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.
Historic Deepwood Estate's 1894 Queen Anne home rests its gables amid approximately 4 acres of lush gardens and nature trails, fascinating visitors with its Victorian-era architectural features and insightful exhibits. The Cherry Jubilee benefit dinner kicks off at 6 p.m. with a cocktail party and a silent auction, where revelers can raise hands, paddles, or 20-foot oars to bid on myriad prizes, including a one-week getaway at Eagle Crest Resort, golf outings, and spa packages. The estate’s intricately designed gardens will play host to the evening's cherry-themed four-course dinner, which commences with a spinach, almond, cherry, and manchego cheese salad and culminates with delectable desserts, such as cherry tarts and italian panna cotta luxuriating in a cherry-infused sea. Live music by JT & The Tourists revives the poodle-skirt sounds of the ’50s and ’60s, specially remixed to conscript shoes into bobby-soxing dance armies. Proceeds from the Cherry Jubilee dinner and silent auction benefit the Friends of Deepwood and their quest for historic preservation.
When it was founded in 1987, Frame Central was a social hub for artists, and was even curiously named for facial hair. However, Beard Outlet has since morphed into a seven-location franchise, dedicated to simplifying the framing process. The shops’ onsite stock of matboard, frame moulding, and other key supplies ensures speedy DIY framing projects—which visitors can complete in an hour—and single-day professional framing. An array of pre-framed mirrors and artwork allows shoppers to enhance their blank walls without taping a napping friend to them. Shoppers can also stock up on framing supplies such as case glass and hanging hardware.
Some of the biggest heroes of WWII are on display inside the Erickson Aircraft Collection. In 1983, Jack Erickson started to collect rare but significant aircraft from aviation's history with a special emphasis placed on Navy and Air Force planes from WWII. Eventually, the collection grew to a size that warranted its own custom-built 64,00-square-foot hangar.
At Live Laugh Love Glass, the hot shop and fusing studio are welcoming venues even when filled with molten glass. Open to students age 9 and over, classes in glassblowing invite tender-footed artists to cut their teeth by creating blown-glass pieces ranging from votives to colorful flowers. Those seeking something a little more low-key can head to the glass fusing studio, or partake in painting classes, which include all materials and easy-to-follow instructions to create a finished painting.
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 leopard sharks and jellyfish. Other exhibits include 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 visitors with its displays of vibrant-color aquatic life while amphibious wonders, including poison dart frogs, thrill visitors. Those seeking bigger thrills may visit the ball pythons and bearded dragons or get their picture taken with a lorikeet. Land-loving iguanas also lurch around in the mix.