For a small city, Eugene, Oregon packs a big punch in regard to entertainment for families. Immerse yourself in the free-spirited arts culture, explore the area by bike, or cheer on a college sports team. Whether your kids are in the mood for a museum or an active outdoor adventure, this fun-loving city has your getaway covered. When you’re searching for Eugene vacation rentals, consider their proximity to these popular local attractions.

1. Learn About the Area

Explore the history of the Cascades region at the Museum of Natural and Cultural History. Start with the Paisley Caves exhibit, which provides a fascinating look at the earliest people to live in the United States. In the Oregon – Where Past Is Present area, you can trace the progression of ancient tribes. Don’t miss the Glenn Starlin Native Plant Courtyard, where your kids can identify local plants on the interpretive path. The museum also hosts a variety of kid-friendly presentations; check out the monthly Little Wonders event or the guided Walk and Talk tours.

2. Check out Rescued Raptors

Get a close look at birds of prey at the Cascades Raptor Center. The facility takes in wounded birds, rehabilitates them, and releases them back into the wild. Visit during a Family Nature Discovery Day to visit the center’s permanent residents, enjoy kid-specific activities, and listen to talks by wildlife professionals. When no events are scheduled, your family can walk through the forested area to see more than 50 birds that live in enormous aviaries around the property.

3. Become Mad Scientists

Encourage your kids’ curiosity at the Science Factory, an interactive museum and planetarium. Here, children can turn a huge Archimedes Screw, check out the entertaining Recylotron, and learn how to test water quality. In the Tot Spot, your tiniest scientists can play with bead mazes, examine specimens on the light table, and build exciting structures out of blocks. Be sure to visit the planetarium, which hosts immersive shows about black holes, rocket launches, and more.

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4. Visit the Saturday Market

Feel like a Eugene local at the Saturday Market, which happens at the intersection of 8th and Oak in the city’s downtown areas. Head to the Market Stage to watch local musical acts, and wander through the market to see more than 200 Oregon artisans. When you need a break, the International Food Court offers more than 15 food stands. Across the street, the Lane County Farmers Market provides freshly made bread, cheeses, and local vegetables.

5. Explore the Mount Pisgah Arboretum

Explore a living tree museum at the Mount Pisgah Arboretum, one of Eugene’s most beautiful outdoor spots. Here, your kids can run along trails by the river, marvel at meadows covered with wildflowers, and explore oak savannahs. While you’re there, check the Walks and Workshops program schedule to find guided nature hikes and unique classes. Sessions cover a variety of topics that are fun for the whole family. Learn how to weave a basket, or join a guide on a bird-watching trip through the park.

6. Play Outdoors

Head to Eugene’s most-loved playground at Skinner Butte Park. At the RiverPlay Discovery Village Playground, kids can climb into a child-sized stagecoach, climb a tall rock wall, and pretend to be settlers on a ferry replica. Let your imagination run wild in Pioneer Village, which is modeled after historic, 1800s-era Eugene. On hot days, cool off in the Rain Circle water play element. After you’re done, head over to the real rock walk to watch climbers scale the sheer face.

7. Go for a Hike

Get out of the city on the Ridgeline Trail, a hiking route that sits just south of Eugene. The trail extends more than 12 miles, so you can turn around at any point to create a custom loop that suits your kids’ energy levels. The Ridgeline Trail starts in beautiful Hendricks Park, so it’s easy to find parking and bathrooms. After your hike, head to the park’s rhododendron garden to see more than 6,000 flower varieties in bloom.

8. Catch a Football Game

If you’re visiting Eugene during football season, join the fun at a Ducks game. The well-attended games take place at Autzen Stadium on the campus of The University of Oregon. Enjoy snacks from the onsite food stands, and join in the cheers from students and fans. Tickets are available online, so it’s easy to choose your seats in advance.

9. Spend an Evening at the Theater

Enjoy the magic of theater at the Hult Center for the Performing Arts. This spectacular 2000-seat facility hosts a full season of performances including opera, ballet, concerts, and plays. If your kids are older, look out for the comedians that come to the venue on national tours. For a more intimate experience, check out an event in the smaller 500-seat theater.

10. Try Biking

Explore Oregon’s beautiful scenery on two wheels at the McKenzie River National Recreation Trail. Located less than an hour from Eugene, this 26-mile trail takes you past waterfalls and through stands of old-growth trees. Stop to fish in the river and walk across log bridges. Alternatively, head to the Covered Bridges Scenic Bikeway in nearby Cottage Grove to pedal through historic wooden structures over the Row River. The paved Row River Trail extends more than 15 miles along the river, so your kids can ride without worrying about traffic.

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