibits. The videos aren’t new, but if you have a little one who is missing the chance to see The Spruce Goose, check them out. 

How You Can Help: You can support the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum by making a donation

Oregon Museum of Science & Industry (OMSI)

Programming During Closure: While the museum’s doors are shuttered, take advantage of OMSI’s top-notch collection of at-home science activities. You’ll find videos from their educators and step-by-step experiments, and you can even watch past Science Pubs and Space Science presentations online. They also have a great FAQ section about COVID-19.

How You Can Help: You can support OMSI’s mission by donating online.

Portland Art Museum

Programming During Closure: While the lights are dark at the Portland Art Museum, they have uploaded virtual walk-throughs of their exhibits. If you didn’t get a chance to see the exhibit “Volcano! Mount St. Helen’s in Art,” you can tour it now to learn how artists throughout the ages have captured this iconic volcano.

How You Can Help: You can donate to the Portland Art Museum, and you can also support them by becoming a member, or renewing your membership. They will extend your membership through the closure. 

Portland Children’s Museum

Programming During Closure: Sign up for Portland Children’s Museum’s updates to receive their terrific new Museum At-Home e-newsletter. It has tips, links to articles, and fun at-home ideas. You can also follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more updates.

How You Can Help: You can help the Portland Museum with its mission to deliver Museum At-Home resources for all to enjoy by donating or becoming a member.

Portland Japanese Garden

Programming During Closure: Do you need a minute of serenity? Portland Japanese Garden is posting beautiful one-minute videos from their grounds on Facebook. They have also added virtual tours of garden spaces and videos on Japanese culture to their website. 

How You Can Help: You can support the Portland Japanese Garden by donating or buying a membership.


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