Located on the banks of the Willamette River in Portland, Oregon, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) has been an Oregon staple since 1906 with its meager beginnings as the City Hall Museum. The exhibitions in those days focused on natural resources. There was minimal growth until after World War II when funding and support began to come in.
The first version of OMSI was actually hosted in a private home. The city gave a plot of land to the OMSI in the mid-fifties. A group of volunteers laid the bricks and raised the roof and it opened June 7, 1958. Over a million people visit OMSI each year. It is a top science museum in the United States and is known the world around for its contributions to science. Today OMSI has a vision of transforming education through science, technology and design.
Explore a real life submarine; experience the life of a sailor. Daily tours from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. last 45 minutes. One gets to see where the men slept, ate, and lived. Look up the periscope. Discover how the sub works. Admission starts at $6.75/person; must be 3 years old to attend.
For an in-depth look at the submarine, the museum offers the Tech Tour. This tour lasts 3 hours and is for ages 12 and older. Ticket prices at $6.75/person.
Last but not least, one can now book a sleepover on the sub. The sub will hold 54 people. This 2-day activity is for grades 3-12. Topics discussed with be buoyancy, and a chance to explore. The price is $58/person. Advance reservations are required.
Most everyone loves to gaze at the stars. At OMSI star gazing is made easier by a visit to the planetarium. Prices start at $5.75/person. The planetarium offers special exhibits and various shows throughout the year. Now showing:
. Starry Nights Live - daily shows at 12:00 and 2:00 p.m.
. Perfect Little Planet - daily shows at 12:30 and 2:30 p.m.
. Laser and Galactic Odyssey - daily shows at 1:00 and 3:00 p.m.
. Astronaut - daily shows at 1:30 and 3:30 p.m.
. Laser MGMT - Friday and Saturday
. Laser Pink Floyd: The Dark Side of the Moon - Fridays and Saturdays at 9:30 p.m.
. Various Star Parties: Equinox, Meteor Showers, etc.
The Planetarium is open to field trips for students to learn about space.
The museum hosts five halls that are home to over 200 interactive exhibits.
. Celebrate Oregon Agriculture - an exhibit of photographs of Oregon's agriculture
. Our Ocean - a hands-on exhibit of sand, marine animals and art
. Renewable Energy - exhibit on how wind, water and sun work to create energy
. Eat Well, Play Well - an exhibit on nutrition and fitness
. Science on a Sphere - an exhibit of weather, animal migration and other things "worldly"
. Beginning the Journey - stages of human development
. Amazing Feats of Aging - explore the mysteries of aging
. Innovation Station - hands-on exhibit about robotics and innovative technologies
. Earthquake House - earthquake simulations
. Roots of Wisdom - traditional science meets cutting edge
Special exhibits are featured throughout the year. Journey to Space: The Exhibition will be showing through January 8, 2017.
Several labs make their home at the museum. The labs strive to promote learning through hands-on experiments that are both exciting and interesting.
. Design Lab - a combine science, technology and art
. Paleontology Lab - excavate real fossils and dinosaur bones
. Life Lab - science and animals
. Watershed Lab - create a river
. Discovery Lab - discover your family from a scientific perspective
. Chemistry Lab - chemistry experiments
. Physics Lab - experience static electricity
The Theory is the local on-site restaurant with seasonal menus, fresh, made from scratch recipes, and a farm to table philosophy. The location has spectacular river views. The setting is casual yet sophisticated. The menu boasts soups, salads, sandwiches, tacos, pizza and a kids menu. Prices are reasonable with the highest priced item at $9.50 for a sandwich and $12 for a gluten free pizza.
The restaurant is available for private parties as well. It can handle 180 for a sit down dinner and 225 for a reception. In addition, Theory can cater off-site events handling up to 2,000 guests.
The Empirical Cafe is also located inside the theater.
The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry is a must see destination when traveling in the Portland area. Exploration activities await kids of all ages. Explore, experience, and learn - the hallmark of every museum. By planning ahead one can take advantage of classes, camps, exhibits and overnights. Imagine the fantastic family memories one can build. Don't forget your future student - internships and fellowships await those who are keenly interested in science and industry.
Camps and Classes
OMSI offers a variety of camps and classes throughout the year. There are so many different options that is it difficult to do it justice. The camps are geared around the following subjects:
. Earth & Space Science
. Life Science
. Physical Science
. Skill Building
Campers can include children, youth, adults, and families and can be based in one of several options: Portland Metro, Desert, Coast, Mountains, and Rivers.
Types of camps include things from A-Z: animation and astronomy; biking and backpacking; cartoons and coastal adventures; cooking and concoctions; desert survival and design; farms and flight; galaxies and games; Lego robotics and Lego X-treme; seashores and star gazers; and wilderness survival. The options are almost limitless.
There is a theater on the museum campus. The shows are a combination of Hollywood blockbusters and top notch documentaries.
Admission and Parking
The museum is open seven days a week. Admission is free for members; non-member prices start at $14/adult. Senior discounts are available. The museum is located across the river from Portland State University and is just a few blocks off of I-5. Parking is available for $5. Accessible parking spaces are available nearer the door. Wheelchairs and motorized scooters are available at no cost to the customer. All requests are filled on a first come, first served basis. All venues can accommodate wheelchairs except the submarine.
The museum collaborates keenly with schools and groups to provide extended science and industry education. Activities such as field trips, camp outs, outdoor school, and travel are offered to groups of 12 or more.
Fellowships, Internships and Work Study
The museum is dedicated to learning. As a part of their programs they offer a Fellowship Program and an Internship. The Fellowship is open to professionals in academia, science and industry. The Fellowship offers advanced training that involves communications with audiences.
The Internships are for students wanting to put their education to use in real ways and gain real life experience. The terms are usually 12 weeks and are unpaid. The program is very competitive. The museum offers a variety of disciplines in which to complete one's internship. Applications are accepted fall, winter/spring and summer. Application deadlines apply.
For students who have received Federal funding for work study programs, the OMSI qualifies as a place of employment for those who are in a science education program. Check with your local financial aid office for details.
School and Group Programs
1945 SE Water Ave, Portland, OR 97214, Phone: 503-797-4000