Thursday, June 12, 2008

World Forestry Discovery Center

The World Forestry Discover Center is another Portland location that we visited while we were there last week. It is located across the parking lot from the zoo and is an attraction on the Portland Attractions Pass, so we went.

The entire two floor museum is dedicated to learning about forests and all that pertains to forests throughout the world. It covered everything from the animals that make forests their home to recreational pursuits to logging. Most of the museum was hands on activities, making it interesting to children.

This photo shows the kids piled into a safari jeep which was a creative seating arrangement for a video safari through the South African forests. A boat takes you on a video ride on the Songhua Lake in China. A train has TVs telling you about the Trans Siberian Railway. And a canopy crane takes you to the top of the Brazilian forests. These creative seatings were fun for the kids.

My kids loved this virtual whitewater rafting trip. My toddler loved bouncing in the raft while my daughter enjoyed to opportunity to be dramatic. You can actually see yourself on the screen in the raft going down the river with other boats. The camera takes your photo, which you can later purchase.
Kids can also climb up some steps and sit in the cab of this logging tractor. It's great for make-believe. Back on the floor, you can operate the machine virtually. Another virtual exhibit nearby allowed you to sit in a sling and pretend to be a smoke jumper.

Upstairs was this wood of the world exhibit showing how wood was used by various countries throughout the wood. All of it was hands on and the kids went from station to station looking and trying things out.

This museum was interesting but my tired kids were ready to go after about two hours. It makes a great field trip to anyone studying plants, forests, the timber industry, or the Pacific Northwest. While I wouldn't drive down to Portland just for this (I would drive just for OMSI, though), it can be an interesting stop if you have the time.

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