Oaks Amusement Park
When you think of Portland, chances are good that you don’t automatically think of amusement parks. Portland does, however, have its own little amusement park on the east side of the Willamette River, and Oaks Park has been serving up family fun since 1905.
Oaks Amusement Park covers 44 acres, so it’s small by most amusement park standards, and it’s one of the oldest in the United States. The park includes many of the kinds of rides you’d expect in an amusement park, like a roller coaster, bumper cars and ferris wheel, as well as a big wooden roller skating rink that’s open year-round. At the center of the roller rink is a big pipe organ, adding to the nostalgic feel, although the organist is not at the keys all the time. Outside the roller skating rink, the park operates on weekends only during the spring and into the early autumn, and almost daily during the summer.
In addition to the usual midway fun of an amusement park, Oaks Park is also a great place to hold events like birthday parties, weddings, dances and holiday gatherings. Both the roller skating rink and the historic dance pavilion are available for holding such events.
Because Oaks Amusement Park is right next to the Willamette River and this area is known for getting a bit of rain in the winter, the park has been known to flood in the past. In order to protect the wooden floor of the roller skating rink from rising waters, it was refitted to rest on top of floating pontoons. When there is a danger of flooding, the floor is detached from the rest of the building and the floor floats safely above the damaging water. Once the water has subsided, the floor is reattached – with no harm done.
For more information about the kinds of rides available at Oaks Park, the park has them broken down on their website into the following categories – thrill rides, intermediate rides and kid’s rides. Personally, I wish they’d rename the last category to something like “rides for people who value their life and who wish to keep the contents of their stomachs inside their bodies” so I wouldn’t feel so sheepish about not wanting to move up the “thrill” ladder.
Hours: The amusement park is open on weekends in the spring and early autumn, and almost every day during the summer. The roller skating rink is open year-round. For the current amusement park calendar, see the hours page. For more information on the roller rink calendar of events, see this page.
Admission: Amusement park – Free to enter (except on July 4th and during Oktoberfest), the rides each cost something (you can purchase a bracelet which entitles you to a certain number of rides, or you can purchase rides individually); more information about prices here
Roller rink – $5.75 usually, some evenings $6.75 (skate rental starts at $1.50); special events cost more
Tips: During the summer, there are various days which have discounts or freebies attached to them – like Two for One Tuesdays and Family Fun Days on Thursdays. More information here.
More Information: Official Oaks Park website is here