Thread: Salem, OR
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Old 04-04-2012, 10:44 AM   #2
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catilina
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Join Date: Feb 2007
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Re: Salem, OR

Welcome to Salem! We've been here almost a year and have been loving it! What part of Salem are you in? I live in south Salem so I mostly know what's around down here.

There are tons of parks but the weather has been so terrible lately! We usually just go to our small neighborhood park but when we feel like being adventurous we like to go to the park on Mildred Lane (in south Salem). I can't remember the name of it but the playgrounds are so fun! Also like Bush's Pasture Park, Minto Brown, and Riverfront Park. In the summer we like to go to one of the parks with a splash pad (Wes Bennett, on Baxter Rd. behind the Walmart in south Salem. Riverfront Park has one too but the bathrooms are quite a walk from the splash pad, so I don't love it! I think there's also some fountains for kids in front of the capitol.).

AC Gilbert House (children's museum) is a favorite. We've had a pass this year but it's about to run out. My kids can spend all day there, especially when the weather's nice and they can run around outside on the huge playground! The membership also gets you into OMSI in Portland and the Science Factory in Eugene and a bunch of out-of-state discovery museums.

There is also the Northwest Kids Club in south Salem (near Northern Lights Theater), but I think it's pricey so we never go. It's basically an indoor park. Northern Lights often has matinees of kids movies, and at $3/ticket, it can be a good option for a rainy day. There is a great little coffee shop in south Salem, just south of Trader Joe's, next door to Mother Goose resale on s. Commercial, called Latte Play. It is totally catered to parents with little ones, with two play areas full of toys and healthy, kid-friendly snacks and lunches on the menu (in addition to coffee, tea, etc). It's a great place to meet up with other mom friends and actually get to enjoy a conversation while the little ones play.

In the summer, my kids love to go to the Wednesday and Saturday markets and just walk around (and of course buy fresh produce. They think they hit the jackpot with a bag of sungold or cherry tomatoes and a basket of berries or a fresh young coconut!). Saturday Market just had it's first weekend, I think. Both markets are downtown, but in slightly different locations. And if it's rainy, we sometimes go to the Salem Public Market, on Rural and 12th (south Salem), open every Saturday morning. It's small but fun on occasion.

You can also tour/walk around inside the Capitol. We haven't done this yet but intend to! Deepwood Estates, Bush House, Oregon Garden (in Silverton). Of course there's the carousel at Riverfront Park (insider tip: if you take your kids to see the woodcarvers before riding the carousel, they almost always give the kids a free ride pass! They love the little visitors!). The downtown library has a great kids' area, and even better "discovery room," which has fun "exhibits" the kids can play with that change about every 6 weeks. The Mission Mill is fun, and free on Tuesdays (at least it used to be. We haven't gone in about a year). Maybe not that great for young kids, but my 5 1/2 year old and 3 year old have always enjoyed it (I've been forcing museums on them for years, though, so maybe they're just used to that kind of thing!). When the weather gets nicer and things start growing, we LOVE going berry picking as a family.

Hope that gives you a few ideas of what to do with your kiddos! Salem is a great place to have a family!
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