Portland Kids Bowl Free & Grownups Get a Deal Too!

There are some activities that you just don’t do if you’re not good at them or don’t have experience. For instance, bouldering without a harness is probably not a great idea if you’re not an experienced climber. Then there are activities that almost anyone can do, at any age, and it doesn’t matter if you’re experienced or a novice, coordinated or clumsy. Bowling is a prime example, and it appeals to almost everyone, whether you do it on a regular basis, or bowl so little that when you do, you wonder why you don’t go bowling all the time. Well now you can.

There is a program that exists to remind us what great fun bowling can be, and help keep us active and entertained all summer long. It’s called Kids Bowl Free, and it was created to promote the sport and make it accessible to children and families in an affordable way. By signing up for the program, up to 6 children per supervising adult can each bowl two FREE games EVERY DAY from late spring all through the summer. Shoe rental is not included, but is usually a nominal fee. To sweeten the deal, and get the grownups involved, you can pay a one-time fee of $28.95 to get the The Family Pass which allows up to 4 adults to bowl 2 games free each day during the summer too! Just choose and commit to one local bowling alley for the summer, and each week your bowling coupons will be emailed to you. All you need to do is print out the coupons and bring them with you. For an extra one-time fee of about $5, you can have your Kids Bowl Free coupons texted to your phone each Sunday if you prefer the convenience of paperless coupons.

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The greater Portland metro area has many bowling locations that are participating in the Kids Bowl Free program, and they are all accessible by bus. Continue reading

One Pass to See Them All: Portland’s Best Cultural & Historical Sites, Museums, Gardens, and Attractions

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Whether you’re visiting Portland from another city, or you live here and have a few days off to explore your own city, our friends over at Travel Portland can help you get the most bang for your buck while seeing some of the city’s most notable points of interest. They have created four different Attraction Passes that give you entry into all or a curated selection of Portland’s best museums, gardens, and cultural & historical sites. The passes are good for five days from the date of purchase, and can only be purchased online. The Attraction Passes cater to the needs of the traveler whether you want it all (the Big Pass) or just want a select few from the list (the Washington Park Pass,  the Downtown Pass, or the Garden Pass). Continue reading

Pickathon Indie Roots Music Festival

The Pickathon Indie Roots Music Festival at Pendarvis Farm in Portland, Oregon is like no other music festival you’ve been to. When I began to write this article, I sat for a long time staring at a blank page, wondering how I could possibly translate its awesomeness into a few-hundred-word blog post. And I’ve come to realize, I just can’t. This event more than others is something that you simply must experience to really get it. Hopefully the words I did come up with will suffice, and leave you wanting to go out and get the experience.

Here is a list of the top seven things that make Pickathon the greatest music festival I have ever attended.

1. The Vibe:

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While I am no stranger to music festivals, I am also not a music festival junkie. Sometimes when I think of the term “music festival,” I get visions of thousands of college-aged kids in a large field in the sun, drugged out of their minds, trance dancing, and drinking booze out of plastic cups. While those kinds of music festivals certainly exist, Pickathon is an entirely different breed. There is definitely alcohol consumption, but the collective consciousness of the folks in attendance somehow manages to keep everyone respectful of others, and the overall vibe of the group is unparalleled. It feels safe, because it is, and the people there are people that you actually want to hang out with. This is just one factor that helps this festival be the most family friendly festival around.

2. Kids are FREE:

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Another way Pickathon welcomes families is that children 12 and under get in free. And once they’re in, children’s itineraries can be just as full as any grownup’s, with organized craft projects, circus classes, performances geared especially towards kids. Here’s an example of the Kids & Family Schedule from 2014.  There’s even a designated quiet and family camping zone (silence not guaranteed). Oh, did I mention that this is a weekend festival with the (strongly recommended!) option to camp?!

3. Camping:

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Purchasing the weekend ticket gets you camping access for the whole weekend. Music takes place all day long and into the wee hours of the night on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. With an early bird pass, you can camp Thursday night, which helps ensure you have your pick of the campsites. Monday morning campers must leave, and most are already longingly looking forward to doing it all again next year.

4. Sustainability:

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Pickathon is the nation’s greenest music festival. It’s the first festival in the country to eliminate single-use plastic cups and containers from their vendors. They have been replaced with reusable Klean Kanteen stainless steel cups, and have used Bambooware dishes and utensils. Both are available for purchase at Pickathon, and they’ve even got a cool token system for the dishes so you don’t even have to clean them yourself. Alternatively, you can also bring your own reusable dishware, and they have convenient dish washing stations to make things easy. Here’s a great infographic about how it works. Pickathon makes great use of solar power. They have a permanently installed solar array on the rooftop of the Galaxy Barn (one of their stages is located inside). According to their website, “the energy generated during the year offsets 100% of the energy used during the festival in the Galaxy Barn plus 100% of the electricity used by the food and craft vendors.” They also host three portable solar power generators throughout the festival to help with their electricity needs, including powering a cell phone charging station for festival-goers. They also offer free drinking water all weekend long. Have they really thought if everything? I think they have.

5. It’s relatively small:

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Pickathon only sells a limited amount of tickets, which means that between ticket-holders, volunteers, staff, and children, the festival caps out at about 7,000, as opposed to the 20,000-person capacity that they could accommodate if they wanted to cram people in like what happens at other music festivals. The smaller crowds makes the festival more intimate, clean, safe, and overall a much more enjoyable experience.

6. Great Music:

One of the countries greatest music festival isn’t great without talented musicians! One of my favorite things about Pickathon is that you won’t find just one genre of music. In the past I have seen folk, blues, rockabilly, African, funk, indie pop, bluegrass, and so much more. They’ve had lineups with musical greats like The Avett Brothers, Andrew Bird, Feist, Neko Case, Mavis Staples, X, and Nickel Creek. Besides the more well known performers, each year I discover new bands that I’ve never heard of, but that blow my mind when I see them live at Pickathon. After 11 years of attending this festival, I absolutely know without a doubt that I will enjoy the music, even if I’m not familiar with many of the bands in the lineup.

7. Public Transportation:

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Pickathon makes alternatives modes of transportation a breeze. They want as many people as possible to leave their cars at home, and have made this easy by providing frequent EcoShuttle service between Clackamas Town Center (near the MAX station) and the Pickathon at Pendarvis Farm. Clackamas Town Center is served by the MAX Green Line, and bus lines 28, 29, 30, 33, 71, 72, 79, 152, 155, and 156. Alternatively, if you don’t want to pay the EcoShuttle fee, you can take TriMet line 155 from the Clackamas Town Center TC, get off at SE Misty & 162nd, and walk just under a mile to the festival site (16581 SE Hagen Rd.) For assistance in getting to the Clackamas Town Center, just visit TriMet’s trip planner, and enter in your starting location, use Clackamas Town Center TC (Stop ID 13247) for your ending location if you’ll be using the EcoShuttle, or use stop ID 13159 if you’ll be bussing then walking. Pickathon also encourages commuting by bike, and even offer gear shuttles. Check their website for more info.

I am genuinely elated when it’s time for Pickathon each year. Those of you that have been before know exactly what I’m talking about. And for those of you that may be going for the first time, whether you go for just one day, or camp the entire weekend to get the full experience, I am certain that it will be one of the best things you will do all year.

Pickathon is an annual event that takes place the first weekend in August. For more information, including this year’s musical lineup, please visit the Pickathon.com.

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All photos copyright Stephanie Paris

Beat the Heat: Cool off in Portland’s Interactive Fountains

Whether you’re a parent or a caretaker, one of the perks of caring for children is that you get to play. We end up doing things that we most likely never would have done otherwise, not because they’re not fun things to do, but because our grownup minds don’t as often think of them… until we find ourselves in situations like needing to quell our rosy-cheeked children when their own valiant efforts to tolerate the apathetic summer heat are not enough. Portland my be rainy and cloudy 9 month out of the year, but when it’s summer, boy, it’s summer! And one of the greatest ways to beat the heat is by getting wet.

Portland is known for its remarkable fountains. Lucky for us, many of them are interactive, meaning you can join the spritzing, sprinkling fountains with your own splashing and frolicking.

Some safety tips to keep in mind: don’t drink the water (it is often recycled for conservation purposes), keep a watchful eye on your children, and be cautious of slippery surfaces.

Whether you have children or not, get yourself out into one of Portland’s many interactive fountains. Chances are you may not have had this much fun playing in water since you were a child in your own backyard sprinkler.

SW Portland

Salmon Street Springs

Location: Waterfront Park , SW Naito Parkway at SW Salmon St

Hours: 6:00 AM – 10:00 PM spring/summer/fall

Accessibility:

Ira Keller Forecourt Fountain

Location:  Keller Fountain Park, SW 3rd Ave & SW Clay St

Hours: 5:00 AM – 9:00 PM spring/summer/fall

Accessibility:

Courtesy of Stephanie Paris

Teachers Fountain

Location: Director Park, SW Yamhill St & SW Park Ave

Hours: Typically 9:00 AM-10:00 PM, Check events schedule for closures: Director Park calendar

Accessibility:

Bill Naito Legacy Fountain

Location: Waterfront Park, Burnside Bridge & SW Naito Parkway

Hours: All hours, except Fridays from 3:00-11:00 AM, upper fountain is turned off during Saturday Market hours

Accessibility:

SE Portland

The Rose Petal

Location: Stark Street Island Park, SE 106th Ave & Stark St

Hours: 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM spring/summer/fall

Accessibility:

North Portland

Peninsula Park Rose Garden Fountain

Location: Peninsula Park Rose Garden, N Albina Ave & N Ainsworth St

Hours: 5:00 AM – 10:00 PM spring/summer/fall

Accessibility:

McCoy Fountain

Location: McCoy Park, N Trenton & N Newman Ave

Hours: 9:00 AM – 10:00 PM spring/summer/fall

Accessibility:

NE Portland

Holladay Park

Location: Holladay Park, NE 11th Ave & NE Multnomah St

Hours: 9:00 AM – 10:00 PM spring/summer/fall

Accessibility:

NW Portland

Jamison Square Fountain

Location: Jamison Square, between NW Kearney St & Johnson St, and NW 10th & 11th Aves

Hours: 8:00 AM – 10:00 PM spring/summer/fall

Accessibility: