The 20,000-square-foot facility showcases hands-on exhibits and simulators devoted to the importance of forests and their role in providing habitat, water, recreation, wood, and a number of other one-word wonders. With the family-plus membership, two adults and all children 18 and younger in the family are free to explore the museum's two floors for a year. The first floor focuses on the Pacific Northwest, entertaining visitors with interactive exhibits such as the Timberjack Harvester Simulator and River Raft Adventure, where visitors can take a simulated trip through class-IV rapids. On the second floor, guests can learn about forest art, history, and culture—hitching a jeep ride in South Africa, touring the Trans-Siberian railway, or swinging through the Amazon rainforest's canopy just like Tarzan did. A number of special exhibits are also available on a rotating basis.
Founders Ian Gilula and Aaron Frankel preside over glass crafters at Elements Glass to create and display crystalline sculptures and collaborate with a community of local artists. During the introductory float-blowing class, novice bauble makers form their own glass floats, which were originally used to buoy fishing nets and lackluster clouds. For 20 minutes, students develop tactile connections with their materials by choosing and applying colors, forming glass, and blowing it out into unique varicolored floats. The process yields a scintillating orb of hand-selected colors ideal for adorning bare mantels, or art aficionados can purchase the handiwork of local artisans from Elements’ store.
For the past decade, Brett and Natalie Vinsant have been immortalizing their exhales as elegant, blown-glass artwork. The duo envisioned Live Laugh Love Glass as a shared studio, where glass-blowing professionals and students alike could breathe life into bright glass bowls and vases. Small groups of students join enthusiastic instructors during glass-blowing and fusing classes, in which they learn to manipulate molten glass into various forms, and after which students take home their piece of art to display on mantels, desktops, and climbable highway billboards. The gallery inspires students with a collection of professionally blown vases and bowls whose weightless glass curves reflect the twinkle of natural light. After classes on the glass-blowing workshop area, aesthetes can view works in the gallery. Live Laugh Love Glass also hosts private events and parties in their event space.
As part of its mission to trumpet the joys of natural living and community-fueled sustainability, Common Circle Education conducts a Sustainability in Motion tour, teaming bicyclists up with a like-minded biker gang of 20–40 riders for a scenic week of riding, eating, camping, and learning. Each tour begins with a guide leading the group through bike safety and mechanical fundamentals before escorting them out onto scenic, low-traffic farm roads. Pedal pushers spend the week eating healthy, organic vegan fare, visiting organic farms, and biking anywhere from two to six hours (20–60 miles) every other day. During nonbiking days, the group absorbs the productive philosophies of permaculture, sustainability, and regenerative design via hands-on activities—providing a productive respite from mind-numbing TV shows such as News, Sport, and Louder News.
Portland Aquarium, a December 2012 addition to Milwaukie, introduces visitors to thousands of waterborne species. Guests can slide their hands along the smooth flesh of a stingray or the knobby arms of a starfish or engage in staring contests with a blacktip reef shark. Other planned exhibits include a jellyfish exhibit, a cold-water tank filled with fish native to Oregon's coast, and a rainforest-themed jungle gym for children. The tropical touch-tank woos visits with its displays of vibrant-color aquatic life while amphibious wonders, including poison dart frogs, thrill visitors. Those seeking bigger thrills may hoist various pythons species–including a15-foot reticulated or 9-foot albino burmese snake–upon their shoulders or get their picture taken with macaw parrot. Landing-loving iguanas and panter chameleons also lurch around in the mix.
Functioning as a multifaceted operation, certainly the one thing The Wine Valet knows better than anything else is wine. Part event space, part tasting room, and part tour guide, The Wine Valet hosts one-of-a-kind events for up to 75 and offers tours with transportation that visit local wineries and vineyards. The staff welcomes patrons to sample varietals from different wineries before traveling to Artisanal Wine Cellars to sniff, sip, and listen to vinos. The Wine Valet is so immersed in the regional wine culture that they offer a free Android app for self-guided tours of more than 200 wineries.
Run by a team of Portland fanatics and passionate cyclists, Pedal Bike Tours shares their enthusiasm for the city through entertaining and accessible tours. The routes take advantage of Portland’s extensive network of bike lanes to meander through downtown, along the Willamette River, and through lush Forest Park. Each guide’s expertise comes in handy on food tours and microbrewery tours, as riders stop for bites or pints and soak up info about each of their stops. A few tours take riders beyond Rose City limits, and include van trips to explore Oregon’s coast or wine country. Pedal Bike Tours keeps tours as safe and comfortable as possible by providing helmets, locks, and lights, as well as rain jackets and jousting lances if necessary.