Last Thursday I got to spend the day with Cousins Jasper and Kestrel. We haven’t gotten into warm summer weather, so outside activities were not calling to me. Also, Kestrel asked for a place “with activities”.
We caught the number 2 bus, then the Red line train, got on the super-fast elevator, and were right there in Washington Park. This park is huge, with 410 acres including the Oregon Zoo, the Hoyt Arboretum, a Vietnam War memorial, a Holocaust Memorial, Japanese and Rose Gardens, archery range, and nifty playground.
But the kids had asked for the Forestry Center, newly opened after Covid, so that’s where we were headed. It did not start well. “This isn’t where I thought we were going,” Kestrel said, sounding disappointed. “It’s not a forest.”
Not being the sort of Grandma to argue, I shrugged, “Well, we’ll go in, and if you hate it, we’ll leave.”
But as soon as we were inside, both kids found fun things to do. In an ’underground’ display, we found niches with puppets of skunks, rabbits, snails, and weasels. I sat on the stairs and enjoyed the show as almost 11 year old Kes and almost 13 year old Jasper played like little kids.
There were displays of the uses of forestry products and lumbering methods, but in each case, the kids made their own games. At the display showing how to plant young trees for reforestation, they made a game of passing the plastic soil back and forth. At the story-time corner, a tree-slab pillow fight broke out.
The most unexpected room was “Rethinking Fire” an installation exhibit of Bryan David Griffith’s artwork interpreting fire’s effect on the forest.
It was beautiful and delicate, bold and interactive, and really caught our attention.
When we had seen everything inside the Center, we headed off to look at the park map and see where to go next. Standing still for the first time in two hours, we realized that we were just not up for another adventure at that moment, filed the Rose Garden play area and Japanese Garden for another day, and caught the return transit home.
I love being able to see things with new eyes.