It’s early November, and I can barely believe what I see as I look out my window. It’s the sun, and of course, an absolutely clear, brilliantly-blue sky. I’m serious – it looks and feels like September, or if we’re lucky, early October.

The meteorologist predicted a dreary, cold and rainy day. I’m glad he was wrong! The fact of the matter is, 90% of the time, he would have been correct. It’s just that time of the year, and I want to ask the parents reading this, “Are you prepared to face the elements with your family?” In our family, we do not let the rainy season keep us from experiencing outdoor adventures. Here is a description of my perfect day with my family, even though the weather is not cooperating.

8:00AM – Breakfast…pack-up the rain gear, coats, gloves, hats, boots and rain pants. Make sure you bring a jogging stroller and/or a baby backpack. You’ll be ready for anything!

9:00AM – Stop by New Seasons Market to pick-up some sandwiches for a picnic lunch. This is our favorite stop for food. The deli has some exceptional specialty sandwiches including a grilled barbeque salmon, grilled steak, brisket, and pulled pork. Today, we’ll opt for the cold sandwiches, because it’s going to be awhile before we eat.

10AM – Arrive at the Hoyt Arboretum -it is such a great spot – it’s close to the Children’s Museum, World Forestry Center (unexpectedly fun for kids), and the Oregon Zoo and of course for a short hike. There are many loop trails suitable for a myriad of age groups. Dogs are welcome on leases, and the trails are wide and smooth enough to accommodate jogging strollers. We always bring along a few snacks and drinks for the hikes. Grab a map and look for the trail that heads down to the Elephant Playground, which is close to the Rose Garden. Elephant’s has an awe-inspiring play structure for kids of all ages. I love play structures in rainy weather, because the slides are very fast, and no one is there!

12PM – Back at the car, and everyone is hungry! Crack open the picnic lunch and eat in the car. Our next destination is the Oregon Zoo, which is a parking lot away from the Hoyt parking area. You will need to pay $1.00 for parking when you get your zoo tickets, unless you are a member.

I have had my best trips to the zoo on rainy or gray days. I don’t know what it is, but the animals seem more active to me, and I’ve had way more sightings in bad weather. Plus, there are fewer people – you’ll have many exhibits all to yourself! The sandbox is covered, and my son usually likes to spend at least 20 minutes there on each visit.

3PM – A couple of hours is usually plenty for a trip to the zoo. If you and your kids are up for it, you can visit the World Forestry Center or the Children’s Museum. For kids under 3, the best option is the Children’s Museum. There is a special area just for kids 2 and younger, which is very nice. The World Forestry Center has some very fun exhibits for kids 3 and older, especially the simulated rafting trip.

5PM – We’re home, we’re tired, and we’re hungry for some dinner. Of course, we don’t have any food in the house! So, we head over to Peanut Butter and Ellie’s (PB&E) in southwest Portland, which is a great family spot with plenty to keep the kids entertained. PB&E has a train table, popcorn, and a wall covered with chalkboards. For tips on other family adventures in and around Portland, please check-out Portland Family Adventures.


What & Where:
New Seasons Market
(Various locations throughout Portland)
Hoyt Arboretum (4000 SW Fairview Blvd;503-865-8733)
Elephant Playground (Inside Washington Park near the Rose Garden)
Oregon Zoo (4001 SW Canyon Rd; 503-226-1561)
Children’s Museum (4015 SW Canyon Rd; 503-223-6500)
World Forestry Center (4033 SW Canyon Rd; 503-228-1367)
Peanut Butter & Ellie’s (4405 SW Vermont St; 503-282-1783)