Oregon Museum of Science and Industry

The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, or OMSI for short, is both a landmark and beloved institution in Portland, Oregon. Situated right on the bank of the Willamette directly across from the downtown district, OMSI is one of the best places (and arguably the best place) to take kids in the area.


Nate and his friend Jonah get a lesson in the Physics Lab.

With multiple exhibits (including Turbine Hall, Life Hall, Earth Hall, and Science Playground in addition to guest exhibits, an IMAX and a planetarium) for all ages, staffed science labs where kids don safety goggles and roll up their sleeves, stunning displays (the beginning of life display is particularly moving) and fun experiences (try the earthquake house), you can easily spend a day here. There’s also a working submarine to tour, a toddler and preschool area (with changing displays), and an entire hall of brain teasers that kept our grade schoolers busy for over an hour!

Tip: If you’re visiting from anywhere in the Northwest and have a membership at your local children’s museum or science museum, stop by the membership desk prior to paying admission and see if your membership can be applied toward free admission to OMSI. It did in our case! Even if you don’t have your membership card with you, the desk personnel are happy to call your local museum and verify your membership that way.


Nate gets an astronaut’s perspective.

Date last visited: August 2010

Distance off the interstate: Five-ten minutes off either the I-5 or I-405 into downtown Portland.

Hours: Daily 9:30 a.m.—7:00 p.m. (until September 6). Fall hours:  Tuesday-Sunday, 9:30 a.m.—5:30 p.m. (starting September 7).

Admission: $12 for adults, $9 for kids. IMAX, planetarium, and submarine are extra costs (see website for pricing). Combo packs are the way to go if you plan to do extra things!

Food Services: Inside the museum is both the OMSI Cafe and Galileo’s. There’s also a sack lunch area.

Website: www.omsi.edu

Directions: From I-5 or the 405, take Naito Parkway (downtown) to the Hawthorne Bridge. Cross the river onto Hawthorne Ave, and turn right onto Water Ave.