Family Activities in Salem, Marion County and Polk County

Enchanted Forest

Balanced diets, river biology and the human body? Kids don’t need textbooks when they can immerse themselves in hands-on exhibits, like those at the Gilbert House Children's Museum in Salem. Stop at Salem's Riverfront Carousel on your way home. This old-world style carousel is enjoyable for all ages; just close your eyes and become a kid again.

Visit the Wild West, run the river in a log canoe, or take a walk down storybook lane - all to the sounds of fairy-tale music and children’s laughter at the Enchanted Forest. Children young and old can visit an authentic English village or haunted house before taking in a kaleidoscope of lights during the daily Fantasy Fountain’s Water-Light show.

Take a seat in the Governor’s chair at the Oregon State Capitol. Parents can photograph their future lawmakers as they help to draft legislation in the ceremonial office where bills are signed and press conferences are held. Guided tours will teach you about the history of Oregon, the Capitol building and the state’s legislative process.  When the legislature is in session, visitors can sit in the Gallery above the House and Senate floors to watch proceedings in person. Before you leave, climb to the Golden Pioneer, a symbol that sits atop the capitol, honoring the sacrifices made by pioneers on the Oregon Trail. From here, you can see the city of Salem and catch a glimpse of the green fields of the valley beyond. Everyone who makes it to the top will receive a certificate of achievement signed by the Governor.

The historic Willamette Heritage Center, offers hands-on activities for kids to experience how life once was. Ever wonder what it was like to be a pioneer? Take part in traditional crafts and children’s games, or watch reenactments of Kalapuya Indian activities. With Mill Creek running through the grounds, the museum is a tranquil park-like destination.

Hear a ball crack against the bat and enjoy a hotdog smothered in mustard at a Salem-Keizer Volcanoes baseball game. The club was named the “Best Class A Short Season Franchise” in the nation by Baseball America.

Enjoy a family dinner while taking in a movie at the Northern Lights Theater Pub. Early shows are open to all ages and the theater serves kid friendly food along with adult fare. From light comedies to PG-rated action flicks, this theater has films the whole family can agree on.

Whether you’d like to stay within walking distance of the Capitol, downtown historic district and shops, or you’d prefer a unique bed and breakfast beside a scenic vineyard, the Salem area offers diverse lodgings that cater to every need and many that come complete with fireplaces, Jacuzzis and pools, as well as restored historic homes and full breakfast fare.

Travel Salem
181 High St. NE
Salem, Oregon 97301 
503-581-4325 
800-874-7012
www.TravelSalem.com

Gilbert House Children's Museum
116 Marion St. NE
Salem, Oregon 97301 
503-371-3631
800-208-9514 
www.acgilbert.org

Salem’s Riverfront Carousel
101 Front St. NE
Salem, Oregon 97301 
503-540-0374
www.salemcarousel.org

Enchanted Forest
8462 Enchanted Way SE
Turner, Oregon 97392 
503-371-4242
www.enchantedforest.com

Oregon State Capitol
900 Court St. NE
Salem, Oregon 97301 
503-986-1388
www.leg.state.or.us/capinfo/visitor.html

Willamette Heritage Center
1313 Mill St. SE
Salem, Oregon 97301 
503-585-7012
www.WillametteHeritage.org

Salem-Keizer Volcanoes
6700 Field of Dreams Way NE
Keizer, OR 97303
503-390-2225
www.volcanoesbaseball.com

Northern Lights Theater Pub 
3893 Commercial St. SE 
Salem, Oregon 97302 
503-304-0280
www.northernlightstheatrepub.com

Additional Resources