January 4, 2018

Things to Do: Oaks Amusement Park, Portland, Oregon


Oaks Amusement Park (503) 233-5777.  Amusement park is seasonal, Apr-Sept; skating rink is open year round, Tu-Sun.  Admission fee varies depending on rides.  Free parking. 
Located beside the Willamette River at the foot of the old Sellwood Bridge, this was the first amusement park in the West.  Now more than 100 years old and a non-profit, it opened in 1905 and was once called “The Coney Island of the West.”  Rides are well-priced, and it is a popular place to roller skate and picnic.  Nostalgia reigns with a section of kiddie rides and miniature golf, plus a hand-carved 1911 Herschell-Spillman “Noah’s Ark” carousel, bumper cars, and a miniature train that chugs all around the park.

carousel at Oaks Amusement Park in Portland, Oregon
carousel at Oaks Amusement Park in Portland, Oregon

My mom, who grew up in nearby Gresham, skated at the Oaks Park roller skating rink here when she was in high school.  She remembers the organist--who performs live on the beautiful Wurlitzer here on Thursday nights and all day Sunday--and the fun bumps at the back of the rink that they skated over (which are still there).  This rink is the largest in America, and the last to play a live pipe organ.  Its floor was replaced in 1948 when the original floor was destroyed in the Vanport flood, and the ingenious barrel flotation system that was used in the replacement floor has saved it several more times.

exterior of roller skating rink at Oaks Amusement Park in Portland, Oregon
exterior of roller skating rink at Oaks Amusement Park in Portland, Oregon



skate counter at roller skating rink at Oaks Amusement Park in Portland, Oregon
skate counter at roller skating rink at Oaks Amusement Park in Portland, Oregon



colorful rental skates at roller skating rink at Oaks Amusement Park in Portland, Oregon
colorful rental skates at roller skating rink at Oaks Amusement Park in Portland, Oregon











 
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©2018 Carole Terwilliger Meyers 

4 comments:

  1. My daughter lives in Portland and I'm definitely going to have to bring her here next time I visit. It looks like so much fun, and seems to have quite a history.

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  2. The Oaks Amusement Park looks like a nice place to spend some quality time. My wife just asked me about roller skating this weekend, so this article is quite timely. Thanks for sharing.

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  3. The Oaks Amusement Park is like a step back in time. Such great family fun!!

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  4. I love those old carousels like the one you describe at the Oaks Amusement park: they have a couple in San Francisco too. Such imaginative creatures; they just don't make them like that anymore!

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