Photo courtesy FamVeld

After a mild warm fall, the cold, rainy — maybe even snowy?! — days of winter are officially upon us. And with several months to go until steady sunshine again, it’s important to find family-friendly activities outside, despite the forecast (there’s only so many times everyone can watch PAW Patrol: The Movie!) Here are five ways to embrace the gray days and enjoy the rain!

Update for 2021-22: If you head out, follow the CDC’s social distancing best practices. Double check information with the organizers since there may be changes at any time. 

Gear up

To properly appreciate the rain, fun gear for said rain is a must. Colorful rubber rain boots, like those sold at Black Wagon, will actually make your kid want to put on their shoes. And for even more waterproof protection, outfit them in rain pants or a rain suit. Let the puddle jumping commence! 

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Take a hike

Oxbow Regional Park, just outside of Portland, offers 12 miles of hiking trails, making the riverside park the perfect choose your own rainy-day adventure. Even better, many of the trails are sheltered by trees, so everyone won’t get soaked. Oxbow is also a great place to spot wildlife, including blue heron, bald eagles, foxes and more. 

Peek at the penguins

The rain doesn’t seem to bother the animals, so don’t let it get to you! Rainy days make a great time to visit the Oregon Zoo — there’s usually fewer people — so you and the family might get prime viewing of the new black rhino or be able to walk through the primate forest all to yourselves. Plus, there are a number of covered areas throughout the park. 

Stroll through gardens

Fall and winter in our city gardens are just as magical as during the summertime. So put on those colorful boots, and take a stroll through the Portland Japanese Garden or the Lan Su Chinese Garden. Both offer sheltered views of tranquil, manicured scenery. And once everyone has had their foliage fill, visit the tea houses at each garden for teas and treats. 

Explore a park

Portland Parks & Recreation hosts a weekly Ladybug Nature Walk geared specifically for littles ages 18 months to six years. Each kid is given a mini ladybug shaped-backpack with fun tools to explore their outdoor surroundings, including a magnifying lens, metal spoon, plastic bug box and more. Nature educators lead the one-hour walk and they take place in parks across the Portland metro, rain or shine. Kids over six? Portland Parks & Recreation recommends these parks for fall and winter fun.

And on those days when you don’t want to deal with muddy boots and pants — we get it! — but still need to leave the house, check out these indoor gyms and pools.

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Tiffany Hill
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