The much longer-than-expected winter we have been experiencing will come to a sudden end this week, with temperatures surging into the 80s by Friday. The low 80s are not very warm in normal circumstances, but it’s quite a change when you’ve been looking at a high in the 50s over the last several days and a lot of cold water falling from the sky. 

The Portland area will wake up to an expected high of 80 on Thursday before rising to the mid-80s on Friday and holding on Saturday. By Mother’s Day on Sunday, it should be in the mid-70s before dropping to the low 70s on Monday. We have all seen weather change around here at the drop of a hat, so don’t be surprised if it’s actually 65 and raining over the weekend, but prepare for 85 and sunny. 

It’s too early to expect most public pools to be open, and the water features at your local park will probably not be active for weeks, so where do you go? 

I would still suggest the parks, the beach, or the mountains. 

If you can’t or don’t want to leave town this weekend, consider your local parks or the Oregon Zoo, the biggest park of all.

Local Parks and Zoo

If you live on the east side, consider Imagination Station and Happy Valley Park. Both boast huge play areas, ample parking, a soft bouncy surface for kids to land on (and parents to stand or pace on), and it’s rare not to see an ice cream van or several on warm days. Happy Valley Park even has a few walking trails around the pond, with some shade to provide relief if you’re out in the sun too long. Imagination Station is more like a small theme park or fort than a park, but it has plenty for little ones to do. Happy Valley Park was designed to be inclusive and accessible for all and is one of our kids’ favorite play areas. If you go there, don’t be fooled by the smaller structure at the main entrance; keep driving until you see two much larger play areas. 

If you live on the west side, consider Gabriel Park in SW Portland or the newly remodeled Cook Park in Tigard. Gabriel Park features accessibility for all and a fun, soft play surface, but it has some steep hills that many little kids seem to have trouble with. Cook Park was recently redone with a soft play surface and made accessible for all kids. They have lots of fun new options for kids, and even if you have been bringing your kids there for years, you are bound to see something new. 

If you live closer to the zoo, I would recommend the zoo or the Children’s Park at the Rose Garden in Washington Park. The zoo has many features, fun animals, and many shaded areas to relax. Even if you have been there 100 times, you’re still likely to experience something new. Oddly, a lot of animals stay out of the spotlight in the warm weather – even the ones native to warm weather but you can hardly blame them when they are rarely exposed to warm weather in this part of the world. If you were at the zoo too recently or just prefer to avoid it, check out the Children’s Park in the Rose Garden. It has a really fun and large play structure in a really elegant part of Portland. The park should be open again after renovations recently, but since the entire highway leading up to it has been under construction for the last couple of decades – don’t be surprised if it isn’t open yet. 

Leaving Town To Avoid The Warm Weather?

If you want to leave the city and get out to cooler weather, be warned – it won’t be easy. Hood River is a cool town and just a quick hour east, but it may not be any less warm than your city. With temps expected to mirror the Rose City this weekend, you might get a little wind, but unless you plan to spend your time in the water, you will just be heading there for the neat shops, wineries, and restaurants, and there’s nothing wrong with that. They have an exceptional park in town, simply called “Children’s Park,” and it is a sight. Made to look like a fort, it has all the stuff you want in a park with the added bonus of being in one of your favorite areas. It’s not on the waterfront, though, that play area leaves a lot to be desired, but it’s only a few minutes from the downtown area, so you won’t have to venture too far.

If you don’t mind driving a bit farther, you can head to most spots on the coast and find very mild temperatures. Friday will be in the 70s and above average, but it will feel like summer beach weather – windy and in the 60s by Saturday morning. And what mom doesn’t love a beach weekend? You could get the family a nice relaxing weekend and celebrate your favorite lady all at once. Just plan to drive home by Sunday afternoon; you don’t want to be caught in traffic and have no time at home to get the fam ready for the week. Don’t be surprised if a lot of vacation rentals have surge pricing, though; they are definitely going to be aware this will be a suddenly popular beach weekend after all. 

And lastly, don’t forget about the mountain. It may be snowing up there early in the week, but it is expected to be closer to normal spring weather by the weekend. That won’t mean you can go camping or jump in the lake, but it does mean great weather for hikes and picnics. Bring the boots, the picnic basket, and a blanket to stretch out on and bring the family up for the day. Maybe even stop at the Zig Zag Inn and get some of the most legendary pizza the mountain has to offer before making the journey home with that sweet mountain air coming through the car window and the kids slowly falling asleep in the back seat.  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *