Emerald Art Center carves out a community for local artists of all skill levels, showcasing and selling masterworks from neighborhood virtuosos at their gallery and workspace. Contribute time alongside money with a Participating membership, which unlocks the perks of patronage in exchange for one day of gallery hosting per month, or five hours of equivalent service. When not running the show, members pick their way through a variety of rotating and permanent exhibits or introduce their own work to artful eyes during frequent EAC-sponsored member shows. Monthly meetings foster networking opportunities, cultivate creativity, and encourage spontaneous conga lines. Artist biographies, featured on the Emerald website and in the gallery's Artist Bio Book, delightedly divulge factoids and sample images from each member.
Through exhibits that explore everything from astronomy and physics to biology and paleontology, the Science Factory inspires a lifelong love of science in children as well as adults. Above all else, the nonprofit embraces a motto of "please touch," creating safe, engaging opportunities for children to act on their curiosity and gain insight into the principles underlying scientific and technological theories.
The Exploration Dome exemplifies the immersive nature of the Museum, surrounding audiences with a full-dome screen that displays digital and live-action films. These educational features can take guests to virtually any location in the world and beyond, including the heart of the Borneo rainforest, the depths of prehistoric oceans, the edge of our galaxy's super-massive black hole, and a universe where popcorn kernels never get stuck in your teeth. Permanent exhibits—including a feature on responsible recycling as well as a terrarium of lizards, frogs, and plants, complete with Renegade, the Museum's resident iguana—explore topics in more depth, complementing both the Exploration Dome’s videos and an ever-changing roster of special attractions.
With nearly 30 years of experience teaching gymnastics, owner and director Naja Rossoff and her staff of kid-minded professionals train children of all ages and skill levels. They start with tykes as young as 15 months old, letting them explore movement with the help of a parent or imaginary legal guardian. They keep developing skills in older kids with advanced classes and a trampoline-and-power-tumbling team. Otherwise, during circus-arts classes, they'll help students master the trapeze, tiptoe across tightropes, and learn of the ins and outs of circus performance.
Bounce Gymnastics also hosts open gyms so that kids can have their run of the facility's balance beams, nine trampolines, and padded floors. During birthday parties, the facility also opens up obstacle courses and organizes group games.
Founded by award-winning bird rehabilitator Louise Shimmel, the Cascades Raptor Center houses more than 60 birds and a wildlife hospital whose staff has treated thousands of injured birds of prey. More than 30 native Oregon species, including eight types of hawks and 11 types of owls, perch in the center's capacious aviaries, each placed along serene forest trails. As visitors meander through the trees, the piercing gaze of ospreys, kites, and falcons shoot through the enclosures while bald and golden eagles show off their awe-inspiring wingspans and fashionable haircuts. During educational talks (1 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, November through March; noon and 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, April through October), handlers bring raptors out on their thick gloves to pose for portraits and field questions on their favorite rodents or brands of talon polish. In addition, a Screech Owl membership lets an individual waltz through the center's gates for free throughout the year, as well as bequeathing a guest pass for a friend who shares their fondness for feathery predators.
Drop-in play sessions at Kick City Sports Park and Corvallis Sports Park entertain tykes with plush turf landscapes outfitted with balls, tunnels, playhouses, and toys. Every Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday morning (Saturdays at the Corvallis location only), indoor soccer fields sprout foam noodles, tumbling mats, and play houses, which foster hours of rambunctious, imaginative fun. Since the indoor play palace is weather-resistant, children can slide and roll without the fear of mud, grass, or hot tar sullying their clothing. To strengthen the government-mandated bond between parent and child, each session requires a guardian be present at all times, just like the first day of college.
The 600-acre park plays host to visitors who drive through the more than four miles of winding grounds to catch up-close glimpses of its inhabitants—over 550 wild animals from Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Bison, zebras, and giraffes roam the wide-open surroundings, living in harmony with tigers, lions, and bears. Founded by Frank Hart in 1972, the park has helped to protect endangered species while educating the public about them and their important roles in the fragile ecosystem. Visitors can make arrangements for private and personalized animal encounters as well as visit the safari village zoo, botanical gardens, and gift shop.
Owned and operated by glass artists and collaborators Alejandro Hernandez and Ciara Cuddihy, Studio West houses a gallery of fine paintings and glasswork attached to a full glassblowing studio. The cream walls and bright lights of the gallery give way to the industrial metal and stony tile of the workshop, where artisans can be seen retrieving white-hot gobs of glass from the furnaces. These mounds of molten potential are regularly rolled and shaped into handmade trinkets and vases, which can be immediately smashed and melted, completing their life cycle. Visitors can experience the process for themselves during workshops, where they receive hands-on training from the glassworkers in how to bend the superheated silica to their will.