Milwaukie Bowl welcomes pin-thirsty bowlers with 16 smooth, shiny lanes that feature automatic scoring systems instead of the usual abacuses. The open-bowling package fits up to six sphere slingers with rental shoes and two hours of striking-and-sparing action, and bumper-equipped lanes are available to encourage players gripped by gutterfear. While waiting for the underground employees to return their balls after each roll, bowlers can replenish their pin-sniping skills at the full-service beer bar. Dave Husted’s Inside Line ProShop provides visitors with all the gear necessary for pitching a perfect game.
Movable walls, luminous rocks, mirrors, ramps, and unexpected dead ends. These are just a few of the obstacles players face at Ultrazone Laser Tag, a two-level, 5,000-square-foot arena that, much like a spring-break DJ’s apartment, is always flooded with black light and fog. Before separating up to 36 players into three teams and setting them loose in the arena, a game master delivers rules and moves teammates to the vesting room, where they grab laser guns and flashing vests. As the beat of pulsing music hammers the arena, players stream into the field, launching beams at opponents and attempting to seize their strongholds. When players are hit they aren't eliminated from the action; a computer keeps a running tally of points throughout the mission and awards champion status to the team with the highest count after the game. The facility also includes an arcade packed with video games as well as air-hockey tables, pinball, and a snack area.
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.
Nestled beneath the luminous beacon of its old-timey marquee, the Clinton Street Theater cements its status as Portland’s oldest continuously running independent film house with a rotating slate of foreign films, documentaries, and cult classics. Weekly screenings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Repo: The Genetic Opera draw fervent cultists dressed as their favorite characters and boom-mic operators, complementing screenings of splattery horror flicks with thought-provoking opera from rising and renowned auteurs. The cylindrical glow from a whirring projector jets across the Clinton’s spacious theater, illumining arrivals from such directors as Sidney Lumet and Gus Van Sant, who is notorious for instructing his actors to break character midfilm to challenge texting film-goers to bare-knuckle brawls.
In JJ Extreme territory, a girl wearing a harness is suspended from the ceiling by a rope and swings back and forth, her squeals carrying throughout the space. Elsewhere, her brothers also wear harnesses as they race 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. Here at JJ Jump and JJ Extreme, each location sprawls over more than 4,000 square feet and teems with inflatable challenges and bouncing joy for children. JJ Jump’s jousting arena settles sibling rivalries in a civilized and laugh-filled fashion, and giant slides teach children about the effects of gravity and hair’s weakness against it as they safely soar toward the ground. Each facility also boasts a creative play zone that eschews bouncing for a while and is ripe with construction toys and a stage where children can let their imaginations run wild.
The entire Earth spins inside of the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. It's as if visitors have launched into outer space, where they can see everything—clouds forming over North America, hurricanes churning in the tropics, and millions of animals in migration. Night falls, and the major cities light up Earth's continents like misshapen Christmas trees. Just then, the planet disappears, and in its place rises a spinning orb of fire and violent solar storms: the sun. The display, appropriately titled Science On a Sphere, is actually a 6-foot animated globe powered by a series of video projectors. It serves as the perfect centerpiece for OMSI's Earth Hall, which explores geology, tectonics, and everything else that makes Earth a living planet. The hall's exhibits let visitors control wind turbines and launch satellites into space.
Earth Hall is only one section of the museum, however. More hands-on activities wait within Turbine Hall, where kids design bridges and boats. Visitors can tour the USS Blueback, a U.S. Navy attack submarine that guarded the Pacific for 31 years, or gaze towards the heavens inside of Kendall Planetarium, which uses real-time 3D graphics to transport audiences into the very heart of black holes. Even Theory, the onsite eatery, has an educational focus. The restaurant's displays explore food sciences while Chef Ryan Morgan and his team use local ingredients to cook meals in full view.
Although every corner of OMSI sparks scientific curiosity, the museum's educational programs take things one step further. The faculty hosts astronomy camps and teaches 50-minute interactive labs in which kids might make soap or dissect a squid—a requisite skill for any future biologist or sushi chef.
Founded in 1898, a year remembered by fashion historians as "the year of President McKinley eyebrows," the Oregon Historical Society has sought to preserve and promote the history, politics, and culture of the nation's 33rd state through publications, lectures, and the exhibits at the Oregon History Museum. Befriend the past with the Oregon My Oregon exhibit, an award-winning, interactive look at the state's odyssey that features more than 50 displays showcasing numerous artifacts and antiques, including a 9,000-year-old sagebrush sandal. Peace Corps: 50 Years of Service, which runs through June 19, celebrates a half century of peacemaking with photographs, testimonials, artifacts, and personal correspondence from more than 80 Oregonian and Washingtonian volunteers.