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It’s Raining. What To Do With The Kids?

Published: October 26, 2022

 

Eugene is an active outdoor town and most of the time we don’t notice a few sprinkles. But sometimes a downpour can get you down, especially when the kids are bouncing off the walls. Here are a few rainy-day destinations worth exploring:

Malls are Not Just For Shopping

For families seeking room to romp that is out of the weather, malls are a magnet. Valley River Center offers wide open space under cover. Ever heard of "mall walking"? Well, one lap around the mall is .65 miles, so you can cover almost 3 miles by circling the mall four times. There is also a free children's play area for kids under 42-inches tall. Cushioned benches for parents line the enclosed carpeted play space featuring regionally-themed climbing structures. But even better, take the escalator to the Adventure! Children’s Museum on the second floor. This hub of interactive exhibits and creative play is the perfect way to spend a rainy afternoon. 

Ride Carousel Ponies

Roaring Rapids Pizza Company is a great place to meet up with friends with children. They have a carousel, pizza and beer. Need I say more? Sit inside the rustic lodge-style restaurant and gaze out at the rain coming down over the Willamette River. The 1930s carousel runs once every 30 minutes and doesn't require tickets but there are plenty of kid's arcade games to suck up your spare quarters.

It's Okay to Climb the Walls Here

Enroll your children in a climbing class, camp or after school program. There are several climbing gyms around town including Elevation Bouldering Gym, Crux Rock Climbing Gym and the Bob Keefer Center in Springfield that can teach your children how to scale the walls safely. 

Willamalane Climbing Wall by Chris Pietsch

Kids Sports & Dance Programs

Kidsports has an array of athletic offerings to keep children moving and active. The Eugene YMCA also offers some after school programs, classes and camps. And the City of Eugene and Willamalane offer an array of classes and activities. There are many schools of dance around town too — from the Oregon Ballet Academy to Flex Studios.

Jump! Jump! Jump!

Trampoline parks, obstacle courses and gyms are the rage these days. Defy Eugene is one such amazing trampoline park / extreme air sports destination with many wild and fun things to do. They feature the best in trampolines, slack lines, a zip line, Ninja Obstacle course, aerial silks, a trapeze, trampoline basketball, trampoline dodge ball and "battle" balance beams. Best of all drop ins are possible here! Easily spend an afternoon—indoors—tiring out your children.

Several other gymnasiums and training facilities in the area include Northwest Ninja Park, Bounce Gymnastics and the National Academy of Artistic Gymnastics.

Escape The House & The Room!

You may feel shut in the house with the kids... but now imagine being locked in a room with them — for fun! Escape the Room Oregon is an indoor, in person, physical mystery that you have to solve. Parents and children work together to collect clues and decipher the meanings to "escape" from themed rooms. Game rooms are family-friendly and range from easy to hard. This is also great for tweens and young adults. "Book Scavenger" fans or anyone who enjoys codes, riddles or puzzles will find the immersive mysteries exhilarating. 

Escape The Room Oregon

Photo: Escape The Room Oregon

Take the Plunge with Indoor Swimming

Swimming is not just a summer thing. Year-round play in the indoor wave pool at Splash! At Lively Park is open during recreation swims. Ride the waves, plunge down the water slide, soak in the hot tub (adults only) or wade in the kiddie pools. While you float in the surf, imagine you are at the beach!

Drop in on the Skateboard Park

Did you know that we have one of the largest covered skateboard parks in the U.S. right here? Get the kids' boards and bikes and head over for some fun outdoor time under the bridge.

Romp on the Beach

With some fresh ocean air, the world will look and feel better. Sometimes the whole family just needs a re-set and the beach is the place to do that in any weather. So pack the car with warm clothes and provisions and head to the wind-whipped coast for some invigorating beach explorations. Put your feet in the cold sand and run with a kite. Visit the sea lions or book a family dune buggy ride. You may decide that you need more than a few hours here, so book a hotel to enjoy a few days' getaway.

Beach Family

Adventures in Reading

Armed with a library card, kids can adventure to amazing places through fiction and non-fiction alike. The Eugene Public Library is open! Or explore a used bookstore like Smith Family Bookstore, Tsunami Books, and Florence's Books 'n' Bears and discover kids books from your own childhood to share with the family.

Books N Bears in Historic Old Town Florence by Taj Morgan

Museums Make Great Rainy Day Sanctuaries

Museums are also a natural wet weather attraction. The Eugene, Cascades & Coast region has so many great museums that it is difficult to choose which to visit. The Eugene Science Center is versatile for all ages with its "Tot Spot" for children under 5 to its rock music-themed Planetarium laser light shows. The Museum of Natural and Cultural History has interactive displays and detailed dioramas. The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art and the Lane County History Museum are also informative destinations. 

Get Crafty

Make something! Sign your child up for an art class, a sewing class or a STEM project. Both the Emerald Art Center in Springfield and Maude Kerns in Eugene offer kids' art classes. Viking Sewing offers a variety of sewing classes, the City of Eugene and Willamalane offer a variety of crafty, creative classes; and the Materials Exchange Center for Community Arts (MECCA), the Adventure! Children's Museum, and the Eugene Public Library often package up craft kits for purchase (the library's are usually free) to do at home.  

And Finally — Play in the Rain!

Stomp in mud puddles, dance and run! Enjoy a family-friendly hike — just wear your mud boots — or a walk in the park looking for all the creatures that come out in the rain. Stroll downtown Eugene and discover the rain art that appears on wet sidewalks. Get outside and get wet!

Author: Taj Barnhart Morgan

Taj Barnhart Morgan is the Director of Content Strategy for Travel Lane County. A journalism graduate from the University of Oregon, Taj has two decades of special event management and hospitality marketing experience in San Diego, CA and Maui, HI. Passionate about mothering, and back to her Oregon roots, she is discovering the Eugene, Cascades & Coast region all over again through the eyes of her daughter.