>> Thursday, March 21, 2013 – Around Oregon
Last Thursday James and I met up with our friends Katilin and Paisley at the Portland Aquarium, which is actually in Milwaukie. (Poor picture quality due to bad lighting and small child in the Ergo getting in the way of my arms.)
The aquarium consists of a series of large rooms with tanks set up in the walls and on the ground. You can reach inside the tanks on the ground and touch whatever is swimming around in them or clinging to the sides for dear life, so that's pretty awesome.
Overall it was a great experience, but there are a few thing I feel I should mention.
First of all, the aquarium is designed so that you enter and exit through the gift shop, which is plentifully stocked with glass figurines, candy, and over-priced toys all at the kids' grabbing level. This was not my favorite thing.
It is certainly geared toward small kids (which was perfect for our little group). I would say James' age (two and a half) to about eight years old would probably be ideal. All the tanks have stone steps around them so that little people can stand up to reach or see in. Also, there is a discovery-zone-ish structure for kids to climb. I didn't get a good look at it as I was attempting to usher James past before he climbed up into it and got stuck.
Aside from the temptations of the gift shop and possibly hazardous play structure, it was really fun. James and Paisley loved looking at all the creatures and reaching their hands into the pools of water. James said that his "bestest" (translation: favorite) were the sting rays. He also really liked the sharks (which sounds exactly like "socks" when he told me, so I had to ask a few times). I knew he liked sting rays, so I bought a "feeding" for he and Paisley to give to the sharks and rays. Let me warn you right now, they will present you with a little plastic cup of cut-up dead fish. Have your hand sanitizer at the ready.
The other nice thing about this aquarium is that it isn't nearly as expensive as the Oregon Coast Aquarium, and it isn't as big, so you can actually see everything with little kids. I probably wouldn't buy a membership unless I already had access (i.e. membership or good friends with memberships) to the Children's Museum, OMSI, and the Zoo. But I would definitely recommend making a trip over there if you are in the Portland area and need a fun activity on a rainy day, which seem to be plentiful lately.
...oh, there is also a large caged-in area that you can enter and let birds land on you. Pretty cool until they start using their beak to climb up you, as they did to James. "Get him off, Mama! I want to go out!"
Also, this is what James did while I wrote this post: