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Parks & Recreation

Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland

Phone: 503-823-PLAY (7529)

Fax: 503-823-6007

1120 SW Fifth Ave., Suite 1302, Portland, OR 97204

Common Ladybug Walk Sites

Albert Kelly Park
Location: SW Dosch Road
Type of Park: Hybrid park - both developed spaces and natural area
Why we like it: Variety of conifers, hills, uneven terrain, natural area in the middle with a bridge
About this site: Street parking only, park is nestled in a neighborhood and easy to miss by car - have clear directions!

Berkeley Park
Location: SE Cesar Chavez and Bybee Blvd
Type of Park: Developed park
Why we like it: Variety of tree species, edges with leaf litter for insect and spider hunting
About this site: Small site, no true natural areas, street parking only

Columbia Children's Arboretum
Location: NE 13th Avenue and Meadow Drive
Type of Park: Hybrid park - both developed spaces and natural area
Why we like it: Large variety of tree species, apple orchard, wetland area, creek with bridges, open fields for insect hunting and play.
About this site: This is a hidden gem, but it is off the beaten path! Be clear with your transportation on where to meet and how to get there! Please watch for pet waste as you walk and explore. 

Forest Park
Location: NW Portland - various trail heads
Type of Park: Natural area
Why we like it: Contains true areas of deep forest, creek with macroinvertebrates, edges for insect hunting, variety of bird and animal species, variety of native trees, covered area available at Lower Macleay.
About this site: Trails in Forest Park are popular for runners, hikers, and dog walkers - this can make traveling as a large group tricky.

Gabriel Park
Location: SW 45th Avenue and Vermont Street
Type of Park: Hybrid park - both developed spaces and natural area
Why we like it: Variety of tree species, hills, varied terrain, sand in the volleyball pit, birds, wildlife, extensive natural area with trails, creek with bridges, macroinvertebrates, open grassy areas for play, lots of parking available
About this site: There are numerous parking lots - be clear with your transportation of your meeting location. Some areas are close to dog off-leash areas. While other parts of the park have a bathroom nearby, the meeting spot near the tennis court only has a porta-potty.

Hoyt Arboretum
Location: SW Fairview Boulevard
Type of Park: Hybrid park - both developed spaces and natural area
Why we like it: Extensive variety of both conifer and deciduous tree species, variety of birds and wildlife, creek with bridges in numerous spots, Giant Sequoia, Fairy Forest, the House of Summer, Camperdown Elm, Oak Forest, Pine Forest, stone circle, open fields for play, extensive hills for rolling and running, variety of trails both soft surface and paved, many hiding and secret spots to explore and hunt for squirrels, insects, spiders, and birds. Covered shelter and visitor's center available.
About this site: All parking in Washington Park is Pay-to-Park. It's a big place - choose wisely - we absolutely can not see everything in one day!

Irving Park
Location: NE Fremont Street and 7th Avenue
Type of Park: Developed park
Why we like it: Large variety of tree species, hills and uneven terrain, accessible paths, open grassy areas for playing and running, leaf litter at the edges for insect hunting, cool circular concrete structure for climbing and play, covered basketball court available.
About this site: Bathrooms are closed November through April. Porta-potty is often available near the playground. We suggest checking before booking a walk. Also note that the dog off-leash area is located in the center and to please watch for pet waste.

Laurelhurst Park 
Location: SE Ankeny Street and Cesar E. Chavez Boulevard
Type of Park: Developed park 
Why we like it: Large variety of tree species, variety of birds, squirrels, large pond with ducks, leaf litter along the edges for insect hunting, rhododendrons for spider hunting, hiding spots, hills, uneven terrain, accessible paths.
About this site: This is one of the busiest parks in SE Portland - make sure you have ample chaperones to watch the children, street parking only, dog off-leash area in the middle, please watch for pet waste.

Maricara Natural Area
Location: SW 30th Avenue
Type of Park: Hybrid park - both developed spaces and natural area
Why we like it: Undisturbed natural area with soft surface trails, variety of birds, wildlife, plants, trees, animal signs, rotting logs for insect and spider hunting, quiet - we love this hidden gem in Portland!
About this site: This site is beautiful, but is a bit outside of the city - also, because it contains numerous sensitive areas, all programs are strictly on-trail. There is no bathroom at this site. 

Marshall Park
Location: SW 12th Drive, off Taylors Ferry Road
Type of Park: Hybrid park - both developed spaces and natural area
Why we like it: Hilly, uneven surfaces, creek, "dry creek bed" area containing logs and rocks for play, contains variety of trails, access to macroinvertebrate, variety of native trees and plants, variety of birds, access to adjacent Foley-Balmer property where there's good creek access and additional space to explore.
About this site: There are two entrances to this park - the best for gathering is at SW 12th Drive, just off Taylors Ferry Road. Make sure your transportation is aware of where to meet! This site has a porta-potty some of the time. Please check before booking. 

Mt Tabor Park
Location: SE 60th Avenue and Salmon Street
Type of Park: Hybrid park - both developed spaces and natural area
Why we like it: Central location to both SE and NE Portland, covered shelter available, many hiking trails, variety of trees, plants, large variety of birds, volcanic history/volcanic rock - great geological spot, many secret spots to play, explore, open grassy areas, fields, uneven landscapes, rotting logs, brush piles, rocky areas for insect, spider hunting, squirrels, seeds, sequoia, cherry trees, small creek during rainy season, running water and full restrooms available year round, scenic views of downtown and east Portland. 
About this site: One of Portland's busiest and most popular parks! Keep in mind there are numerous park entrances - make sure drivers, buses, carpools know where to meet. 

Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge
Location: SE Milwaukie Avenue, near Highway 99
Type of Park: Natural area
Why we like it: Numerous bird and amphibian species (including rare species not often seen), Tadpole Pond (vibrant frog and salamander habitat during breeding season into early summer), both paved and soft surface trails, variety of bird species, variety of tree species, rich Portland history, active restoration site, open fields, wetlands, marshes, ponds, black-tailed deer, Great Blue Herons, eagles, osprey, evidence of numerous wildlife, boardwalk along bluff trail, wildlife observation deck, connects to areas along the Willamette River and Sellwood Riverfront Park. 
About this site: Contains some sensitive areas due to the ongoing restoration work being done to improve amphibian and wildlife habitat, has some off-limits areas to park users. Limited parking available at North Parking Lot of Oaks Bottom, and the lot has no bathroom access. 

Pendleton Park
Location: SW 55th Avenue and Iowa Street
Type of Park: Developed park
Why we like it: Open space for running and play, variety of trees,seeds, squirrels, edges with leaf litter for insect, spider hunting, accessible bathrooms, good street parking.
About this site: This site is central to a lot of SW neighborhoods but contains no official natural area. 

Powell Butte Nature Park
Location: SE 162nd Avenue and Powell Boulevard
Type of Park: Natural area
Why we like it: Both paved and soft surface trails, summits with great views, rich history and geological importance, large variety of local birds, butterflies, dragonflies, numerous spots to hunt for insects, spiders and animal signs, deer, raptors, rich field and forest habitat, variety of forest types, native trees, accessible bathrooms and water available at visitor's center, numerous trail head options.
About this site: The best parking is off SE 162nd Avenue and Powell Boulevard, then it is a 20-minute hike to either the forested area or the top. This is a common mountain bike site, so running into bikes on trails is likely. There is a thick layer of stinging nettle along the trail in sections. 

Sellwood Riverfront Park
Location: SE Spokane Avenue and Oaks Park Way
Type of Park:  Hybrid park - both developed spaces and natural area
Why we like it: Up-close and person access to the Willamette River, numerous tree species, variety of song bird, water fowl and raptor species, soft surface and paved trail access, sand and water play, pond and wetland, rare and native amphibians, woolly bear caterpillars, garter snakes, Clown Millipedes, rotting logs for insect and spider hunting, open grassy areas, uneven terrain, forested trails that connect to Sellwood Park and Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge, year-round bathroom and water access.
About this site: The dog park is adjacent to the river, and there are a lot of off-leash dogs in both places. Please watch for pet waste near the park. 

Westmoreland Park
Location: SE 22nd Avenue and Bybee Boulevard
Type of Park: Developed Park
Why we like it: Variety of birds, tree species, plants, creek, bridges, casting pond, open grass spots for running, ducks, geese, squirrels, lots of edges with leaf litter for insect and spider hunting, access to a full nature playground with loose parts, variety of flowers and blooms in spring and summer, wetland edges to the creek, restoration areas, spawning salmon in the fall, accessible bathrooms. 
About this site: We love the nature playground access, but so does the rest of Portland! This is a notoriously busy place to visit! Consider including a good one to two hours for your group to enjoy the nature playground after your walk! There are some aggressive geese at this site! Parking can be an issue because of the popularity of the spot and proximity to the neighborhood. 

Whitaker Ponds Nature Park
Location: 7040 NE 47th Avenue, just off Columbia Boulevard
Type of Park: Natural area
Why we like it: Variety of song birds, water birds and raptors, ponds, creek and slough, bridges, variety of trees and plants, docks with pond access, macroinvertebrates, nutria, signs of beaver, coyote, deer, variety of short trails, open grassy areas for running and play, uneven terrain, rotting logs and hidden spaces with leaf litter for insect and spider hunting, owl pellets on rare occasions, both forested and field areas. 
About at this site: Porta-potty only. No water access. Parking can be an issue. The Columbia Slough Watershed Council has a full calendar of water quality education classes with local schools most of the school year - which means limited times available. Please plan ahead for any programs at Whitaker Ponds. 

Woodstock Park
Location: SE 47th Avenue and Steele Street 
Type of Park: Developed park
Why we like it: Variety of trees, open spaces for running and play, uneven terrain (slight), edges with leaf litter for insect and spider hunting, lots of street parking, squirrels, urban birds. 
About this site: This site contains no official natural area. The adjacent dog park is busy - lots of dogs off-leash. Bathrooms are seasonal and closed November through April.