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The outdoors can seem daunting with kids in winter if you’re not sure where to go. But it’s still possible to head outside, stay warm and have fun.
First, wrap the kids in a warm layer topped by a water- and wind- resistant layer to seal in the heat and keep out the cold. Add a warm hat, gloves or mittens, socks and rain boots, and bring a spare set of warm clothes in case they get wet. Consider buying a batch of instant hand warmers from a local sporting goods store and give the kids one to hold if they start to get a chill while walking. Finally, bring a thermos of something filling and warm and know that hot cocoa goes a long way for a treat after a winter walk.
This natural area in North Portland is gorgeous in winter. Bring binoculars and look for bald eagles, blue herons, beaver and deer. Enjoy a one-mile loop on a concrete path, accessible for strollers and wheelchairs. There are bathroomsSmith and Bybee Wetlands Natural Area
and a covered picnic shelter. A 100-yard walk takes you from the parking lot to the natural area, where you’ll feel tucked into a winter nature wonderland.
Orenco Woods Nature Park
Visit this new nature park in Hillsboro for the nature playground, and stay to see if the kids can spot the blue herons in the wetlands below. Deer and raptors also call Orenco Woods home. You’ll be at ease with stroller- and wheelchair-friendly paved trails, restrooms and a covered picnic area. The Orenco stop on the MAX Blue Line is about ¾ mile from the park.
Scouters Mountain Nature Park
Scouters Mountain in Happy Valley has a one mile loop trail through the forest and a ¼ mile stroller- and wheelchair-accessible loop trail at the top of the hill. The one-mile loop trail has a section with stairs, and the path is unpaved and natural. It is ideal for walking, with the youngest of children in carriers. It’s a great place to give kids a small basket for collecting cones, leaves, moss and twigs to take home for a nature art project.
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