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Spring Break Adventures in Oregon Wine Country

By Elise McClain

This spring break, create memories that will last a lifetime with an adventure around the Willamette Valley. Here are our top picks for family-friendly trips all around the region this spring.

For family-friendly fun without a lot of fuss, bring the kids to Salem, where they can meet Pancho the Elephant (the newest animal to join the herd) at Salem's Riverfront Carousel-one of the state's only authentic Old World-style carousels. Nearby Gilbert House Children's Museum is a hands-on playground and educational center named for the famous toy inventor, A.C. Gilbert.

Just south of Salem, Enchanted Forest is a regional icon. This quirky, locally owned amusement park features an eclectic mix of rides and activities themed around everything from wizards to the Old West-and has been creating family memories for more than 50 years. Enchanted Forest opens specifically for one week during spring break before reverting to weekend-only hours until summer.

Outdoor Wonders Along the McKenzie River 

A man fly fishing in a stream wearing waders and sunglasses.
Fly fishing is a popular year-round activity on the McKenzie River.

The McKenzie River begins high in the Cascade Range before emptying into the Willamette River just outside of Eugene. It's always fun to trace the river's twisting path, but spring makes an especially idyllic time to enjoy the river's sights.

Spring presents quiet opportunities for productive fly-fishing, excellent conditions for viewing Sahalie and Koosah Falls (fed by snowmelt, the falls are at their thundering peak in spring), and sunny skies for paddling Clear Lake (at the headwaters of the McKenzie River). It's also a fun time to take a McKenzie River Foodshed Tour, where you can savor the bounty of the fruitful region.

Farm Fun in the Foothills of Mount Hood 

Image of tulip field
In spring, the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival is a popular stop along the South Clackamas Farm Loop.

Spring is the start of growing season, so learn about life on real, working farms along the South Clackamas Farm Loop and Farmlandia Farm Loop (both part of the wider Oregon Farm Loops program) in the foothills of Mount Hood.

Each self-guided tour features nearly 20 stops that showcases the hard work, ingenuity, and innovation of local growers through winery tasting rooms, creative eateries, working farm tours, and more.

Along the South Clackamas Farm Loop, you'll encounter more than 70 furry friends at Alpacas at Marquam Hill Ranch (which also hosts a gift shop featuring items crafted from alpaca fur), try cheesy treats at the beloved TMK Creamery, walk among colorful blooms at the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm (which hosts the annual Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival), or indulge in the area's excellent wine at Villa Catalana Cellars (home to a grand tasting room that was inspired by a centuries-old stone church in Spain)

The Farmlandia Farm Loop, meanwhile, embraces its agricultural roots with stops like The Kitchen at Middleground Farms (a popular eatery that sources its ingredients as locally as possible-including from an on-site garden), Terra Vina Wines (known for small-lot red wines), and Lee Farms (a seventh-generation farm that features an on-site bakery, country gift store, seasonal festivals, and more).

Want to explore more of the Willamette Valley's wide range of agricultural offerings at your own pace? Check out our guide to farm loops and food trails for inspiration and ideas.

Upbeat and Old-School Outings Around Albany 

All year long, the historic community of Albany hosts family-friendly events, attractions, and businesses-and that's especially true over spring break.

Unleash your inner artist at Splatter Box, a one-of-a-kind paint-throwing studio near the Willamette River waterfront in Albany. The thrilling, '90s-themed romp lets kids of all ages splash paint on canvases, custom shirts, and trucker hats; rock out on paint drums; and even cover their friend and loved ones in vibrant shades of green, red, and more.

Of course, one of the city's most popular attractions is the Albany Historic Carousel & Museum-which features dozens of hand-carved animals (including a seven-foot-tall giraffe, tiger, and mythical creatures). Beyond the carousel, highlights include art displays, a peek at the carving studio, and a lively gift shop.

Two girls enjoy the view at Talking Water Gardens.
Talking Water Gardens features two miles of flat trails through a manufactured wetland. Photo by Joey Hamilton.

For an outdoor experience, Talking Water Gardens is a manmade wetland that uses natural techniques to cool treated wastewater before it flows into the Willamette River. Two miles of short, mostly level walking paths head through riparian forests, past wetlands, and alongside ponds and streams; keep an eye out along the way for birds, beavers, fish, and other wildlife.

If you're still undecided, check out this list of family-friendly events, attractions, eateries, and more around Albany.

Wings, Waterslides, and Other Attractions in McMinnville

A view from the outside of the Spruce Goose at the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum.
A view of the legendary Spruce Goose airplane from outside the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum

The waterslides at Wings & Waves Waterpark in McMinnville are pretty spectacular, no matter how old you are. One of many thrilling waterslides begins in a real Boeing 747, mounted on the roof of the building, and then spirals three stories before splashing into the heated indoor pool below. The waterpark also features a wave pool and nine other waterslides, designed for kids from infant to teenager.

Next door, you can explore all kinds of airplanes and spacecraft at the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum, including Howard Hughes' legendary Spruce Goose, with its massive 320-foot wing-span; a Mercury Space capsule; and a WWII-era B-17 bomber. Kids will also enjoy the 3-D theater and a space-themed playground.

Indoor and Outdoor Activities Around Corvallis

Indoors and out, you'll find plenty of spring-break fun for the whole family around Corvallis.

If you're looking for some fresh air, take a trip along the self-guided Mid-Willamette Valley Food Trail-which brings together more than 50 farms, markets, eateries, and other stops that showcase the area's agriculture. (The family-friendly No Regrets Farm Sanctuary, for instance, invites the public to sign up for yoga classes surrounded by the farm's goats-or to book a more casual, laid-back experience with the friendly animals.)

Woman walking down a grassy hillside on Marys Peak
Springtime wildflowers on Marys Peak

For a more active outing, try hiking, paddling, picnicking, and other outdoor opportunities with help from the Heart of the Valley Outdoor Recreation Map-which showcases Alsea Falls, Marys Peak, and other outstanding recreation stops around Corvallis and throughout Benton County.

If you'd rather stay indoors, Valley Rock Gym offers spring break classes for children-and the adjacent Ants on a Log Cafe serves fresh, health-oriented fare in a family-friendly environment. The Arts Center, meanwhile, offers creative workshops for children ages 7 and older. And the creative problem-solvers in your family will enjoy the challenges at Escape Corvallis (which hosts five escape rooms with dozens of challenges) and Conundrum House (where gamers can rent, buy, and play a variety of tabletop games, puzzles, live-action roleplaying experiences, and more).

Your adventure begins with the official Willamette Valley Travel Guide. Request your complimentary printed guide or download a digital guide today.

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