There are many free and low-cost ways to enjoy summer with your children. These are just a few ideas for learning and socializing, and exploring the local area:
Fun Fridays at Northgate Park – July and August – 3575 Fairhaven Ave NE, Salem
Every Friday from July 9 – August 27. 4 – 7 p.m.
Come out for some free food and visit booths from community organizations that help families find health care and resources for getting children ready for school. Fun Fridays are a great place to build relationships with neighbors, too!
Let’s All Play Place Playground – 755 Mission St. SE, Salem
A safe, welcoming and wheelchair-friendly play area that enhances physical, sensory, emotional, behavioral, and social skills for children and adults of all abilities.
Gilbert House Children’s Museum – 116 Marion St NE, Salem
Explore hands-on exhibits that inspire learning through creative play, and a 20,000-square-foot Outdoor Discovery Area. Daily crafts and classes, field trips, and more! House tours are free.
Oregon Garden – 879 W Main St, Silverton
80-acres of specialty gardens including educational specialty gardens for everyone, from the Sensory Garden and Rose Garden to the Children’s Garden and Pet-Friendly Garden.
Willamette Heritage Center – 1313 Mill St SE, Salem
Kids can learn how an old yarn mill worked—and even turn on some of the machines.
Evergreen Aviation Museum – 500 NE Captain Michael King Smith Way, McMinnville
Check out more than 200 historic aircraft, including the famous Spruce Goose. The museum has an entire section for kids, and guided tours available throughout the day for no extra charge.
At 35 acres, Dallas City Park boasts an 18-hole disc golf course, a suspension bridge, Japanese garden and swimming hole.
On the other side of town, you’ll find Central Bark, an off-leash dog park, and Roger Jordan Community Park, which has a skate park and the only pickleball courts in the area.
Rickreall Creek Trail – Dallas
This multi-use trail for pedestrians, bicyclists and birdwatchers runs along the creek it’s named after. Once completed, the 4.2-mile trail will connect the west end of Dallas to the east end.
Dallas Aquatic Center – Dallas
The aquatic center features five pools: a six-lane lap pool, warm therapy pool, hot and relaxing spa, a multi-use pool, and a wading pool.
Main Street Park – Monmouth
This park is home to an outdoor amphitheater used often for music and theater performances. Kids of all ages can get wet and play in the splash pad fountain, from Memorial Day weekend to October 1). The park’s gazebo is available to rent for group picnics and events. The park also has several playground structures, as well as a bike repair station.
Sarah Helmick State Recreation Site – near Monmouth
This small, shady park is situated along the Luckiamute River. Two picnic areas for groups up to 150 people each can be reserved. Electricity, water and picnic tables are provided at each site. Take a walk along the trails that border the Luckiamute River, with plenty of birds and native plant life to investigate. It also happens to be Oregon’s first state park, established in 1922.
Free Splash Fountains – at six Salem parks
Each park’s spray fountain is self-operating and features a unique play experience. Open seven days a week from June to Labor Day.
Fountain hours and park locations:
Englewood Park – 1260 19th Street NE, 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Fairmount Park – 650 Rural Street S, 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Northgate Park – 3575 Fairhaven Avenue NE, 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Riverfront Park – 200 Water Street NE, 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
River Road Park – 3045 River Road N, 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Wes Bennett Park – 2200 Baxter Road SE, 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
West Salem Park – 265 Rosemont Avenue NW, 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.