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.
Finding Bigfoot, whenever it happens, will be a matter of being in the right place at the right time. The guides at Sasquatch Hunt try to increase those odds by hosting a series of overnight stakeouts through the summer. During each Saturday session, parties set up camp in the woodsy wilderness of Oregon to keep vigil for evidence of the elusive creature, whether it's the enormous footprints, the sounds of rustling brambles and bushes, or the fleeting bluetooth signal of Bigfoot's smartphone.
Sasquatch Hunt falls under the umbrella of Spirit Expeditions, which specializes in haunted walking tours of historic cities throughout America.
Brian Cameron loves Tillamook County and the Pacific Northwest so much that he's spent nearly 30 years exploring its landscapes. He shares that passionate expertise through Tillamook Eco Adventures, introducing visitors to landmarks and local industry and nature on up to five-hour guided expeditions. He leads guests on gentle hikes through backcountry forests, bayside beaches, and hidden waterfalls, and guides them on walks to nearby dairy farms, wineries, cheese factories, and breweries. To keep his roster of expeditions fresh and prevent neighborhood owls from discovering his identity, Brian sometimes partners with other eco-tour guides such as Kayak Tillamook.
Plumes of steam puff from the locomotive as it travels along the Pacific coast. A mountainside blanketed in evergreens towers above the vessel as waves pound against the boulder-strewn shore below. The nonprofit Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad serves as both a living history museum and excursion operator for the state's forested coastline. Antique locomotives that hearken back to the region's logging origins take guests on waterside excursions as a crew feeds the engines recycled motor oil and coal-flavored candies. Seasonal events bring about the railroad’s dinner trains, which treat guests to four-course meals as they gaze at the sparkling water of Tillamook and Nehalem Bays.
Taking a scenic tour aboard Mount Hood Railroad is like stepping back in time. You can almost smell the freshly picked fruit and milled wood that grows just beyond the train's windows as it rolls through the Hood River Valley—products that have been carried along the 22-mile track since the Oregon Lumber Company built the short-line railroad in 1906. Passengers turn back the clock even further during old-timey Western train-robbery trips, reliving the golden age of rail travel while helping the sheriff to foil an attempted heist.
The train's cars afford premium views of Mount Hood and Mount Adams. According to The Railroad Nation, the railroad's newly renovated 1955 Pullman club car combines historic nostalgia with such modern amenities as a sound system and dance floor, making it an ideal spot for special events or reenactments of Jesse James's signature line dance.
Inspired by The Amazing Race, CityScape Adventures—held across the United States—entangle race participants in webs of 12 puzzles and challenges in citywide races to the finish line. Participants compete in teams of two, using their wits, teamwork, and underground network of mutant-turtle spies to complete the tasks given at the start of the race. The 12 challenges take the form of puzzles, riddles, and clues that guide treasure hunters to a specific location within the city, where each team must complete a special task using only their cleverness and muscles. Players can also use the Internet, and the winning team is usually the one that best leverages its resources. The first team to successfully complete all tasks and vault over the finish line will receive a prize and assembly line of high-fives.