A.C. Gilbert's Discovery Village is a hands-on children's museum spread across three historical houses that reside in Riverfront Park. It is named after A.C. Gilbert, a Salem native, toy magnate, and inventor of the Erector Set. True to a life spent creating educational and scientific toys, his namesake museum provides a place for kids to interact with exhibits that encourage play and provoke thought. From a giant model of an animal cell to a faux paleontological dig full of ancient bones to musical instruments like a South American rainwheel, the museum's stations encompass a number of scientific and cultural disciplines—though little ones might only interpret each activity as fun. Furthermore, youth can heal stuffed animals in the Village Vet Room or scale a 52-foot edifice that is one of the world's largest Erector Set towers, boasting three slides, and a maze.
Mariner Square delights children and adults, tourists and locals alike with a seaside getaway to three different, otherworldly attractions. Nestled on a causeway on Newport's bayfront, visitors can marvel at marine life at the Oregon Undersea Gardens, wander through a forest of lifelike celebrity sculptures at The Wax Works, or learn little-known, bizarre facts at Ripley's Believe It or Not!
Blanketed in wall-to-wall trampolines, Sky High Sports delights barefoot fun seekers with 45,000 square feet of springy terrain. Guests can hone front flips, backflips, and belly flops during intense free-bounce sessions. Each trampoline comes equipped with a specially designed spring-loaded frame and 2-inch-thick safety pads that grant patrons a landing cushier than a corner office at a marshmallow factory. Pintsize aerialist posses can safely practice their synchronized salchows on 360 degrees of trampoline walls while court supervisors watch from the sidelines and award hard-earned praise with oversize scorecards. Sky High also offers AIRobics fitness classes and monthly dodge-ball tournaments to help jumpers explore the outermost stratospheres of trampoline possibilities.
Inside both of JJ Jump's two locations lies 7,000 to 12,000 square feet of inflatable challenges and bounce-based entertainment for children. The jousting arena settles sibling rivalries in a civilized and laugh-filled fashion, and giant slides send little ones safely toward the ground. But there's more to JJ Jump than jumping: each facility also boasts a creative play zone that is ripe with construction toys and a stage where children can let their imaginations run wild.
From time to time, the Clackamas facility morphs into JJ Extreme, where a kid wearing a harness can be suspended from the ceiling by a rope to swing back and forth under neon lights. Harnesses also come in handy for a slightly more competitive activity, during which youngsters zip past one another, running toward a basketball hoop and hoping to make a shot before a bungee cord pulls them each backward across a soft, inflatable mat.
While many go-karts look like miniature versions of Formula racecars, the similarities usually stop there. This isn’t the case at Malibu Raceway. Atop a fully independent wishbone-suspension design, Malibu’s Indy-style Virage rumbles with an 18-horsepower Briggs & Stratton engine inspired by its professional, full-sized brethren. Youngsters that didn’t get Playskool’s My First I.D. Forger for Christmas can whiz around the half-mile outdoor track in a 9-horsepower Sprint kart, which keeps little riders safely strapped in with a four-point, race-style harness. Blinking battalions of arcade machines stand guard over a game room underscored by the din of clacking pool balls, and a snack bar sates cravings with corn dogs, cotton candy, and popcorn.