Bend, Oregon is a great place for families to have time together and a fun place for kids to play. With over 300 days of sunshine every year, there are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy and parks to explore.
There are also several indoor activities to engage in, from museums to climate-controlled indoor play parks. With no shortage of fun to be had by kids of all ages, here are some of the best things to do in Bend with kids.
Top Things to Do in Bend with Kids
There is no shortage of activities for kids to enjoy while visiting Bend, Oregon. Splash in the pool at SHARC Sunriver, find a good book at the Deschutes Public Library, explore a lava cave, or bounce around at the Mountain Air Trampoline Park.
The Art Station
Run by the Bend Parks and Recreation department, the Art Station offers classes for youth, adults, and families regardless of your artistic ability level.
These classes include painting, sculpture, jewelry, textiles, glass art, pottery, and more. Be sure to check out their site for a complete calendar with available classes.
High Desert Museum
Since 1982, the High Desert Museum has been a popular spot for families to discover history in Central Oregon. Their mission is to help visitors – whether they are locals or just passing through – discover what the settlers and natives heard and felt during the early American days.
Here, you can get up close with native wildlife, talk with historical characters, or even visit an authentic homestead and sawmill from 1904. There are several fun hands-on programs for your kids to enjoy.
The Sunriver Homeowners Aquatic & Recreation Center – otherwise known as SHARC – offers fun activities no matter what time of year you visit.
Besides the pool, you also have access to disc golf, Paulina Park (complete with playground, bocce ball, rock climbing), basketball court, and even winter tubing trails.
Cascade Indoor Sports
Central Oregon’s premier indoor sports center offers fun for family members of all ages. There’s a roller rink, pickleball zone, and the largest indoor soft play system – The Big Play Thing.
If you are a local, you can even join one of the adult or youth programs, including soccer, hockey, flag football, and more.
Sun Mountain Fun Center
Looking for the best one-stop entertainment facility on your family vacation? Look no further than the Sun Mountain Fun Center. Here you will find bowling, billiards, go-karts, mini-golf, bumper cars, batting cages, and a full arcade where you can cash in tickets for marvelous prizes.
Lava River Cave
For the outdoorsy, adventurous family, you may want to check out the Lava River Cave, a mile-long lava tube.
It takes about an hour and a half to complete the self-guided journey as you descend 55 stairs into the cave, walking along with a combination of flat boardwalk, uneven surfaces, and stairways.
Be sure to bundle up as the cave stays around 42 degrees Fahrenheit on average.
Sunriver Nature Center
Explore nature and make memories at the Sunriver Nature Center. Your kids will be able to venture through the woods, tracking animals, and even discovering some hands-on.
The staff of naturalists will keep your child engaged and interested while providing a new world for them to explore.
Deschutes Public Library
Libraries provide the most sources of entertainment and discovery in one place, so why not check out the Deschutes Public Library during your next visit?
There are several locations, each with various books and children’s programs for your kids to enjoy. Be sure to check their site for a full schedule of events and programs.
Floating the Deschutes River
The Deschutes River, particularly in summertime, is a source of never-ending fun for the whole family.
Grab a raft, tube, canoe, kayak, or paddleboard, and make your way downstream while you enjoy the seemingly endless sunshine in Bend.
Bend Rock Gym
Want to try rock climbing while you’re in Bend, but the thought of scaling the Cascades scares you? Try the Bend Rock Gym instead.
They have rock walls and courses for all skill levels, as well as yoga for those who want to keep their feet firmly planted on the ground.
Juniper Swim & Fitness Center
Another great activity center for kids and families run by the Bend Parks and Recreation department is the Juniper Swim & Fitness Center. You will find over 250 fitness classes, including cardio, strength training, cycling, yoga, and Pilates.
There is plenty of water fun to be had as well with a 25-meter pool as well as an indoor children’s pool, hot tub, sauna, and steam room. You can even find an interactive splash pad outside for the little ones.
If you can’t choose or are not exactly sure what activities are available in the Bend area, you should check out Wanderlust Tours. They offer half-day guided tours throughout Bend, Sunriver, and Sisters, specializing in outdoor adventures.
Some of their activities and tours that may be interesting for kids include volcano tours, photography tours (nature and starlight), and river tours. They also offer winter tours and activities that involve all things snow and sledding.
Ice Skating at the Pavilion
Run by the Bend Parks and Recreation department, the Pavilion is home to Central Oregon’s only NHL-sized ice rink where families and kids can have fun during the winter months.
Enjoy just skating around the rink or engage in sports and activities like hockey and curling.
Winter Fun on Mount Bachelor
There is loads of fun to be had at Mount Bachelor during the winter months, one of Bend’s most popular destinations for family fun. With various lodges nearby and on the mountain itself, you can always be near the fun.
Try skiing or tubing down the snowy slopes. Or you can even bring your four-legged friend to enjoy time at the snow park or even hook them up to a doggy powered sled or skis.
Mountain Air Trampoline Park
If you have kiddos that need to get their energy out, the Mountain Air Trampoline Park may be a great way for them to do so. It is an affordable and fun way for your kids to get some indoor playtime.
There are jump times for kids of all ages, including special time slots for toddlers (ages 1-6) only. You can even take advantage of their discounted price on Family Fun Night or drop your kids off for Kids Night Out, where they can enjoy jump time, games, pizza, and drinks.
Bouncing Off The Wall
For a bit of softer play, Bouncing Off the Wall offers jump time in Bend’s first and only inflatable fun center.
Not only is it a great way for kids to play and jump to their hearts’ content, but it is also safe as the soft inflatable walls provide cushion for those who aren’t so steady on their feet.
Bend Escape Room
Escape rooms are becoming increasingly popular for families and individuals who enjoy a good life-size puzzle. So, why not bring your teenage kids to the one in Bend?
It is a fun way for you to help teach your children problem solving and teamwork as you play through one of the unique rooms and scenarios at Bend Escape Room.
Parks in Bend, Oregon for kids
It would be a shame to make it all the way to Bend only to spend most of your time indoors. Your kids will definitely not want to miss out on some of the best parks in the area, complete with unique and fun equipment to climb and play on.
Farewell Bend Park
The Farewell Bend Park also serves as a boat launch area to access the Deschutes River for your float experience. However, there is a playground in the center of the park which features a lumber mill theme, sure to be a favorite of kids of all ages.
The Deschutes River Trail runs along the park and is a favorite place for runners and perfect for a walk with your family. Keep your eyes open as you may view a beaver in the river.
Located on the western edge of the Deschutes River, Columbia Park is home to the SS Columbia, a unique ship-like play structure. There are also picnic areas and a large lawn area with enough room to toss and frisbee or football with ease.
Right across the Deschutes River from Drake Park is Harmon Park, also known as “Boat Park.” This nickname comes from the park’s central feature, the much-loved boat fixture that also serves as a meeting place and play center. In addition to the play area, two softball fields are used as a soccer field during the fall season.
One of Bend’s oldest parks, Shevlin Park, was donated to the community in 1920. It is the perfect location for hiking, jogging, nature watching, fishing, and picnicking with the family. Let your little ones explore a slice of nature, walking along the creek on a warm summer day. There are also plenty of picnic tables to enjoy a family get-together in nature or merely a lovely picnic next to the creek.
Larkspur Park is a great place to plan an entire afternoon with the family. Take a walk on Larkspur Trail, bring a picnic lunch to enjoy under the covered picnic shelter, play a game of bocce, horseshoes, pickleball, or basketball, or just relax. In contrast, your kids enjoy the Rotary Clubs Centennial Playground, complete with a rock wall.
Home to the famous Mirror Pond, Drake Park is likely one of Bend’s most popular parks for visitors and locals alike. They host several events throughout the year, so be sure to check the schedule to see what will be around during your visit.