After lunch would be a good time to move from the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum to the Wings and Waves water park. (The exception to this rule would be during peak holiday weekends, when the lines for rides at the water park escalate by mid-day. This, however, is not the norm.)
You can’t miss the water park, which is adjacent to the museum buildings and topped by an Evergreen commercial craft (more on that in a minute). Inside, you’ll find a spacious and airy, well-lit, and very high quality water park four large slides (one body slide and three inner-tube style slides), a wave pool, a leisure pool with basketball hoops and a whirlpool vortex, hot tubs, and an activity water play structure with additional slides and a dumping bucket. The larger slides do have height requirements (42′ for the tube slides and 48′ for the body slide), but quite young kids probably won’t be up for them anyway: visitors climb countless (dang, I should have counted them!) steps up to above roof-level where they enter the bay of the aforementioned aircraft to the slide entrances.
Our kids spent the most time in the wave pool (floating tubes and life vests are complementary) and leisure pool, but loved the slides as well. Evergreen describes their water park as an ‘educational water park’ and though I was skeptical, they really do deliver on this front. Upstairs (overlooking the wave pool) is an entire hands-on museum space coined ‘H20: Water Needs Life’, which features water cycle exhibits and play areas, hands-on water rocket launchers, a submarine to climb into, and even an ‘astronaut training’ fitness station. Best of all, kids can run around in their swimsuits, and no one cares if they get wet.
Date last visited:
April 15, 2012
Distance from the interstate:
The Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum is located 45 minutes from downtown Portland, Oregon and 30 minutes from I-5 off Highway 18.
Hours of operation:
Hours vary depending on season. Check the most recent museum and water park hours.
Admission isn’t cheap at $20 per adult ($18 per youth) for the museums and $30 per adult ($25 for under 42′). Combined admission is not yet offered. There is a non-swimmer rate of $10 for the water park, and kids 3 and under are free.
Tip: Another guest informed me that the museum does honor other Northwest children’s and science museum memberships for entry, though I was unable to confirm.
Food and drink:
There is a concession area at the water park and a healthier cafe at the museum. Outside food and drink are not permitted, but a nice picnic area is located outside. Visitors are free to bring coolers to the outside areas.
The Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum and Wings & Waves Waterpark are located 3.5 miles southeast of McMinnville, Oregon, on Highway 18 across from the McMinnville Municiple Airport. It is approximately one hour from Portland and 40 minutes from Salem. If using GPS, insert the address: 500 NE Cumulus Avenue.