Does your kiddo love playing with the train table in our store? Do they have their very own Brio toy train set at home, or a special interest in the MAX? It’s a lucky kid who gets to grow up in Portland, because we have plenty of opportunities to view and ride all kinds of trains.
Tip: Keep in mind that many of these rides are weather-dependent, so check ahead and cross your fingers for sunshine.
Antique Powerland is quite the day trip whenever it’s open, with its display of steam-powered vehicles, machinery, and streetcars. You can even take a trolley ride, and it’s all about 45 minutes south of Portland. But during the Great Oregon Steam-Up, things really get humming. This year, the Steam-Up takes place on the weekends of July 25-26 and August 1-2. Experience train and trolley rides, parades each day, milling and machinery demonstrations, tractor pulling, blacksmithing demonstrations, and more.
Every Saturday through October, the Mount Hood Railroad takes passengers on a beautiful ride.. But watch out - the Gilhouley Gang has been known to waylay passengers, so hold on to your valuables during this western train robbery ride! Trains depart Hood River at 11am and return at 3:15, with a 45 minute layover in Parkdale. Looking for more of a scenic trip than a raucous one? Take one of the excursion rides for a quieter experience, and bring your camera.
Normally, when you’re driving along the coast, you’re zipping along at highway speeds and keeping your eye on the road. With this relaxing steam engine ride, you’ll take a leisurely trip between Garibaldi and Rockaway Beach. Be sure to listen for the train whistle on your layover, so you don’t miss the return trip! A special 4th of July train ride gives passengers a unique way to view fireworks, but it sells out, so book early.
Right now, there’s plenty of construction happening at the Oregon Zoo, to accommodate the new Elephant Lands (some of which are open now for viewing). As such, the Zoo Train is back open after a long closure, but it’s just for a short six-minute loop that doesn’t show any animals. Your littlest passengers will love it as a first train ride, though. It’s only $3 to ride, and $2.50 for members.
The Oregon Pacific Railroad’s historic trains leave from the Oregon Rail Heritage Center near OMSI, and chug down to Oaks Park for a scenic and peaceful ride along the Willamette River. Four afternoon departures keep things flexible for your family, and it’s about a 45-minute roundtrip—long enough for older kids, but short enough to keep the younger ones from going stir crazy. Keep an eye out for bald eagles and egrets in the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge.
What’s your favorite family activity for train lovers?