The sleek, wooden rink that houses Gresham Skate World has buzzed with the whir of wheels since 1974, when the facility first swung open its doors to a community that now encompasses multiple generations of skaters. The rink provides safe, family-friendly entertainment seven days a week, offsetting standard open skates with a lineup of special events, ranging from all-night sessions to cosmic skating on weekends. To help celebrate special events or dodge bounty hunters, reserve one of Gresham Skate World's private rooms. The center's onsite skate shop stocks an assortment of accessories, and the snack bar fuels full days of axels and dips with hot dogs, nachos, and pizza.
Since 1981, all 10,000 square feet of Hillsboro Skate World’s rink has been filled with the whoosh of roller skates, which can be heard during public-skate sessions and private birthday parties, when skaters of all ages glide and spin underneath colorful lights and the hum of popular music. Late-night and all-night skate events transform the rink into a themed arena with decorations and activities for occasions such as a Spooky Friday the 13th. Between skates, legs can rest at tables or benches, while hands grab hot dogs, nachos, and other noshables from the snack bar.
In the more than 30 years he’s spent at the helm of Four Seasons Bowling Center, George Mareina has learned that there’s only one thing people like better than bowling: baby back ribs. The alley’s Sports Look Restaurant and Sports Bar has been sizzling up the saucy eats since its addition in 1999, and the full-service restaurant is just one of many things that Mareina has added since taking over in 1978. Automatic scoring and pinsetters help keep the fun rolling by eliminating downtime between frames, and the nonsmoking environment makes it an appropriate hangout for bowlers of all ages.
Die-hard bowlers in need of new gear can also stop by the pro shop to browse accessories such as balls, bags, shoes, and corks with which to plug those pesky bowling-ball holes.
Westside Stables’ trainer and instructor, Katie, started riding at age 4. By the time she was 8, she was participating in jumping and showing events when most kids her age were just starting to neigh on command. Today, she passes on the knowledge she learned during more than 10 years of training to a new generation of horse pilots who take lessons atop friendly and patient horses. Westside Stables also plays host to two summer camps for children aged 5–15, which include riding lessons tailored to campers’ age and ability, lessons on horsemanship, and arts and crafts activities, which taunt horses via the campers’ wanton use of their opposable thumbs.
Open daily, Park Lanes Family Entertainment Center boasts 32 lanes that dare to go dark during weekend cosmic bowling hours. Recent renovations have also outfitted the lanes with new scoring systems and automatic bumpers. Beyond the lanes, the facility boasts a range of amenities, including a 4,000-square-foot arcade, nine outdoor batting cages, 40 HD televisions, and an onsite restaurant. Likewise, the onsite pro shop allows players to tame their game with top-notch gear and offers free advice on how to train the seven pin to roll over or play dead.
Minstrels, sword-swallowers, falconers—all were common sights on the streets of 16th-century European villages. Now, over the course of 13 days, a talented band of players descends upon The Oregon Renaissance Festival of Hillsboro to recreate those days of yore. Schooled in the methods of improv theater, actors inhabit their roles as fairies, sword-fighters, and members of the royal court, among others. Members of RoundTable Productions even suit up in knight's armor to compete in a joust attended by fair maidens and correspondents from ESPNMedieval.
While warhorses charge at one another, artisans in the marketplace hawk handmade clothing, jewelry, and wooden crafts. Ditto the festival's food purveyors, who satiate pre-industrial appetites with spinach pies, turkey legs, bread bowls of hearty soup, and steak on a stake. After a bite, hop aboard hand-powered rides or perform chaste dances to English rounds crooned in five-part harmony.
For more than 50 years, the geologists of Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals have invited the world to peruse their collections within a historic, ranch-style home in Hillsboro. But the specimens on display have been around for eons longer than that house has stood. There are cross sections of petrified wood, for instance, with a "Talking Log" exhibit to explain how wood transforms into stone over millions of years. Semi-transparent agate stones tell the tale of the planet's volcanic past with their intricately formed layers, and meteorites bear the pockmarks of their plummets to earth. A room of fluorescent stones glow neon in the dark—a remnant from the prehistoric days before cavemen discovered lava lamps.
Most of these collections are on display indoors, but the museum's outdoor grounds are also a draw. Visitors can wander along a sandstone-tiled path, exploring lush gardens filled with ferns, wildflowers, and rhododendrons. If you walk this path—whether during a spontaneous visit or during an organized event such as the summer festival—you may spot some natural wildlife, such as deer, rabbits, or hummingbirds frenetically sipping from a feeder.