Pre-COVID, we spent our weekends out and about exploring our amazing city. Checking out a new playground, hiking, OMSI, cooling off in the river, swim lessons at the community center, and playing with friends were just a handful of things we would do. Obviously, COVID has put a pause on all of these activities. For awhile we were entertained with our local park, saying hi to neighbors (from a distance), and getting out every art supply we have ever owned. However, after several weeks, we were all getting the itch to get out and explore again — but how to explore locally while physically distancing proved to be a challenge.
Fortunately, there are many local businesses who have really come up with some awesome creative ideas that solve this very problem. Here are our top five. I would love to hear yours!
Portland Goat Parties
Who doesn’t love a baby goat?!?! Portland Goat Parties offers private time on their farm where kids and adults can snuggle baby goats. There are other animals, as well, including ducks, peacocks and the most amazing giant dog, Starlord. Every time we go, there is something new to see. Last time it was ducklings hatching, the time before it was witnessing the birth of two baby goats! Our kids have asked to go here many times since our first visit. It’s been one of our favorite new discoveries.
Pearl Park Blocks
Why have I never taken the kids here before? Between Tanner Springs Park and The Fields Park there is plenty of room to roam and things to explore. The kids loved chasing crows, looking at the plants, and walking over the wetlands. Bonus: there are some local restaurants and cafes open for take out in the area for when the hungrys hit.
Farm Safari at Plumpers Pumpkin Patch
Doughnuts and farm animals are a fabulous combination. Plumpers Farm Safari allows kids to view farm animals from the car. Doughnuts are included in admission so as you are viewing the animals you can also enjoy the delicious grub. It was worth the drive for an afternoon of farm animals and doughnuts. I am not sure if this will be happening again but I have heard of similar concepts on other farms.
Small Beach in Vancouver
Anywhere with water and sand is where we prefer to spend most of our time as the weather heats up. But, of course, finding a spot that isn’t crowded can be tricky. We found an awesome patch of beach in Vancouver. With weather beginning to heat up and schools now out for summer, I imagine it will become harder and harder to find a spot of sand that allows for physical distancing. Arrive early to stake your spot. Be aware that most public bathrooms are not open and that toilets may not be accessible.
This was one of the best afternoons of quarantine thus far. With plenty of room for exploring, the kids loved running through the grass, climbing the trees, and watching the fisherman. To top off the afternoon, we stopped for ice cream at Eastwind Drive-in on our way out of town.
There are a few other places on our quarantine bucket list. The Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge offers a drive through path where kids can observe wildlife from the car. Fields of berries are starting to open for picking. Oregon Horsemanship in Hillsboro offers family visits where you can meet the horses and listen to a story. Frog Pond Farm hosts safari farm tours. Huge shout-out to all the businesses who have re-invented their offerings in ways we can all enjoy while also staying safe!
A Few Useful Tips
Bring extra food and drinks. With many businesses still closed picking up something to eat along the way isn’t always an option.
Bring hang sanitizer and disinfecting wipes wherever you go.
Make sure your car battery is charged. With less driving, car batteries are more likely to die. We have had to jump our car a few times.
Prepare for lack of toilets. Bring extra diapers, wipes, underwear, toilet paper, change of clothes, kiddie potty. Whatever you may need. I, for one, have used a white elephant gift of a disposable toilet on more then one occasion.