The Portland Children's Museum, a.k.a. CM2
Today I went to the Portland Children's Museum with my daughter. This place is extremely cool. Might I suggest that if you have a Children's Museum in your area, go there, and bring your offspring/younger siblings/younger cousins/inner child with you.
They have exhibits for children aged baby to grownups. The child inside of me likes to play with clay. The child that is my daughter likes the Water Works exhibit.
The Water Works exhibit is really cool. There are all kind of foutains and waterfalls pouring out of brightly coloured pipes. There are little boats and buckets to play with, and you can turn cranks to open valves and make more water flow. And all the better, there are these cool rain-slickers that kids can wear to prevent soaking themselves head-to-toe. (Which Sophie did anyway, in spite of the slicker. Fortunately, one can also find automatic hot-air hand dryers there.)
Sophie's second favourite exhibit was the Me & My Shadow exhibit. This impressed me, too. There are shadow boxes, and projections of moving patterns shining against the walls. There's also a part of the exhibit where you can "write" on phosphourescent walls with a flashlight. This didn't really impress Sophie, but hey, maybe when she's older.
Wonder Corner is a cool area where you can create wire scupltures. I liked this area. Somewhere in me lies an artist, and that artist was exuberant after I got my hands on random pieces of wire and feathers. It's tonnes of fun for grown-ups, too! I made a (mostly) baby safe scuplture for my daughter.
At some point, Sophie fell asleep. Being the cruel parent that I am, I painted her face with washable face paint in the Mirror, Mirror exhibit. When she woke up, she was pretty happy to see herself, painted or not. Babies love mirrors. Everyone should love mirrors! For older kids, there were costumes to dress up in, and a framed spot in a wall that one could stand behind and perform a little skit.
Zounds was an awesome exhibit. I saw many small children jumping up and down on a bigger than life marimba of sorts. All kinds of other musical instruments, from rainsticks to a washtub base.
There were some really cool "make-believe" exhibits, which mostly older children than mine enjoy. KidCity Market is a cool make believe grocery store, but all "food" are food packages donated by Fred Meyer's . Kid's Clinic is a pretend doctor's clinic, full of all kinds of real medical stuff donated by OHSU. Once Upon a Time is a faerie tale based make-believe exhibit, where kids can dress up and play in a big castle. Last but not least, Café is a pretend cafe where kids can prepare and serve delicious plastic food.
Baby's Garden is where I spend most of my time with Sophie. It's a cool little playyard that is designed like some set of a crazy Shakespeare play with faeries or something. There's a glass river (path) running throught the room, big fake trees with roots that can be crawled under, and even a short slide. And lots and lots of toys . . .
Hey, that was long-winded, but now you have the jist of it. Current admission is $6.50 per person, and children under 1 are free. It's located in Portland Oregon at Washington Park, right where the old OMSI building used to be, and you can take the train there, even. Have fun!