Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Portland Haunts - Something Old, Something New

We really enjoy ourselves in Portland. The city really has a lot to offer, but the park-like feel provided by the ample water (streams, rivers, lakes) and trees (parks and private property alike) is what sets it apart for me. One of the cousins, largely raised in the Portland area, has a particular affinity for the city's historic bridges, and all seem to have taken great advantage of the outdoor opportunities that abound. When not attending or taking part in performing arts functions, the family may be found water skiing or kayaking, or hiking or biking trails that feel like forest but are, in fact, greenbelt reserves amidst residential properties.

This trip, we opted to return to Portland's Saturday (and Sunday) Market at Skidmore. I'm not sure whether I was in it more for the food (there's a FANTASTIC African food vendor there, not to mention Rogue Brewery - try the Hazelnut Brown Nectar if you get a chance), or the music (always live, always eclectic) or the vendors (vetted local artists and artisans). You can read more about my favorite finds here. It was a beautiful PacNW day, but not quite warm enough for our California girls to run through the fountain like the soaked local preschoolers we saw enjoying the place. I'd hate to think they're already growing out of that stage, so I'll blame their disinterest in running through the fountain on the cooler weather.

We also managed to see a good portion of the Oregon Zoo. We'd passed this up on previous trips because there's a lot of unique stuff to see, one of my favorites being the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI). But it was time to give it a go, and the cousins are always up for exercise. Fortunately, I'd packed (for some unknown reason) our family membership to the Santa Barbara Zoo. The card carried reciprocal entry agreements with the Oregon Zoo, so our $32 entry fee was waived, all for the price of a family membership at our own neighborhood zoo.
I'm tellin' ya', if you're going to visit zoos, museums and parks on your travels, be sure to look into your local memberships. Many have reciprocal agreements that provide either free entry or reduced-price entry. Memberships you'll use can save you a bundle in the long run.

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