The city of Salem, Oregon is the state capital and about 45 minutes south of Portland. According to the 2011 U.S. census estimate, it has a population of about 156,244. With the scenic Willamette River running through it and a bustling downtown, Salem provides visitors and residents with a variety of activities for the kids.
Salem Gymnastics Center (mysalemgymnasticscenter.com) provides children with the opportunity to develop gymnastics and dance skills while learning to interact as a team, set goals and achieve success through hard work. It offers tumbling, trampoline, "kindergym" and recreational gymnastics classes for both boys and girls. Discovery School of Dance (discoveryschoolsalem.com) features dance classes for 2- to 17-year-olds in ballet, jazz, tap, Irish dance and hip-hop. The YMCA (youry.org) provides classes and lessons for kids in dance, martial arts, sports, swimming and cheerleading.
Museums and Points of Interest
The AC Gilbert's Discovery Village (acgilbert.org) is a children's museum dedicated to inspiring kids to learn and develop a natural curiosity. Interactive exhibits include giant-sized story books that emphasize math, a miniature grocery store, which educates kids about food groups and shopping expenses, and an environment that allows kids to explore time and motion in brilliant colors. The NW Kids Club (nwkidsclub.net) offers an indoor playground especially for 1- to 7-year-olds featuring a play market, a train room and a princess room. The Salem Riverfront Carousel (salemcarousel.wix.com) is another kid-friendly option, offering daily rides.
The city of Salem (cityofsalem.net) provides numerous parks and recreational areas, which are perfect for children to roam and play. Woodmansee Park (no website; 4629 Sunnyside Road SE; 503-588-6336) features a playground, BBQ pits, picnic areas, tennis courts and soccer fields. Orchard Heights Park (no website; 1165 Orchard Heights Road NW; 503-588-6336) is a 29-acre green space with an orchard area and a meandering creek amid playgrounds, sports fields, picnic tables and walking paths. Riverfront Park (no website; 200 Water Street NE; 503-588-6336) rests along the river, providing plenty of open green space and play equipment.
Chuck E. Cheese (chuckecheese.com) is an exciting place for the kids where they can eat pizza, playing arcade and redemption games, as well as enjoy climbing toys and motorized rides. Often, the Chuck E. Cheese the mascot even makes an appearance giving out hugs and high fives. The Salem Fun Factory (salemfunfactory.com) is a roller-skating facility with pizza and bounce toys available as well. Northgate Bowl (northgatebowl.com) offers bowling in a family-friendly environment along with a video arcade and a snack bar.