Oaks Amusement Park in Portland, Oregon offers family friendly entertainment that includes carnival rides, thrill rides, a roller-skating rink and miniature golf course. Classic rides at the park include the Cosmic Crash, a bumper car ride, a giant Ferris wheel offering beautiful views of the Willamette River and downtown Portland, the Frog Hopper, a bouncing children’s ride, and the Tilt-A-Whirl.
A hand carved Herschell-Spillman Noah’s Ark carousel from 1911 is the highlight of the park’s original rides, and the oldest ride in the park. The carousel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The classic Spider ride has been operating at the park for over 50 years, while a miniature train offers guests views of the Willamette River and Portland’s West Hills. Classic carnival games include everything from balloon darts, to a basketball toss, water races and arcade games. A fun zone includes Skee-Ball, and Deal or No Deal in which players may collet tickets to redeem for prizes. Bob’s Fishing Hole is new to the park in 2018.
Among the park’s more thrilling rides is the Zero Gravity spinning ride, the midway classic was updated in 2017 for a faster thrill. The Tree Top Drop offers multiple free falls from 45 feet above the ground, while the Rock-O-Plane offers a Ferris wheel type ride in cages that spin upside down. The park’s Adrenaline Peak roller coaster opens in March of 2018. The extreme ride will feature a 72-foot drop of over 90 degrees and 3 inversions throughout the high-speed ride.
A roller skating rink at the park is open year round. The world famous rink offers 20,000 square feet of flawless maple flooring making it among the largest roller-skating rinks in America. Guests may rent conventional or precision roller skates, inline skates or high performance inline skates, or Fisher-Price skates for young beginners. A miniature golf course at the park is located beneath several historic oak trees, and offers a view of the Willamette River.
History: Operating since 1905, the Oaks Amusement Park is one of the oldest in the United States. The 44-acre park soon became known as the ‘Coney Island of the northwest’ in reference to the famous New York trolley park that first opened in the late 1800’s. Oaks Amusement Park was built by the Oregon Water Power and Railway Company and timed to open in celebration of the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition. Theme parks were often built around streetcar lines in the early 1900’s. The ‘trolley parks,’ as they were known, were a pre-curser to amusement parks, most simply offering a picnic area, dance pavilion or swimming area. Many were converted to amusement parks with the arrival of Ferris Wheels, carousels and the first small roller coasters.
Oaks Amusement Park was purchased by Edward Bollinger in 1925 and by 1943 Bollinger had acquired the park’s land as well. Bollinger’s son, Robert, created the Oaks Park Association in 1986, and subsequently donated the park to the non-profit organization, which continues to manage the historical site today. Over 30,000 guests visit the park each month during the summer when all attractions are open.
Ongoing Programs and Education: Picnic amenities at the park have room for groups of 60 to 4,000. A picnic package includes use of kitchen facilities for outside caterers, or the guests’ choice of inside catering. Alcohol service is available, and all groups receive discounts on ride tickets. The park, roller-skating rink and miniature golf course are all popular as company picnic, birthday party and family gathering locations. A historic dance pavilion at the park can seat up to 500 guests and is popular as a location for weddings and other events. In operation since the park’s opening, the dance pavilion has hosted the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and some of the most famous big band leaders of the 1920’s, such as Patrick Conway and John Philip Sousa.
Specials at the park include School Out Skate, offering discounted weekday rentals for days when school is not in session. Spring Break specials offer discounts on premier ride bracelets during the park’s season opening week. Pre-School Play and Skate takes places each Tuesday and Wednesday morning, incorporating games, activities and children’s music into the skating hour. Kid’s Morning Skate takes place each Saturday, and incorporates a lesson, children’s music and a visit from the park’s mascot, Chipper the Squirrel, for 90-minutes of entertainment geared towards ages 10 and under.
7805 SE Oaks Park Way Portland, OR 97202, Phone: 503-233-5777
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