- A relatively small museum, the World Forestry Center is packed with a diverse array of exhibits touching lightly on topics of geography, conservation, industry, ecology, culture and material science (and probably several other -ologies that I missed). There’s a lot of video content and almost all of the exhibits have an interactive component, making the experience engaging and immersive if not (necessarily) deep.
- The interactive elements make it very child friendly.
- Not busy, especially when compared to the adjacent zoo and Children’s Museum. We went there on an overcast/drizzly Saturday in spring and despite the shared parking lot being 90% full, the museum was nearly empty. This was great for us, as there was no wait to engage with any of the exhibits. Indeed I had a hard time wrangling my son out of the paragliding firefighter experience – which was kind of awesome.
- It’s not easy to create content that will be equally engaging across all ages and naturally that’s true here too. At six, my son was a little young to grasp a lot of what was being discussed in the (very nicely arranged) world tour exhibit upstairs, for example; though I enjoyed pretending to ride the Trans-Siberian railway myself…
- It’s not that big; depending on everyone’s attention span there’s probably enough to occupy you for a couple of hours, but not a whole lot more than that.
in the area
The World Forestry Center is adjacent to Hoyt Arboretum, enabling a neat segue from theory to experience of all things tree related. The zoo and the Children’s Museum are also right next door, and you’re also just a hop skip and a jump from the Japanese Gardens and Washington Park’s playground.
if you like this…
OMSI, on the other side of the river, is the region’s largest museum with plenty of hands on exhibits… and people. On the river itself, Oregon Maritime Museum is far smaller still than the forestry center and also educational.
First posted: June 14, 2013; last updated: May 18, 2020.
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