10 Best Kid-Friendly Places In Bend And Central Oregon

10 Best Kid-Friendly Places In Bend And Central Oregon

10 Best Kid-Friendly Places for Entertainment in Central Oregon

Central Oregon is one of those places that just abounds with kid-friendly places and entertainments for all ages.  Even though there are definite seasons in this part of the United States, no matter what the season, you can always find kid-friendly things to do here.  

Before moving to Central Oregon 6 years ago, we vacationed here for 9 years and during that time, our kids were in their late junior high and early high school years.  The recreational possibilities were astounding then and they have gotten even better in all these many years since we started coming to Central Oregon.

For kids of any age – from 1 to 92 – you will never be disappointed in Central Oregon as there are always things to do and places to be.  Come along with me and take a look at my pick for 10 best kid-friendly places for entertainment in Central Oregon. 

See all 6 photos

Photo Credit: Wikipedia.com

High Desert Museum

The High Desert Museum is one of the coolest museums you will ever see because it is not your typical ‘museum’.  It’s alive!  Come visit the High Desert Museum and see such things as the Birds of Prey Exhibit (usually these are birds that cannot return to the wild and have been saved and now live at the museum), the Changing Forest Exhibit, the Mustang Corral, the Wildlife Observation Exhibit, and the Otter Exhibit.

There are wildlife experts on staff who give talks and demonstrations throughout the day.  This is a great museum for the entire family and you get a chance to learn more about wildlife here on the high mountain desert. 

There is a cafe located on premises – the Rimrock Cafe – which is also kid-friendly and is a welcome stop after a day of bustling about the museum.  Take some of the trails as well or stop in to see the gallery.  Check out the covered wagon on display as well. 

Hours are year round and the only days the museum is closed are Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.  May 1st through October 31st, hours are 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  November 1st through April 30th, hours are 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

You can even rent out the High Desert Museum for events such as weddings or parties. 

Even though we’ve been to the High Desert Museum many times over the years, it is always changing and the exhibits are always new and exciting.  Come see for yourself!

Oh – and if you have pets with you, High Desert Museum is ‘pet-friendly’ in that they offer free of charge crates for your pets in the shade to keep them from getting too hot in the car. 

Goody’s Soda Fountain and Candy Store

Voted Central Oregon’s Sweet Spot and Best Place for a Milkshake , you simply have to check out Goody’s if you have kids and you are in Central Oregon.

Goody’s Chocolates has long been a tradition in Central Oregon though they now have a store in Boise as well. When we first started coming to SunRiver there was a Goody’s in the town square in the SunRiver Mall Village. No matter what season we came to visit, we always had at least one trip over to Goody’s for ice cream sundaes. Their ice cream is all handmade and hand packed and it is out of this world.

Add to the flavor of the ice cream the fact that it is served in an old fashioned ice cream parlor makes it all the better as you munch away on delicate waffle bowl cones. The store is always packed, no matter what time of year.

But ice cream isn’t the only thing Goody’s is famous for! Goody’s chocolates are now sold on-line as well and are famous for their great taste and quality. They have an old-fashioned display case full of everything from pralines to caramels and huge old-time jars of candies of every type you can think of from jelly beans to licorice ropes.

Goody’s has always been a favorite hang-out for kids and ours were no exception. They were always bringing back treats for later from Goody’s and now that there are more shops (one in Redmond, 2 in Bend) it makes it even easier to stop in after a movie and grab an ice cream float or a waffle cone.

For the young at heart and a great kid-friendly spot for dessert, check out Goody’s! You won’t be disappointed! They are open 7 days a week at all locations.

Mavericks at SunRiver

For adventure on several levels, Mavericks at SunRiver is the place to be for kids of all ages. Located on the north side of SunRiver towards Bend, Mavericks is actually a health club but this like no health club you have seen before!

In addition to the standard health club machines, Mavericks has the most authentic rock-climbing wall in Central Oregon.

It also sports the FlowRider permanent wave machine. You have to watch the video to appreciate the possibilties.  There is also a water slide and an indoor pool.

There is also a half-court basketball court, yoga and spinning classes available (for the older kids at heart) and state-of-the-art exercise equipment.

Call Mavericks at SunRiver for hours of operation as they change at different times of the year. If you are staying through certain properties in the SunRiver area, there are perks and privileges for guests.

This is a unique place that plans on growing in the future. They have plans for an outdoor pool as well though SunRiver has many pools throughout the resort community.

Mavericks at SunRiver

McMenamins Old St. Francis School Movie Theater

Most kids love going to the movies, and although Central Oregon, Bend in particular, has several movie theaters, nothing is quite like experiencing the movies at McMenamins.

The Old St. Francis School used to be a catholic school and has now been converted into a complex that incorporates a large restaurant, complete with a large patio for outdoor seating, several bars, a pub, lodging of several kinds and the movie theater.

While the movies are not ‘new releases’ they are close behind and usually the most popular ones.  They are all the movies you would see at the ‘regular cinema’ and then a few others that are totally unique.  The ambiance of McMenamins though is the stuff dreams are made of.

McMenamins is a family-oriented business and one of the best kid-friendly places to visit in Central Oregon. Check for movie times but movies are shown daily as well as having kiddie matinees.

McMenamins also has several locations throughout Oregon and Washington so if you are traveling, be sure to check out their movie theaters as well.

See all 6 photos
Public Domain photos
See all 6 photos
View through lava tubes

Dee Wright Observatory

The Dee Wright Observatory is a wonderful kid-friendly place to visit in Central Oregon – and something you’ll be amazed by once you see it. The Dee Wright Observatory was formed from lava flow rocks and is one of the most popular viewing spots in Central Oregon.

To reach the Dee Wright Observatory, you drive 15 miles west of Sisters, Oregon on the McKenzie Pass in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon. As you drive, you leave the typical trees and underbrush of the high mountain desert behind and enter the land of lava. It is breathtaking to see the extent of the lava flows that washed over this area of the country virtually wiping out almost all vegetation – though there are a few hardy plants and trees that still manage to root themselves and survive.

At the very peak of the pass you come upon the Dee Wright Observatory which looks like it blends right in with the lava flows. There are interpretative trails you can hike from the observatory and you can also go inside and look through the many lava tubes.

On a good day, you can see up to 19 different mountains and buttes! It’s a great place to study a little bit of the history of Central Oregon. Follow it up with a trip to the Lava Rock Cave further south of Bend or the Lava Lands Visitor Center.

Due to the elevation at Dee Wright Observatory at 5235 feet, this region gets a lot of snow and the roads are closed from November through July. Check for road closures before going but July through November, it is a wondrous place for kids of all ages!

There are many restaurants back in Sisters, Oregon including 2 great places to get ice cream – Sno Cap Ice Cream and BJ’s Ice Cream! There are also numerous family oriented restaurants in the charming city of Sisters.

Sun Mountain Fun Center

Sun Mountain Fun Center has been something our family has enjoyed since we were coming here on vacation years ago. This is a great kid-friendly place to visit in Central Oregon and the only drawback is that you may have a hard time getting the kids to leave!

This is a family-owned business that has been in Bend since 1986. They are located right off Highway 97 in Bend near Macy’s. Check out some of the great fun things to do at Sun Mountain Fun Center:

Water wars
Bumper cars
Miniature golf
Batting cages

They also have a kid-friendly eatery serving pizza and other favorite kid foods – Sunny’s Cafe.

Sun Mountain Fun Center is a great hang-out for kids of any age and they are open year round. Monday through Saturday they are open noon to 10:00 p.m., Sunday noon to 8:00 p.m.

Outdoor Skating Rink at Inn at the Seventh Mountain

For those wintry days when you are looking for activities that are kid-friendly, the Inn at the Seventh Mountain has the answer – their outdoor skating rink.

When winter roars through Central Oregon, there are a lot of happy people – those folks who happen to love downhill or cross-country skiing, sledding, snowmobiling, etc. However, for kids, one of the best things about winter is putting on ice skates and going skating. This outdoor skating rink is just the ticket for kids of all ages.

The rink is located on premises at the Inn at the 7th Mountain (also referred to as Seventh Mountain Resort) and usually closes in April. Once winter arrives though, call for hours of operation and enjoy this unique experience at a lovely outdoor skating rink.

Bend is just minutes away but there are two kid-friendly restaurants on the premises as well – The Seasons Restaurant and Big Eddy Cafe. Bring on the hot chocolate!

See all 6 photos

Photo Credit: Image used with written permission of Vanessa Berning, Seventh Mountain Resort

Wheel Fun Rentals in Old Mill District and Lunch or Dinner

Weather permitting, Wheel Fun Rentals in the Old Mill District in Bend has bike rentals at the north end of the shopping area. Check out the picture for what kinds of bikes are available.

This is a super kid-friendly place to visit – the Old Mill District – with its great restaurants from Red Robin to steakhouses to Ben and Jerry Ice Cream to Italian restaurants – and all right on the Deschutes River.

Rent the following types of bikes at Wheel Fun Rentals and make a day of it – or rent for longer if you like!

Surreys – 2-seater or 4-seater
Mountain Bikes
Tandem bikes
Kids bikes of all sizes
Baby jogger

You can ride in Bend for miles and miles on paved trails – or you can ride from the Old Mill District up to downtown Bend and back again, turn in your bike and go for a float on the Deschutes River – or pop into Red Robin for lunch or dinner.

Hours during the summer are 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. 7 days a week – in fall, Fridays and Saturdays 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. You can even run your dog beside you on one of the surreys or coupes and exercise them as well!

See all 6 photos
Picture by Audrey Kirchner

Bend Elks Baseball

What could be more fun than a real old-fashioned baseball game? Especially one that didn’t cost you a week’s salary to attend!

There is not a more kid-friendly place to be than at a baseball field and the Bend Elks Baseball Club is a remarkable step back in time to old-fashioned kinds of things like wooden baseball stands!

The games are played in Vince Genna Stadium which is located just off old 97 in Bend. You are so close to the game that you can almost see if the players have shaved or not! The games that we’ve attended, we’ve watched the players manicure and line the field before their game started and again midway through the game.

The players are mostly farm club players but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t wonderful ball players.  A few have gone on to bigger and better things and every once in a while, you’ll catch a pro player in the making.   

The games run from June through August.  Most places in Bend have schedules posted or you can find the schedule on line. Tickets are really inexpensive.

Enjoy a dinner of ball park hot dogs and the usual ballgame fare while you sit in the wooden stands and watch the sun set majestically in the west over Mt. Bachelor. Beer and wine are served in the beer garden.

There is also fall ball at the Vince Genna Stadium and you just might be able to see some of the up-and-coming high school players playing at America’s favorite past-time.

See all 6 photos
Paddleboarding at SunRiver

Photo Credit:  Image used with the written permission of SunRiver Resort

SunRiver Marina and Trout House

One of the most kid-friendly places in all of Central Oregon is Sunriver Resort in beautiful SunRiver.  Whether you are just visiting for the day or staying there for vacation, no matter what time of year, kids will not find a happier place.  They say Disneyland is the happiest place on earth but I disagree – I think it’s SunRiver!

The SunRiver Marina and Trout House is but one venue to enjoy at SunRiver, whether you stay at the resort, rent from the many real estate companies in and around SunRiver, or you just drive down from Bend or environs for some fun. 

The marina is a great place to rent boats of several different kinds – kayaks, canoes, or rafts.  We’ve rented all of them and found them all to be a great way to spend time together and get out on the water. 

You can rent your boats right beside the Trout House Restaurant and set off for a leisurely float down the Deschutes River.  Along the way, you’ll see much wildlife and many beautiful sites.  The entire float trip usually lasts about 2 hours but you can put in on the shore and swim or eat lunch.  However, after you reach a certain sign on the river, you can paddle yourself in the direction of that fork in the river and be shuttled back to the marina – free of charge!

After a nice float on the river, stop in at the Trout House for breakfast, lunch or dinner in their wonderful restaurant overlooking the Deschutes.  Their menu is perfect for any age and their food is always superb. 

If you happen to be in SunRiver in winter, there are wonderful snowshoeing and cross country skiing trails down by the marina  – and the Trout House is open as well though more limited hours. 

Marina at SunRiver

10 Best Kid-Friendly Places for Entertainment in Central Oregon

These are but a few of the great kid-friendly places for entertainment in Central Oregon. I could list many, many more but these are some of my favorite.

No matter what your age, there is always much to see and do in Central Oregon and all of it is kid-friendly. It is a place in the world where life is a little slower and people actually care about things like wildlife and the beauty of the country around them.  It is a place where people believe in families and sharing good times together. 

Any season of the year, kids will find an abundance of things to keep them happy and healthy – and if you are visiting, they will leave with fond memories. Some of our kids’ best memories are here in Central Oregon and it is a place full of possibilities.

10 Best Kid-Friendly Places in Central Oregon

show route and directionshide route and directions

Show driving directionswalking directionsbicycling directions with distances in mileskilometers

Wheel Fun Rentals –
Mill Terrace Pl, Bend, OR 97702, USA 541.408.4568
[get directions]

SunRiver Marina –
57235 River Rd, Sisters-Millican, OR 97707 541.593.3492
[get directions]

Sun Mountain Fun Center –
300 NE Bend River Mall Dr, Bend, OR 97701, USA 541.382.6161
[get directions]

Goody’s in Bend on Wall Street –
957 NW Wall St, Bend, OR 97701, USA 541.389.5185
[get directions]

Dee Wright Observatory –
Dee Wright Observatory, La Pine, OR 97413, USA
[get directions]

Mavericks at SunRiver –
18135 Cottonwood Rd, Sisters-Millican, OR 97707 541.593.2500
[get directions]

Bend Elks Stadium –
Bend, OR 97708, USA
[get directions]

Vince Genna Stadium –
Genna Stadium, Bend, OR 97702, USA
[get directions]

High Desert Museum –
High Desert Museum, 59800 S Hwy 97, Bend, OR 97702, USA
[get directions]

Seventh Mountain Resort Skating Rink –
18575 SW Century Dr, Bend, OR 97702, USA 541.382.8711
[get directions]

{“lat”:44.07235,”lng”:-121.55014,”zoom”:9,”mapType”:”ROADMAP”,”markers”:[{“id”:”2866″,”lat”:44.03672,”lng”:-121.320297,”name”:”Wheel Fun Rentals”,”address”:”Mill Terrace Pl, Bend, OR 97702, USA 541.408.4568″,”description”:””},{“id”:”2867″,”lat”:43.883541,”lng”:-121.457451,”name”:”SunRiver Marina”,”address”:”57235 River Rd, Sisters-Millican, OR 97707 541.593.3492″,”description”:””},{“id”:”2868″,”lat”:44.085064,”lng”:-121.302147,”name”:”Sun Mountain Fun Center”,”address”:”300 NE Bend River Mall Dr, Bend, OR 97701, USA 541.382.6161″,”description”:””},{“id”:”2869″,”lat”:44.05954,”lng”:-121.313545,”name”:”Goody’s in Bend on Wall Street”,”address”:”957 NW Wall St, Bend, OR 97701, USA 541.389.5185″,”description”:””},{“id”:”2870″,”lat”:44.260559,”lng”:-121.80056,”name”:”Dee Wright Observatory”,”address”:”Dee Wright Observatory, La Pine, OR 97413, USA”,”description”:””},{“id”:”2871″,”lat”:43.897419,”lng”:-121.421196,”name”:”Mavericks at SunRiver”,”address”:”18135 Cottonwood Rd, Sisters-Millican, OR 97707 541.593.2500″,”description”:””},{“id”:”2872″,”lat”:44.07,”lng”:-121.300003,”name”:”Bend Elks Stadium”,”address”:”Bend, OR 97708, USA”,”description”:””},{“id”:”2873″,”lat”:44.04361,”lng”:-121.299721,”name”:”Vince Genna Stadium”,”address”:”Genna Stadium, Bend, OR 97702, USA”,”description”:””},{“id”:”2874″,”lat”:43.964897,”lng”:-121.344337,”name”:”High Desert Museum”,”address”:”High Desert Museum, 59800 S Hwy 97, Bend, OR 97702, USA”,”description”:””},{“id”:”2875″,”lat”:43.996708,”lng”:-121.394547,”name”:”Seventh Mountain Resort Skating Rink”,”address”:”18575 SW Century Dr, Bend, OR 97702, USA 541.382.8711″,”description”:””}]}

More Kid-Friendly Hubs

The BEST Kid Friendly Digital Cameras – VTech Kidzoo…
I LOVE to take photographs. I have a very expensive SLR Digital camera and I take it almost everywhere I go (especially family functions). On more than one occasion I have caught one of my Nieces or Nephews…
Best Kid Friendly Hotels in Bangkok
Bangkok Thailand is an excellent city to begin exploring Asia as well as learning how the people on the other side of the world live. But Bangkok has a stigma for being the sex capitol of Southeast Asia due…
Kid friendly 15 minute chicken parmesan. A crunchy c…
This is devoured by adults and children alike, but makes no claims for any kind of Italian American authenticity. This is quick and dirty, easy-peasy, and is great for any green vegetable suspicious,…
Children’s Museums and Kid-Friendly Museums in the B…
Free admittance! There is a donation box, so a $2-3 donation is always appreciated. Open Tues -Sat 10-5 , Sun 1-4, Closed Mondays 1451 Middlefield, Rd. Palo Alto (650) 329-2111 This museum was just…
Kid Friendly Meals
There are many kid friendly meals that are easy and fun to make. With a little imagination creating a kid pleasing meal can be an enjoyable experience for all of you. The easiest way to create a kid friendly…
Kid Friendly Social Networking Sites
As part of Generation Z, kids today are highly connected and high users of technologies such as the internet, text messaging, cell phones and mp3 players. The internet is now part of the mainstream and…
Baltimore’s Best Kid-Friendly Attractions
I’ve lived
Indianapolis’ Top 4 Kid-Friendly Attractions
I’ve visited Indianapolis, the
Kid Friendly Parent Approved Cell Phones
Parents today have many responsibilities and it is very difficult to keep children safe whether they are at home or away from home. Children gain access to information at an alarming rate. Even if the…
Kid-Friendly Healthy Snacks for School
So many little kids look forward to school. They see older silblings, cousins, and friends go to school so they think it must be a wonderful place. But many parents see the beginning of school as a challenge…
The Children’s Travel Guide to Bend, Oregon
Amazon Price: $8.30
List Price: $12.99
Oregon Scientific RM313PNA Self-Setting Projection Alarm Clock with Indoor Thermometer, Blue
Amazon Price: Too low to display
List Price: $32.49
Moon West Coast RV Camping: The Complete Guide to More Than 2,300 RV Parks and Campgrounds in Washington, Oregon, and California (Moon Outdoors)
Amazon Price: $12.95
List Price: $24.95
Fodor’s Pacific Northwest: with Oregon, Washington, and Vancouver (Full-color Travel Guide)
Amazon Price: $12.51
List Price: $22.99
Daily Life in a Covered Wagon
Amazon Price: $3.70
List Price: $7.99
Intelliglobe Deluxe
Amazon Price: Too low to display
List Price: $129.99
Best Hikes with Kids: Oregon
Amazon Price: $8.37
List Price: $16.95
Amazon Price: $17.99
List Price: $24.99
Roughing It on the Oregon Trail (The Time-Traveling Twins)
Amazon Price: $3.14
List Price: $7.99
Go Vacation
Amazon Price: $24.99
List Price: $29.99
Learning Puzzles for Kids and Toddlers – Birds, Wild Animals, Animal Farm, Summer Vacation
Amazon Price: $0.00
The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids 2012 (Unofficial Guides)
Amazon Price: $1.49
List Price: $17.99
Timbuk2 Eco-Friendly Envelope Sleeve Case for Kindle Fire HD 7″ with 360 degree protection, Blue (will only fit Kindle Fire HD 7″)
Amazon Price: $14.99
List Price: $25.00
The Ultimate Vacation Collection (National Lampoon’s Vacation / Vegas Vacation / European Vacation / Christmas Vacation)
Amazon Price: $19.44
List Price: $29.98
Dooni Designs Floral and Nature Designs – Cute Kids Summer Vacation Fun Snorkeling In The Ocean Summertime Nature Design – Travel Mug – 14oz Stainless Steel Travel Mug
Amazon Price: $24.99
List Price: $44.98
The 2011 D.C.-Area Guide to Surviving Summer with Kids: Over 100 Inexpensive, Family-Friendly Day Trips, Attractions, and Festivals
Amazon Price: $0.99
Kidz Bop 80’s Gold
Amazon Price: $3.99
List Price: $13.98
100 Hikes in the Central Oregon Cascades
Amazon Price: $12.72
List Price: $18.95
Best Easy Day Hikes Bend and Central Oregon, 2nd (Best Easy Day Hikes Series)
Amazon Price: $8.83
List Price: $9.95
MadMaps Eastern Central States for Garmin (PC only) [Download]
Amazon Price: $9.99
Tree-Free Greetings sg23325 Vintage Central Oregon Cascades by Paul A. Lanquist Stainless Steel Sip ‘N Go Travel Tumbler, 16-Ounce, Multicolored
Amazon Price: $11.95
Central Oregon Road & Recreation Map, 2nd Edition
Amazon Price: $5.95
List Price: $6.95
Oregon Coast Magazine
Amazon Price: $21.95
List Price: $21.00
Rock climber, Smith Rock State Park, central Oregon – US38 JMI0646 – Janis Miglavs – Washed Denium Tote Bag 14w X 14h X 3d
Amazon Price: $26.44
List Price: $31.04
One Hundred Hikes in the Central Oregon Cascades (100 Hikes)
Amazon Price: $66.52
List Price: $14.95