8. A.C. Gilbert Discovery Village. We locals call this the Gilbert House. They changed the name to Discovery Village a few years ago, but old names die hard. With the infamous “bubble room” this is a great place for kids. Trying to find something to keep 3 year olds occupied during our rainy months can be hard. It runs around $50 for a one year membership and we were members for several years when our children were small. That $50 will also get you into OMSI in Portland for free. Seriously, $50 for some sanity during winter. It’s a good deal.
7. Tot Indoor Parks. When I first moved to Salem, Oregon there were, and still are, several tot parks that were located in churches. These indoor gyms were a lifesaver in terms of giving kids a great place to run around and play during the rainy months. I was surprised at how much socializing I got to do as a parent too. It was so nice to let my little people play and talk with big people. These operate as co-ops, so parents take turns setting up and cleaning up the gyms. It used to be around $30 for a 9 month membership. There are several around the city.
6. Kroc center. This is just an incredible donation by the Krocs to the city of Salem. Their water park is a great time for kids to just splash and have a good time.
5. Athletic Edge Saturday gym time-while not meant for infant or toddlers, Athletic Edge is a local gymnastics center. Now even if your kids aren’t interested in gymnastics, they have open Saturday gym. This is supervised by you, for your younger kids, so, please supervise them. The kids can jump on the trampolines, and more importantly head into the foam pits. This was a Saturday regular for my kids. I dare you to jump into one of the foam pits and try and get out…then you’ll see why this is great for kids growing bodies. A warning…it does sometimes smell a little sweaty in there…
4. The Carousel. The horses on the carousel were handmade. While my kids are older now and aren’t as excited by the carousel as they used to be, I still think it is a great thing for kids. The wide grins as they picked whether they were going to ride “Jazz” or some other horse that day was worth the small price for a ride. Combine this with a picnic and they nice play structure at Riverfront Park and of course…
3. The Asher Anderson Splash Fountain. Added just this summer to Riverfront Park, this really is a great addition to the park. Kids and squirting water…Need I say more? For parents, there is NO shade by the fountain so keep this in mind if you don’t plan to hop in the fountain yourself. It gets hot in the summer.
2. The Main Branch of the Salem Public Library/The Discovery Room-The Salem Public Library has a discovery room in the library which has a theme that they change monthly. It is typically packed after story times, so I would often take the kids in during another time so they could really explore. The kids library is upstairs off in a corner. Puppets, telephone booths, and a lego table are just part of the package so some quieter play in-between reading books is possible.
1. Northwest Kids Club-Wanting to have a permanent place for young kids to play, the Kids Club was opened just a couple of years ago. It is centrally located in Salem and meant for kids under the age of 8. For parents looking for a place for kids to go and play and get some of that energy out. This is a good choice.
So if you are considering relocating to the Salem Oregon area and want to get a feel for what we have to offer our young kids, here were some of my favorites.