Two young teens pose behind a photo board of a pioneer couple as Dad takes their photo at End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center.
| 09/29/2022 | Fall

Top 10 Kid Friendly Oregon Trail Activities

As the official end of the Oregon Trail, history comes to life at our museums, interpretive centers and famous landmarks. Visit these locations with the family for a historically great time.

1. End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center

The End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center is located at the very spot pioneers camped in Oregon City when they finished their journey west. This interactive museum highlights the stories of the pioneers who came across on the famed road, and the indiginous peoples that lived here for centuries prior. A new film was just added in their theater called "Oregon's First People" which was created in partnership with the Grand Ronde Tribe.  

The museum also offers fun and interactive family activities like candle dipping, butter making and packing a wagon to get a quick feel for life back in the 1800s. (Photo: Kayla of This Messy Season)

2. John McLoughlin Historic House

Known as the father of Oregon for his role in assisting exhausted Oregon Trail pioneers once they reached the end of their journey, Dr. John McLoughlin resided in Oregon City in a home he had built in 1845, which is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Tours of the grounds are available; check ahead for times. Fun fact: This location is a National Parks Passport stamp cancellation location.


3. Philip Foster Farm

Philip Foster was one of Oregon's earliest pioneers, and his farm remains today much like it was then. But of course some new has been added to the historic. Alexa skills now guide through the buildings and share stories of the fabled residents. Another recent addition is the restoration of the historic sawmill on site. Each fall Philip Foster Farm hosts a cider squeeze where visitors can press their own apples or those from the farm. Spend the day with family enjoying live music, food and of course, cider!

4. Museum of the Oregon Territory

The Museum of the Oregon Territory overlooks historic Willamette Falls, offering an amazing view of this natural wonder. Kids can learn about the history of the region through fun hands-on exhibits that allow them to really put their creativity to work. 

5. Willamette Falls

Willamette Falls has been an important part of the history of this region long before the pioneers arrived. Today, you can take a kayak tour with eNRG Kayaking to the base of the falls and hear about this history, and even see Native petroglyphs, along the way.

6. Oregon City Municipal Elevator

Originally built in 1915, the Oregon City Municipal Elevator is the only outdoor municipal elevator left in the United States. Free to ride, the observation deck at the top offers a bird’s eye view of downtown Oregon City and the historic Arch Bridge.

7. Indian Springs Trout Farm

While not typically considered an Oregon Trail stop, families can try their hand at an activity that many pioneers did, fishing! Tackle, bait, cleaning services and ice are all provided, so you can easily catch rainbow trout and catfish. The Indian Springs Trout Farm is also filled with 93 birdhouses, four ospreys and a flock of pheasants. The area is also filled with locations for fishing with kids. (Photo: Kayla of This Messy Season)

8. Sandy Historical Society Muesum

Located along the historic Barlow Road, which was the last section of the Oregon Trail, the Sandy Historical Society is filled with history from the area. Two floors of exhibits are filled with carefully curated pieces that provide a glimpse into the history of Sandy, Boring and the surrounding area.

9. Hike the Barlow Road

The Barlow Toll Road, built in 1846, offered Oregon Trail pioneers a cheaper, more direct route to the Willamette Valley. The road was not easy for wagons and oxen to cross. You can still see the wagon ruts, called swales, where they travelled. No matter the distance you decide to hike, it’ll be fun for your family to follow in the footsteps of those pioneers.

10. Oregon Trail Activity Guide

Our Oregon Trail Activity Guide is a fun way to get kids interested in history. Filled with coloring pages, mazes, scavenger hunts and other activities, it will keep them so entertained they won't even realize that it's educational. 

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