In addition to the many alluring qualities that make Bend an exceptional place to live, this Central Oregon city is an oasis for kids. Bend has an endless list of activities for kids to enjoy, from outdoor adventures like floating the Deschutes River or riding in a hot air balloon, to indoor destinations like a trampoline park or historic movie theater. Whether you have a toddler or a teenager, and whether it’s snowing or the sun is out, you’ll find no shortage of kid-sized fun in and around Bend.
Consult this extensive list the next time you hear the dreaded “I’m bored” from your little one!
Outdoor Fun for Kids in Bend
Located within the city limits of Bend, Pilot Butte is a lava dome created from an extinct volcano. In addition to providing panoramic views from the summit, this is a reasonable hike easy enough for kids, while still providing a challenge and an opportunity for exercise and some fresh air. This 1.8-mile out and back trail is commonly used for hiking, trail running, and road biking, and is open to dogs on a leash.
Floating + Rafting Down the Deschutes River
During the warmer months, kids love floating down the Deschutes River just as much as adults do. Before your adventure, read up on everything you need to know about floating the river, including information about gear, shuttle, rules, and general advice. You can opt to float the river yourself by renting tubes from Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe or embark on a guided adventure on the renowned Big Eddy Thriller tour with Sun Country Tours!
Located west of Bend just beyond Mt. Bachelor, Elk Lake is an idyllic destination all year long. Elk Lake Resort offers a myriad of rentals for both winter activities like snowmobiling and snowshoeing, and summer activities such as kayaking and paddleboarding. The resort’s restaurant is the perfect place to fuel up with lunch or dinner during your visit to this scenic lake.
Photo Courtesy of Mt. Bachelor
All year long, Mt. Bachelor is an oasis for active kids. Wintertime activities include snowblast tubing, sled dog rides, snowshoe tours, skiing, and helicopter tours, and summertime activities include mountain biking, sunset dinners, disc golfing, hiking, and more. If you plan on skiing as a family, keep in mind that kids under 12 ski for free the same number of days as their parents with the advance, online purchase of a special Kids Ski Free adult lift ticket of three days or longer!
Wanderlust Tours provides half-day guided tours and trips throughout the year in Bend, Sunriver, and Sisters. Take the kids away from their screens and become immersed in nature with one of their action-packed tours during the summer, spring/fall, and winter. A favorite amongst kids is the Moonlight & Starlight Canoe Tours, which includes a canoe ride by moonlight or under a blanket of stars, hot cocoa (or a local micro-brewed beer from Deschutes Brewery for the adults!), dessert, and a naturalist interpretation. This tour is open to children 8 years and older.
Encourage an appreciation for art while taking in the fresh air and beautiful weather we enjoy in Bend. The Roundabout Art Route is a self-guided adventure passing by the 23 pieces of public art on display in the center of Bend’s traffic circles. Simply pick up a map of the roundabouts at the Bend Visitor Center, visit a minimum of 10 of the 23 roundabouts, answer trivia questions on the map, and return it to the visitor center to receive a fabulous prize. Kids will love this interactive scavenger hunt throughout our creative city!
Photo Courtesy of Amanda Conde via Wheel Fun Rentals
Explore the beloved Old Mill District and its surrounding area by wheel! Wheel Fun Rentals puts explorers in motion with a wide selection of bike rentals, including eight-passenger surreys, tandem bicycles, multi-speed bikes, baby joggers, deuce coupes, and more. Plus, Wheel Fun Rentals offers a nature-filled self-guided tour along the Deschutes River Trail!
Photo Courtesy of Big Sky Balloon Co.
Make an unforgettable family memory with a hot air balloon ride with Big Sky Balloon Co., the premier balloon ride operator in Central Oregon. Balloons take off from Smith Rock Ranch in Terrebonne, and float over breathtaking and diverse scenery, including high desert terrain of juniper and sage, volcanic rim rock, deep river canyons, and rural farmland. Keep in mind that Big Sky Balloon Co. only allows children over the age of 8 to ride.
The Sunriver Homeowners Aquatic & Recreation Center (SHARC) is the ultimate destination for both indoor and outdoor fun. This premier aquatic and recreation facility is located in the heart of Sunriver and is managed by the Sunriver Owners Association. SHARC has indoor and outdoor swimming facilities, a disc golf course, a winter tubing hill, a public park, and a basketball court. Admission rates to SHARC vary throughout the year, but you may purchase an all-day pass for $25 to access all SHARC aquatics and the disc golf course during the summer months.
Indoor Fun for Kids in Bend
Photo Courtesy of High Desert Museum
Mix in an educational experience with a visit to the High Desert Museum, a unique museum revealing the natural world and cultural history of the high desert region through artful exhibits, alluring animals, engaging programs, and meaningful history. Visitors have an opportunity to get up close and personal with native wildlife such as river otters, bobcat, and birds of prey, see intriguing art, chat with historic characters, visit an authentic homestead and sawmill from 1904, learn about Native American culture and history, and much more!
Cascade Indoor Sports is a massive nearly 50,000-square-foot destination for fun, sports, and a variety of family activities. Play youth and adult indoor soccer, youth and adult roller hockey, adult volleyball, youth flag football, and lacrosse. Or play on the area’s largest indoor soft play system — The Big Play Thing, which offers more than 7,000 square feet of climbing, sliding, and endless play. Many kids love Cascade Indoor Sports for the open skate rollerblading on Friday nights, Saturdays during the afternoon and night, and on Sunday afternoons.
Sun Mountain Fun Center has something for all interests and ages! Indoor attractions include arcade games, bowling, bumper cars, and billiards, and outdoor activities include go-karting, mini golfing, batting cages, and a carnival ride. Let the kids run wild at this indoor/outdoor family destination — no matter the weather.
Photo Courtesy of Bouncing Off the Wall
If your kids are bouncing off the wall and need a space to unleash their energy, look no further than Bouncing Off the Wall, Bend’s first and only inflatable fun center. The facility offers different types of attractions for various age groups, including a designated time for Pre-K Play on weekday mornings and Kids Night Out on most Saturday nights; drop off the kids for endless playtime while you enjoy a date night out!
Keep the bouncing going with a visit to Mountain Air Trampoline Park, the only indoor trampoline park in Central Oregon. Choose from a myriad of fun attractions, including the main court with 26 trampolines, basketball, extreme dodgeball, a giant airbag, the toddler zone, cosmic jump, and more! The trampoline park also offers a special toddler time for children under 5 on Thursdays and Fridays from 10 a.m.–12 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 9–10 a.m., and a sensory hour for individuals with special needs, available by request.
Satisfy your sweet tooth with a visit to Goody’s Chocolates and Ice Cream, a community staple dating back to 1984. You can even get a behind-the-scenes look at this iconic sweet shop by embarking on a self-guided or guided tour at their factory in Bend. Free self-guided tours are available Monday through Friday from 11 a.m.–3:30 p.m., and guided tours are $2 per person and include six different samples of Goody’s sweet treats!
Photos Courtesy of Tower Theatre
The historic Tower Theatre believes in the power of performing arts to strengthen our community and improve our lifestyle. We do too! That’s why Hasson is a proud sponsor of this non-profit theatre. The theatre hosts a variety of performances and events throughout the year, including musicals, concerts, films and more. Check out the Family Fun section on their website for a complete list of upcoming shows suitable for all ages!
This historic Catholic-school-turned-theater is an exciting destination for all ages. Admission is just $4 for adults, $2 for children 12 and under, and free for children 2 and under. All shows before 6 p.m. are for all ages, and minors under 21 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian after that time. The concession stand offers pizza, popcorn, and other snacks and refreshments to enjoy during the movie!
Work together as a team to solve the mystery at Bend Escape Room. If you haven’t yet attempted to break out of an escape room, you’re in for a treat. Utilize elements in the room to solve a series of puzzles, find clues, and escape the room within a set time limit. Themed rooms at Bend Escape Room include R.E.S.C.U.E., Crimson Storm, Knight & Rook, and Winter Fall. Book your temporary stay in one of these mysterious rooms!
Photo Courtesy of Bend Rock Gym
Stretch your legs and challenge your rock climbing skills — even in the dead of winter — at Bend Rock Gym, an indoor rock climbing gym with a cutting-edge facility. The gym even offers after school programs tailored to various ages throughout the week. If you or your little ones have never climbed before, no sweat! First-time climbers must simply complete a waiver form and stop by any time the gym is open and begin climbing. Or you can get your bearings with their Gym Intro Class, if you’d prefer!
What kid-approved activities would you add?
Let us know in the comments below!