One of the favorite things ever for kids is splashing around in the water when the Summer heat hits! All of us remember running in the sprinklers when a pool or swimming hole was not to be found. Well the youngsters in Hillsboro, Oregon are in luck because there are some parks around the City that make beating the heat a fun and memorable experience! The Herald staff have visited all of these spots and want to share them with all of you!
Orenco Station Plaza
City Says: The plaza provides a vibrant, flexible place for the community, to gather throughout the year. From outdoor yoga, to wine and beer festivals, to open air ice skating there is something for everyone at Orenco Station Plaza. Key features include a water feature, decorative lighting, movable site furniture, elevated boardwalks with seating under two mature oak trees, public art, and an ornamental shade structure. Several planting beds are incorporated into the plaza to provide shade, seasonal interest, and a contrast to surrounding hard surfaces.
Herald’s Take: This small plaza has the benefit of being wrapped by several great eateries and shops which makes it fun for all. From ice cream to Thai, and Pizza and Coffee/Brew Pubs, the Orenco Station Plaza is a great place to have a fun outing. The fountain while small lends itself to a light splash and is great for toddlers. The MAX does run right next to the fountain wall so caution is needed in that part of the park. Two of the 3 ancient Oaks that sat at this location for centuries still shade the location. Visitors will be able to cool off and sit at the location where the historic town of Orenco made a serious run as the economic engine of the region from 1908 to 1930. Ride the MAX, bike, or walk to this fun little treasure!
53rd Avenue Park Spray Ground
City Says: The sprayground at 53rd Avenue Community Park has been a hit with children of all ages since it opened in May 2010. It features geysers, spray elements and a curved seating wall. The feature has a programmed spray sequences that provides a sense of whimsy and delight. An automatic timer activates the feature during warmer daylight hours during the summer. The water at the sprayground is recycled and sanitized through filtration.
General sprayground operating hours:
Monday – Friday 10 am – 8:00 pm
Saturday 10 am – 8:00 pm
Sunday 10 am – 8:00 pm
Herald’s Take: What a fun spot this is. When the fountains are automatically changing their pattern the kids love it. The largest of the parks with water, this area can attract pretty good-sized crowds. There is a lack of shade at the fountain so consider that and plan to stay awhile because the kids will not want to leave! A playground and climbing area is right adjacent to the fountain and the kids like to move back and forth between the two. This is a well-designed and detailed facility and one you can spend the day at. Insomnia, Hero Sushi, & Coyote’s Bar and Grill are all a short walk across the turf sports fields. A really fun location for the kids!
Civic Center Fountain- Photo Dirk Knudsen
Tom Hughes Civic Center Fountain
City Says: There was no description for the park at the City website- hopefully, they will update this soon. Some info can be found here.
Herald;’s Take: Named after local boy and Mayor, Tom Hughes, the fountain represents a lot about our city. The powerful side jets launch from large stone blocks and meet in the middle where a large geyser and smaller sprays collide. Set in a natural amphitheater, this beautiful fountain became an instant classic the day it was switched on. Flanked by the majestic historic Courthouse Sequoia’s on the North, and the Hillsboro Civic Center/City Hall on the South, the Fountain is a perfect spot to gather. It is one of the lesser-known and lesser-used water features in Hillsboro and we often see very few people there. It is located on Main Street in Historic Downtown Hillsboro, visitors will be able to shop and eat as the kids play. Try the Hillsboro Pharmacy for a historic shake or burger, Decadent Creations for baked goods and treats, Pizzario for pizza, or grab wine or beer at Noble Hop and D’Anu wine bar. There are toy stores, hobby shops, farmers markets, festivals and more right in this location!
Orenco Woods Nature Park – Water/Beach
7100 NE Birch Street, Hillsboro, Oregon 97124
Orenco Woods Nature Park is a partnership between the City of Hillsboro and Metro in preserving one of the largest remaining open spaces along the Rock Creek Greenway corridor. The 42-acre park features a scenic blend of rolling landscape, open meadows, riparian habitat and forested areas for a variety of birds and wildlife. A network of looped trails and bridges weave their way through the site providing visitors with a variety of experiences. A segment of the Rock Creek Trail runs through the park connecting to Orchard Park and to the Rock Creek Trailhead at Rock Creek Boulevard just north of Highway 26. Over a century ago, Orenco Woods was part of the Oregon Nursery Company , the largest nursery on the west coast and best known for Orenco apples.
Orenco Woods offers a nature-themed playground that includes elements such as a stream channel with water pumps and sand areas, logs, a large net climber and swings. A covered picnic shelter is available for rental.
Herald’s Take: At first look the water play area and sand beach seem smallish. Set on 50 acres of trails and creeks that are bound to happen. But this spot has become a crowd favorite because the kids and parents collaborate by pumping water from 4 different pumps, into a stream bed, and onto an area that is regularly damned up and made into a splash pool. The kids spend hours in the sand and delight in their creations. This is like going to the beach without the saltwater! Children make sandcastles and creations and jump off the climbing wall which has another water stream option. Musical art allows the kids to create beautiful sound and there are swings and climbing go on there too. Pack a picnic and bring an umbrella. Be prepared to stay a while because the kids will not want to leave!
Happy 4th of July, everyone! Make sure to get out and have some fun and try out these great spots. You are never too old to dip your toes and cool off, so remember that. We are so very fortunate to have such great parks, and the water features are just so fun- we hope you all have a chance to enjoy them!