Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) offers halls dedicated to earth science, life science, computers, chemistry, traveling exhibits and hands-on exhibits, a planetarium, the Empirical Theater, a submarine to tour, a motion simulator ride and a cafe. The museum, through its various games and interactive displays, offers an opportunity to exercise the grey cells and leave with more knowledge and information.
Created in 1892 primarily to promote visual arts, the museum is set up with several large and open viewing rooms. Do not miss the Native American collection, and the artists' works featured in the European collection will also surprise you. Also check out the North Wing's Jubitz Center, which houses modern and contemporary art. In the spring, the museum's Northwest Film Center hosts the annual Jewish Film Festival.
Walk through the grand plaza and step into Oregon's past. Located in Portland's cultural district, The Oregon Historical Society has bountiful collections of historical artifacts, photographs, moving pictures, maps and more. Many exhibits are interactive, and the atmosphere is friendly. The museum is very well-maintained and curated in a way to provide easy navigation, it appears as though you are living history as you navigate your way through the interior. The center's shop is full of Native American jewelry, baskets and pots. The book collection covers all of the Northwest's history for adults and children.
Another testament to Portland's cultural diversity, this museum has quite a collection of interesting historical material relating to Oregon Jews. Exhibits focus on Judaism in the state and around the world. In the Footsteps of Columbus is one of the many must-see permanent exhibits here, it narrates an account of the Jews of Greece. Reading material is also available at the on-site library. Many historians, as well as patrons who are fond of cultural experience, are sure to admire the collection at this museum.
World Forestry Center is just a few steps away from the Oregon Zoo and is a fabulous place for families and groups to spend a day. Get to know the importance of forests in the world through their various displays and the various types of forests and trees that inhabit the planet. Check out the tree farms for a hands-on forest experience. Or explore the discovery museum to know forests, art and culture of the world. Interactive and fun, it will not only enthrall kids but adults too.
The history of the Portland fire department dates back more than 150 years. The department came into existence in the 19th Century and has been serving the community of Portland since. The Historic Belmont Firehouse is a testament to the heritage of firefighting in Portland. The firehouse building has undergone renovation many times but still manages to hold on to its historic charm. Inside the building is the Jeff Morris Fire Museum, which has displays of many kinds of firefighting equipment. Unlike other museums where touching exhibits are strictly prohibited, you can touch and handle several of these artifacts to understand how they work. Some interesting elements include the Jeffers Sidestroke Handpump Fire Engine from 1859 and the Hose Cart from 1860. Timelines of the milestones of the fire department's history adorn the walls and an audio guide is also available for those who want additional information.
Get a glimpse of the oriental culture right in the heart of Portland at Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center. Established in 2004, this center works towards conserving and promoting the glorious history of Japanese immigrants in the city. The museum has a vast space dedicated entirely to 'Issei immigration' (first generation). Named after the Japanese term meaning 'descendants', this museum traces the origins and cultural changes that the community has seen through the years. Thriving on donations and the meager admission fee, this museum has maintained its exhibits with great care.
Portlandia flows to the sea as you visit this piece of Rip City's past. Step on board the only remaining operational steam sternwheel tug in the country to learn all about boating while admiring all of the artifacts and exhibits. Take the tugboat tour and hear how old seafarers battled the river currents. If you want to learn more visit their library, the cheerful staff will give provide some interesting bits of information. Visit the gift store and check out the books and nautical themed gifts. The view of the city aboard the ship is an added proposition that Oregon Maritime Museum offers.
Portland is a sternwheel steam tug, built for the Port of Portland in 1947. The tug is now docked at the Williamette River near downtown Portland and also houses the Oregon Maritime Museum. This historic tug uses paddlewheels to provide propulsion, one of the last few boats built with such a system. Tours of the tug and the museum within are available and the tug also has a library, a gift shop and a children's corner.
An odd but fun museum, this place falls into the Escape from Alcatraz category. If you are into cops and robbers, there is a lot to see. Among the most interesting items are the police bike with sidecar, unusual confiscated weapons, historical uniforms and badges. To get a look at old Portland's criminal element, check out the Rogues Gallery. You will be glad the boys in blue are around after you see these characters. Visitors are allowed to click photographs, also interaction with certain exhibits is permitted.