10+ Best Kid Activities in Salem, Oregon


From beautiful state parks to epic amusement parks, Oregon offers amazing family-friendly experiences throughout. But the state’s capital is especially known for its garden, charming downtown, and the many festivals it hosts.

There are tons of family fun opportunities, so Gowhee App’s community compiled the best kid activities in Salem Oregon.

Best kid activities salem oregon blog cover, State capitol
State Capitol in Salem, Oregon. Photo by Edmund Garman

Table of Contents

1. Have a Fairytail Adventure at the Enchanted Forest Theme Park

This theme park will have your children lost in a world of magic, fun, and laughter. For the thrill-seekers, the park even has a hunted house, open all year long. Big kids and little ones alike will fall in love with the whimsical rides and attractions, and we guarantee even the adults will have plenty of fun!

Key Information: Check their schedule to see when they’ll be open. 

Good To Know: The Fantasy Fountains is a beautiful light show with choreography by the daughter of the park creator, Susan Vaslev.

2. Spend a Day Playing at the Gilbert House Children’s Museum

Gilbert House seeks to “ignite enthusiasm for life-long learning in the next generation” through creative play offerings. If the kids love crafts, they also offer a room dedicated to arts and crafts.

Key Information: Open Tuesday-Saturday from 10am-5pm. General admission is $10 (free for members.)

Good To Know: They also offer a free “Movement Monday” video series!

>>> Discover parents’ favorite children’s museums worldwide, here.

3. Ride Salem’s Riverfront Carousel

Located near Riverfront Park on the Willamette River, Salem’s Riverfront carousel is an unforgettable experience. Featuring beautifully painted animals and wheelchair accessible spots on the iconic ride, this is a must-visit attraction for kiddos who like calm rides. 

Key Information: Open Wednesday-Saturday 10am-5pm and Sunday from 11am-5pm. Rides are only $1.50 each.

Good To Know: Keep the fun going after the trip with the downloadable Carousel-themed coloring book.

>>> Find more things to do with kids in Salem, here.

Salem Oregon's carrousel
Carousel in Salem Oregon. Photo by Gowhee Travel Ambassador @dinkumtribe

4. Take a Hike at Minto-Brown Island Park

Minto-Brown is the largest park in Salem. There are many trails as well as wooded areas and play equipment, so even if your kids don’t feel like a hike, they can still play in the great outdoors.

Key Information: Open sunrise to sunset. 

Good To Know: Reserve a shelter for up to 64 people for $30.

5. Make a Splash at Wings and Waves Water Park

With 9 indoor water attractions with an airplane theme, nobody’s getting bored here. 

Key Information: The schedule fluctuates so check their website beforehand.

Good To Know: Book in advance to pay $5 less.

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6. Take a Guided Tour of the Oregon State Capitol

Learn about the government with a trip to the state capitol. Various tours showcase all crucial elements of the Oregon legislature. A good opportunity to explain simple political concepts to kids, and share part of Oregon’s history, this is a must for kids who are fascinated by the world around them.

Key Information: Admission is free. Call beforehand if you’d like a guided tour.

Good To Know: Download the self-guided tour pdf and be your own leader!

>>> Find great playgrounds to take breaks with kids in Salem, Oregon, here.

7. Get Moving at Bush’s Pasture Park

Bush’s Pasture is full of meadows, walking paths, and wooded areas. Contained within are many historical and recreational treats. The park also includes a small playground and picnic tables. 

Key Information: Open sunrise to sunset, and accessible for kids of all ages.

Good To Know: Two grassy areas are open to the public for impromptu gatherings.

Entry of the Bush pasture Park
Entry of the Bush Pasture Park. Photo by @DinkumTribe

8. Learn About Oregon History at the Willamette Heritage Center

Explore the three oldest still-standing frame houses in the Pacific Northwest and more history of Oregon’s roots! Most houses are wheelchair accessible, and there are plenty of places to eat nearby, including Taproot which is featured a little later in this list. 

Key Information: Open Tuesday-Saturday from 10am-4pm. Admission is $8 for adults, $4 for youth.

Good To Know: A docent can lead your tour with at least two weeks’ notice.

9. Visit the Bush House Museum

While you’re at Bush’s Pasture Park, stop by the Bush House Museum. The fully preserved home of pioneering political influencer Salem Bush will inform and entertain the whole family. ​​

Key Information: Tickets are $6 for adults, $3 for youth.

Good To Know: The house still has many original furnishings, fixtures, and wallpaper.

Bush House museum
Bush House museum. Photo by @DinkumTribe

10. See the World’s Largest Wooden Airplane

Visit the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum and see the largest wooden airplane ever built: the Spruce Goose. Kiddos who love flying, machines, or anything mechanical will be obsessed with this awesome museum.

Key Information: $22 for adults, $10 for youth. 

Good To Know: You can book a private tour of the historic plane as well!


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11. Relaxing Day-in at a Kid-Friendly Hotel in Salem

A great option is the Grand Hotel in Salem, which features a luxurious hot tub and indoor pool where kids can splash to their hearts’ content. 

Key Information: Rates are typically around $200/night.

Good To Know: The hotel is a short walk from Riverfront Park.

12. Grab Brunch at Taproot 

Don’t forget to check out the Taproot Lounge and Cafe, a local’s favorite, specializing in vegetarian, vegan, and GF options. This fun, relaxed atmosphere is home to the best brunch in Salem. 

Key Information: Open Monday and Wednesday-Sunday 10 am-4pm.

Good To Know: Try the famous ‘davocados’ (fried avocados served with chipotle dipping sauce).

Know any other kid-friend spots in Salem? Share your favorites in the comments below!

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