DIY Theater

Northwest Children’s Theater and School
1819 NW Everett St

If Tim Burton’s trippy reimagining of Alice in Wonderland has your child craving the spotlight, the Northwest Children’s Theater’s whimsical costume rentals can make his (or her) star-studded dreams a reality. Currently in stock: pieces from Alice in Wonderland, the Narnia books, Winnie the Pooh, and The Wizard of Oz. Just make sure Dorothy doesn’t dribble ice cream on her ruby slippers. BWB

My Masterpiece Art Studio

7905 SW Cirrus Dr, Beaverton

If your kids’ finger paintings are more Michelangelo than mess, this Beaverton studio might be just the place for them. Starting with immersion programs, My Masterpiece stokes creative tykes with drawing workshops, an open studio for experimentation, and a Mini Masters program that focuses on in-depth explorations of icons like Matisse, Mondrian, Picasso, and Van Gogh. So you might want to start archiving those colorful drawings on the refrigerator now … just in case. BWB

East Portland Community Center Pool

740 SE 106th Ave

Soaring floor-to-ceiling windows and a bevy of skylights allow the sun to reign supreme at this indoor aquatic center. Not that your 5-year-old will notice. Because, rain or shine, the main draw here is the spine-tingling plunge down the 18-foot-tall, candy-apple-red bobsled of a waterslide (be prepared for epic water wedgies). Timid swimmers will dig the shark-shaped kiddie slide, while a 102-degree whirlpool provides adults with a safe refuge from all the splashing. BMB


5101 N Interstate Ave

For those moments when your desire to simply sit still is at odds with your youngster’s hankering to somersault, there is Pause. The popular NoPo pub’s backyard—which is abutted by umbrellaed picnic tables and three herb gardens—is the perfect patch of grass for tykes to tumble on while you enjoy the shade with a Cuban sandwich, hand-cut fries, and a cold summer ale. And when your Mary Lou Retton is all tuckered out and ready for a refuel, just order up a kid-size pasta with butter and cheese—with a price tag of $0, it’s the best deal in town. —RR

The Candy Basket

1924 NE 181st Ave, Gresham

The Candy Basket picks up where Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory left off—minus the manic chocolatier. The experts at this Gresham confectioner have been handcrafting all manner of decadent cures for your sweet tooth since 1914, but you’ll find a cure for your curiosity in a tour of their Northeast Portland factory. The lobby’s 21-foot dark-chocolate waterfall makes a splash, preparing candy-lovers for the fascinating journey to come: through the molding rooms, taffy kitchen, and chocolate tunnel. Expect a sugar high as you score scrumptious samples along the way—and there won’t be a single Oompa-Loompa in sight. —RR

Peter’s Walking Tours


Former schoolteacher Peter Chausse will give your kids their first lesson in Stumptown citizenship with one of his three-hour walking tours, which he’s been leading since 1995. The popular Central City tour investigates everything from the hidden echo chamber at Pioneer Courthouse Square to sidewalk quotes you’ve probably passed by a hundred times but have never noticed. Little ones will particularly enjoy slapping magnets on Portland’s historic cast-iron buildings. Whether you’re a long-time resident or a fresh-faced newbie, the mile-long meander will give your precocious urbanite a leg up on the city they’ll one day be exploring on their own. —KC