Reviews & Photos
July 22 2016
1 family found this helpful
Joseph Branch Railriders
304 North Main Street,
"We did the tour from Joseph to Enterprise which was a 2 hour tour. The scenery was stunning! Bring sunscreen, hats and sunglasses as there isn't a lot of shade during your ride. Cold drinks are available for purchase or bring your own!"
My 8-year-old son and I did our annual mama/son camping trip to Joseph this last weekend and I made it my mission to do a few things we have never done before! We had heard a lot about the Railriders tours and so I showed my son the information and he got very excited. Railriders are special cars that run along railroad tracks that are no longer being used by trains. The "cars" you ride on are powered by YOU! They are similar to recumbent style bikes, but have 4 wheels that run along the rails. You pedal them and move at the pace that works for you. The cars are geared low enough that going up hill is a little bit of a challenge, but not too hard and they are pretty awesome during those downhill coasting sessions!
The tour I booked was the Joseph to Enterprise tour, which is 2 hours and 12 miles (round-trip). You are surrounded by the Wallowa Mountains and our active Oregon family farms and ranchesduring the ride. The scenery could not have been prettier and we had a beautiful sunny day which got quite warm towards the end!
Joseph sits at a higher elevation than Enterprise, so the first half of the ride is all "downhill". The grade is around 1.2% on average, but it is some work when the cars are turned around and you have to ride back. We are not avid bikers and were really feeling our legs upon our return, but we felt a huge sense of accomplishment that we didn't need any help. There were a few moments where I thought we might! Help is available if you need it though. The tour guide has a motorized car that will help push you along if you decide you need an extra boost and there were people on our tour who wanted it, so it is used!
For folks who might like a longer ride, there is a 26 mile (round-tip) option available between the towns of Minam and Wallowa. The grade on that ride is 1% and the tour is around 6 hours making it better suited for older kids and more adventurous souls!
My son really loved this and said it deserved a 5 star rating. He says kids 8 and up should do pretty well peddling although some parts were harder than others. I really enjoyed the tour too. We would highly recommend the tour for folks of all ages. Smaller kids are also welcome to join, but probably won't be much help when it comes to peddling because their feet wont reach the peddles. They can sit back and enjoy the ride in car seats in the adjacent seat to their parents.
We want to thank the folks at Joseph Branch Railriders for hosting our tour and helping us get the "wiggles" out before our 6 hour drive home. As always, the opinions expressed here are our own and we were under no obligation to leave a positive review - they earned it!
June 11 2016
2 families found this helpful
Lewis and Clark Caverns
"Awesome caving and camping!"
During a roadtrip to Yellowstone we headed toward Butte, MT so we could camp at Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park.
The campground is right off the road, and was very easy to find. There isn’t too much in the way of shade in most spots so expect being exposed to the elements. Once the sun drops behind the hills around 8:00p you will be relieved of the sun.
There is a really nice playground for kids which was nice to run some of the energy off. The kids were having a blast. The campground was packed with families and seems to be quite popular.
The campground has flushing toilets, showers ($2.00/5-minutes), and our site had a fire ring, picnic table, water and electric.
There is a visitor’s center right next to the campground that gives information about the caverns which are up the hill about 5 minutes by car. You can pick up a Jr. Ranger Packet and badges here as well!
Make sure you head up the hill to see the view, even if you aren’t able to go into the cave. It is a bit of a hike to get to the cave entrance, and being at altitude makes it even harder than usual. Just be aware of that as you find you are a little winded quicker than usual!
The cave is one of the best I have been to. It is a series of steps up and down, you have to slide along the rock at one point, and you see some amazing formations. All tours are guided, which will give you better understanding of the geological features and the guides are full of explanations, plenty of puns and jokes, and show you everything you might want to see. It was great! If you are lucky, you might even see some of the bats that call the caverns home! The fees to tour the caverns are $10/adult and $5/kid.
This is an area I would love to bring my husband back to, as he wasn’t able to join us. It is a really amazing and ever-changing place. The campground gives you everything you need as well and we would recommend staying here. It is only about 2 hours from the West Entrance of Yellowstone also, which gave us an easy drive to Madison Campground for our next night of our trip.
May 09 2016
0 families found this helpful
11945 SW Pacific Hwy Suite #121,
"Harness your inner Katniss or Robin Hood!"
Last summer we enrolled my son into PDX Trackers camp. This is an outdoors camp in Portland and it was perfect because he really wanted to learn archery. He spent a week running through the forest, visiting archery ranges, and learning all of the aspects of beginning archery. He was completely hooked and was asking for his own bow. We held off until Christmas, when we surprised him.
What we didn't realize is that our entire family was going to follow in his footsteps and we all have bows now! With that being the case, we needed a place to go since open shooting isn't allowed within city limits (unless you are at one of our archery ranges).
We did a quick search, asked some friends and all paths pointed to Archers Afield. This place has everything you need from an awesome shop with compound and recurve bows to all of the accessories you need to shoot them. The folks working here will set up your new bow just for your body as well and are super nice and very supportive. Kids are very welcome here and are included in tournaments and there are lots of classes set up just for them. There are weekly classes for home-schoolers and evening classes for families to come in and learn to shoot together. There are also intro classes for adults who want to learn the basics.
They have 2 indoor ranges open for shooting. You pay a lane fee by the day and can shoot as long as you like. Bow rentals are available if you want to try it out before investing in your own bow. This is a great way to go to figure out which bow strength will work best for you.
When you get comfortable you can participate in the tournaments they host, and if your kiddo wants a "Hunger Games" or "Robin Hood" themed birthday you can call them to book! They have a special area where birthday parties are hosted.
If you are looking for a great family-friendly place to do archery, it doesn't get better than this. Check them out!
April 21 2016
0 families found this helpful
World of Speed Museum
27490 SW 95th Ave. ,
Today we drove down to Wilsonville to check out the relatively new World of Speed Museum. I say relatively because tomorrow they celebrate their first anniversary! Exciting!
I have a couple of Top Gear fans in my house and my husband likes to drive around tracks and coaches racing, so we thought this would be right up our alley. The Museum is really nicely laid out and has a little something for everyone.
My favorite thing was the wall of sound.
My husband's favorite things were the midgets (type of car).
My son's favorite thing was how inclusive everything was, especially for kids!
There is the Kids Start Line Club right at the front doors and it is designed for kids play. Inside the room they have a GT that has been retrofitted with a screen that talks about driving on the track and the kids get to play as much as they like inside. There are also books to read, cars to build, walls to draw on, mini-simulators to ride, and other self-propelled "vehicles" too! It is great!
In the main exhibit area they have a large collection of vehicles on display. The main focus of the museum is to highlight the various drivers and clubs from the Pacific Northwest, which not only includes cars of all types, but motorcycles and boats too! In the main exhibit hall we saw drag racers, classic cars that had been lovingly restored and cars that have broken land speed records. There were also cars that have a more famous focus (outside of the Northwest). Danica Patrick, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. have cars in the museum also! There are midgets and Formula 1 cars as well as a pretty amazing banking wall that really shows how much of a slant those drivers race on!
As you continue along, you will see loads of different old TVs, turn tables, jukebox, and radios. We were able to introduce our son to an 8-track player and we listened to different music inspired by driving. They even have one of Gene Simmons Axe guitars on display (#160)! Kids and adults are allowed to play with them as much as they like! So cool! The other really interactive space is in what they call the "Power Plant". They have interactive displays teaching about fuel injection and supercharges. The boys both thought this was super cool!
There is a replica shop called Bucky's Speed Shop which gives one an idea of what things looked like for folks looking for parts (my husband says he still sees shops like this one in operation!).
I really liked the focus on female drivers as well. There is a display featuring several women who have been exceptional drivers from the Northwest. Michelle Miller, a rally champion, has car is on display too and will be giving a talk at the museum.
The motorcycle display features Portland's famous Sidewinders' track and club. They have original posters and jackets and a good number of bikes including Denny Edwards' Triumph Motorcycle. He was the Flying Irishman, and it appears he may be coming out of retirement to jump again!
Lastly, the simulators were another of my son's favorite things. They are $10 for 10 minutes of driving. The cars are actual race cars that have been retrofitted with large screens and a bit of feedback for the driver. My son was a bit small, but with a nice block and some instruction from Mike (the man working there) and my husband he did just fine.
The museum focuses on education and building knowledge through several programs and speakers. Groups are invited in and taught in state of the art class rooms. We saw a Girl Scout Troop coming out as we were going in! There is also an archive room that holds a great collection of paraphernalia and treasures!
The museum also has a really nice cafe attached run by Elephant's Delicatessen and there is a really nice gift shop as well.
This was a fun couple of hours out and we found it really interesting. When you add entry with simulator fees, it can get a little expensive in our opinion. We would recommend making the trip to the World of Speed though!
Many thanks to the World of Speed for hosting our visit! As always, the opinions expressed here are our own and we were under no obligation to leave a positive review.
April 11 2016
0 families found this helpful
California Academy of Sciences
55 Music Concourse Drive,
We went to the Bay Area for a wedding last year and had a couple of days to explore. One of the day's we headed over to the California Academy of Sciences. We LOVE a science museum and this really sounded like it was going to fit the bill. It did not disappoint. Our only disappointment was that we ran out of time and didn't get to see everything!
We loved checking out the earthquake exhibit, and the Aquarium. The colorful tanks with fish from all over the world looked healthy and happy. We were able to have a look at fish from the Philippines, which was fun because we had a trip planned there. The touch tank was great and students were doing experiments with an octopus, so we watched that for a bit. She was studying social habits of the octopus, which was really interested.
One thing we loved was going up to the upper floors and we had a look at drawing skulls and learned about various species.
The next time we are down, we will definitely head back here to explore more. We really loved this and would recommend it highly!