10 Unusual Things To Do In Oregon – 2024 Ultimate Guide

10 Unusual Things To Do In Oregon - 2024 Ultimate Guide

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Oregon is a treasure trove of unique and offbeat experiences waiting to be discovered. If you’re looking to venture off the beaten path and explore the unconventional side of the Beaver State, there are plenty of unusual things to do in Oregon that will leave you in awe. From quirky attractions to hidden gems, Oregon offers a diverse range of activities that cater to the adventurous spirit. Whether you’re seeking out eccentric museums, mysterious natural wonders, or unconventional adventures, Oregon has something for everyone looking to step outside the ordinary. So, pack your sense of curiosity and get ready to uncover the extraordinary with these unusual things to do in Oregon.

Visit the Oregon Vortex

Essential Information

– Address: 4303 Sardine Creek Left Fork Road, Gold Hill, Oregon
– Opening Hours: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM daily
– Fee: $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, $8 for children
– Visit Duration: Approximately 1-2 hours
– Ideal for: Families, science enthusiasts, and those seeking unique experiences

Why is it so unusual

The Oregon Vortex is a mysterious and perplexing attraction that defies the laws of physics. Visitors are drawn to this peculiar spot to witness bizarre phenomena that challenge their perception of reality. One of the most unusual activities at the Oregon Vortex is the famous “House of Mystery,” where objects appear to roll uphill, and individuals standing at a certain spot seem to change in height. This optical illusion baffles even the most skeptical observers.

Another intriguing feature of the Oregon Vortex is the “Area of Effect,” where visitors experience a sensation of being pulled in different directions simultaneously. This gravitational anomaly leaves guests feeling disoriented and questioning their senses. Additionally, the “Height Change” phenomenon at the Oregon Vortex causes individuals to appear taller or shorter depending on their position within the area, creating a mind-bending optical illusion.

Visitors to the Oregon Vortex can also participate in experiments that showcase the strange magnetic properties of the location. From witnessing brooms standing on end to observing the peculiar behavior of pendulums, guests are immersed in a world where the laws of physics seem to be suspended.

Overall, the Oregon Vortex offers a truly unique and mind-boggling experience for those seeking to explore the unexplained. Whether you’re a science enthusiast or simply curious about the mysteries of the universe, a visit to the Oregon Vortex is sure to leave you questioning the boundaries of reality.

Explore the Sea Lion Caves

Essential Information

– Address: 91560 US-101, Florence, Oregon
– Opening Hours: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm daily
– Fee: Adults $14, Children (5-12) $8
– Visit Duration: 1-2 hours
– Ideal for: Nature enthusiasts, families

Why is it so unusual

When it comes to unique attractions along the Oregon coast, the Sea Lion Caves stand out as a must-visit destination. What sets this natural wonder apart is the opportunity to witness hundreds of wild sea lions in their natural habitat. As you descend into the colossal sea cave, the echoes of barking sea lions reverberate around you, creating an unforgettable sensory experience.

One of the most unusual activities at the Sea Lion Caves is observing these majestic marine mammals as they lounge on the rocky ledges or gracefully glide through the crystal-clear waters. The sheer size and scale of the cave, with its towering ceilings and hidden nooks, provide a dramatic backdrop for this wildlife spectacle.

Visitors can also marvel at the diverse bird species that call the cave home, adding an extra layer of fascination to the experience. From cormorants to seagulls, the avian residents of the Sea Lion Caves add a symphony of sounds and colors to the already vibrant ecosystem.

For those seeking a truly immersive encounter with nature, the Sea Lion Caves offer a rare opportunity to witness the wonders of the Pacific Ocean up close. Whether you’re a wildlife enthusiast, a family looking for a unique outing, or simply a traveler in search of something out of the ordinary, exploring the Sea Lion Caves promises an unforgettable adventure.

Tour the Shanghai Tunnels in Portland

Essential Information

– Address: 412 NW 2nd Ave, Portland, OR 97209
– Opening Hours: Tours available by reservation only
– Fee: Varies based on tour package
– Visit Duration: Approximately 1-2 hours
– Ideal for: History buffs and those interested in the darker side of Portland’s past

Why is it so unusual

The Shanghai Tunnels in Portland offer a unique and eerie experience for visitors looking to delve into the city’s mysterious history. These underground passageways, also known as the Old Portland Underground, were once used for nefarious activities such as human trafficking and illegal operations in the 19th century.

As you explore the dimly lit tunnels, you’ll learn about the dark past of Portland, including the practice of shanghaiing, where unsuspecting individuals were kidnapped and sold into forced labor on ships. The chilling stories of these underground activities will send shivers down your spine as you walk through the same corridors where these illicit dealings took place.

One of the most unusual aspects of the Shanghai Tunnels tour is the opportunity to see remnants of the past, including old artifacts and graffiti left behind by those who were once held captive in these underground chambers. The guides will regale you with tales of escape attempts, secret passages, and the ghostly legends that still haunt the tunnels to this day.

For a truly offbeat and spine-tingling experience in Portland, don’t miss the chance to tour the Shanghai Tunnels and uncover the hidden secrets of the city’s dark underbelly.

Discover the Prehistoric Gardens

Essential Information

– Address: 36848 Highway 101, Port Orford, Oregon
– Opening Hours: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM daily
– Fee: $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, $7 for children
– Visit Duration: 1-2 hours
– Ideal for: Families, nature enthusiasts

Why is it so unusual

When visiting Discover the Prehistoric Gardens in Oregon, you’ll encounter a unique attraction that sets it apart from traditional botanical gardens. What makes this destination truly unusual is its collection of life-sized dinosaur replicas scattered throughout the lush greenery. As you wander the pathways, you’ll come face to face with towering T-Rex, gentle Brachiosaurus, and other prehistoric creatures that once roamed the earth millions of years ago.

Unlike typical botanical gardens, the Prehistoric Gardens offer a fascinating blend of nature and history, allowing visitors to step back in time and imagine what life was like during the age of dinosaurs. The interactive exhibits provide an educational experience for both children and adults, making it an ideal destination for families looking to combine fun and learning.

In addition to the impressive dinosaur replicas, the gardens also feature a variety of native plants and wildlife, adding to the immersive experience of being transported to a prehistoric world. Whether you’re a dinosaur enthusiast or simply looking for a one-of-a-kind attraction to explore, Discover the Prehistoric Gardens offers a truly unusual and memorable experience for all ages.

Hike the Painted Hills

Essential Information

– Address: Painted Hills Unit, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, Oregon
– Opening Hours: Daily from sunrise to sunset
– Fee: $10 per vehicle
– Visit Duration: 1-2 hours
– Ideal for: Nature lovers, hikers, photographers

Why is it so unusual

The Painted Hills in Oregon offer a unique hiking experience unlike any other. What sets this destination apart are the vibrant hues of red, gold, and black that streak across the landscape, creating a mesmerizing natural painting. As you traverse the trails, you’ll encounter surreal formations that seem to defy the laws of nature. The hills themselves appear as if they were dipped in a palette of colors, making for a striking contrast against the clear blue sky.

One of the most unusual activities here is the opportunity to witness the hills transform throughout the day as the sunlight plays upon their surfaces. The colors shift and intensify, casting ever-changing shadows that add depth and dimension to the already stunning scenery. This dynamic display makes the Painted Hills a favorite spot for photographers seeking to capture the magic of nature in all its glory.

For hikers, the trails offer a chance to explore a landscape that feels otherworldly. The undulating terrain leads you through a kaleidoscope of colors, with each turn revealing a new vista that is both breathtaking and surreal. The silence of the hills adds to the sense of isolation and wonder, allowing visitors to immerse themselves fully in the beauty of this unique environment.

In conclusion, the Painted Hills stand out as an unusual tourist attraction due to their striking colors, ever-changing appearance, and surreal beauty. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a photography buff, or simply someone seeking a one-of-a-kind experience, a hike through the Painted Hills is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Visit the Enchanted Forest Theme Park

Essential Information

– Address: 8462 Enchanted Way SE, Turner, Oregon
– Opening Hours: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM (seasonal variations, check website for details)
– Fee: $12.95 for adults, $11.95 for seniors, $11.95 for children (ages 3-12)
– Visit Duration: 3-4 hours
– Ideal for: Families, thrill-seekers, fantasy enthusiasts

Why is it so unusual

The Enchanted Forest Theme Park in Oregon stands out as an unusual tourist attraction due to its whimsical and quirky offerings that cater to visitors seeking a unique experience. Unlike traditional theme parks, the Enchanted Forest transports guests into a world of fantasy and enchantment, where fairy tales come to life in unexpected ways.

One of the most unusual attractions at the Enchanted Forest is the Storybook Lane, a charming walk-through experience that features scenes from classic fairy tales like “Alice in Wonderland” and “Mother Goose.” Visitors can interact with larger-than-life storybook characters and immerse themselves in a magical setting that feels straight out of a storybook.

For those seeking a thrill, the park offers the Challenge of Mondor, a mysterious and challenging labyrinth where adventurers must navigate through a series of obstacles and puzzles to reach the treasure at the end. This unique attraction combines elements of escape rooms and adventure courses, providing a one-of-a-kind experience for visitors of all ages.

Another standout feature of the Enchanted Forest is the Old European Village, a quaint area inspired by medieval architecture and folklore. Visitors can explore charming shops, watch live performances, and even try their hand at archery in this immersive and unusual setting.

Overall, the Enchanted Forest Theme Park offers a delightful blend of fantasy, adventure, and nostalgia that sets it apart from traditional theme parks. Whether you’re a fan of fairy tales, seeking a unique thrill, or simply looking to escape into a world of enchantment, this unusual attraction is sure to captivate and delight visitors of all ages.

Explore the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area

Essential Information

– Address: 855 Highway Ave, Reedsport, OR 97467
– Opening Hours: 24/7
– Fee: $5 per vehicle for day use
– Visit Duration: Half-day to full day
– Ideal for: Outdoor enthusiasts, families, adventure seekers

Why is it so unusual

The Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area offers a unique experience for visitors seeking more than just your typical beach day. While many come to admire the vast sand dunes and stunning coastline, there are several unusual activities that set this destination apart.

One of the most distinctive features of the Oregon Dunes is the opportunity for sandboarding. Imagine snowboarding, but on sand instead of snow. Thrill-seekers can rent sandboards and glide down the steep dunes, feeling the rush of adrenaline as they carve through the soft grains.

For those looking to explore the dunes in a more unconventional way, dune buggy tours are a popular choice. Hop on a rugged off-road vehicle and zip through the sandy terrain, bouncing over bumps and twists as you take in the breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean.

If you prefer a more serene experience, consider horseback riding along the shoreline. Guided horseback tours offer a peaceful way to appreciate the beauty of the dunes while connecting with nature on a deeper level.

For a truly unique adventure, try your hand at clamming in the nearby coastal areas. Digging for clams in the wet sand is a fun and rewarding activity that allows you to experience the local marine life up close.

Whether you’re seeking an adrenaline-pumping escapade or a tranquil retreat, the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area has something unusual to offer every type of traveler. So pack your sense of adventure and get ready to explore this one-of-a-kind destination on the Oregon coast.

Check out the Hatfield Marine Science Center

Essential Information

– Address: 2030 SE Marine Science Dr, Newport, OR 97365
– Opening Hours: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM (Closed on Mondays)
– Fee: $5 for adults, $3 for children
– Visit Duration: 1-2 hours
– Ideal for: Families, Science enthusiasts

Why is it so unusual

The Hatfield Marine Science Center in Oregon stands out as an unusual tourist attraction due to its unique blend of interactive exhibits and hands-on experiences. Unlike traditional museums, this science center offers visitors the opportunity to engage in activities that are both educational and entertaining.

One of the standout features of the Hatfield Marine Science Center is its touch tanks, where visitors can get up close and personal with various marine creatures such as sea stars, anemones, and even small sharks. This hands-on experience allows guests to learn about marine life in a tactile and memorable way.

Another unusual aspect of the center is its behind-the-scenes tours, where visitors can explore areas typically off-limits to the public. These tours provide a fascinating glimpse into the inner workings of a marine research facility, offering insights into the cutting-edge science being conducted at the center.

For those looking to delve deeper into marine science, the Hatfield Marine Science Center also offers interactive workshops and demonstrations led by knowledgeable staff members. From dissecting squid to learning about marine conservation efforts, these activities provide a unique and immersive learning experience for visitors of all ages.

Overall, the Hatfield Marine Science Center stands out as an unusual tourist attraction thanks to its hands-on exhibits, behind-the-scenes tours, and interactive workshops. Whether you’re a family looking for a fun and educational day out or a science enthusiast eager to learn more about marine life, this unique science center has something to offer everyone.

Visit the Oregon Film Museum

Essential Information

– Address: 732 Duane Street, Astoria, Oregon
– Opening Hours: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM daily
– Fee: $6 for adults, $2 for children
– Visit Duration: 1-2 hours
– Ideal for: Film enthusiasts and pop culture fans

Why is it so unusual

The Oregon Film Museum stands out as a unique tourist attraction due to its focus on celebrating the rich history of filmmaking in Oregon. What makes this museum truly unusual is its dedication to showcasing the iconic movies that were filmed in the state, particularly in the charming town of Astoria.

Visitors to the Oregon Film Museum can explore various exhibits that highlight the significant role Oregon has played in the film industry. One of the standout features is the opportunity to step into the actual jail cell featured in the classic film “The Goonies,” which was filmed in Astoria. Movie buffs can also marvel at authentic props and memorabilia from other famous films shot in Oregon, such as “Kindergarten Cop” and “Twilight.”

For those looking to dive deeper into the world of filmmaking, the museum offers interactive displays where guests can learn about the technical aspects of movie production. From understanding the art of cinematography to exploring the intricacies of film editing, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Moreover, the Oregon Film Museum frequently hosts special events and screenings, providing visitors with a chance to experience movie magic in a unique setting. Whether you’re a fan of cult classics or blockbuster hits, this museum offers a one-of-a-kind experience that showcases the best of Oregon’s cinematic history.

In conclusion, the Oregon Film Museum is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in exploring the fascinating intersection of film and culture. With its focus on showcasing the state’s cinematic legacy in an engaging and interactive way, this museum offers a truly unusual and memorable experience for all types of travelers.

Explore the Oregon Coast Aquarium

Essential Information

– Address: 2820 SE Ferry Slip Rd, Newport, OR 97365
– Opening Hours: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM daily
– Fee: Adults $22.95, Children (3-12) $14.95
– Visit Duration: 2-3 hours
– Ideal for: Families, marine life enthusiasts

Why is it so unusual

The Oregon Coast Aquarium stands out as a unique tourist attraction due to its unconventional offerings that go beyond the typical aquarium experience. Visitors can participate in hands-on activities like feeding the seals and sea otters, providing a rare opportunity to interact closely with these marine mammals. The aquarium also features a behind-the-scenes tour where guests can learn about the daily operations and conservation efforts of the facility.

One of the most unusual aspects of the Oregon Coast Aquarium is the chance to engage in a sleepover experience among the marine exhibits. This overnight adventure allows guests to witness the nocturnal behaviors of the underwater creatures while spending the night in close proximity to fascinating sea life.

For those seeking a more immersive encounter, the aquarium offers a special program called “Swim with the Sharks,” where brave participants can dive into a tank with these majestic creatures under the guidance of trained professionals. This adrenaline-pumping activity provides a thrilling and unforgettable experience for adventurous visitors.

In addition to these unique opportunities, the Oregon Coast Aquarium features interactive exhibits such as touch pools with various marine species, educational presentations by marine biologists, and a seabird aviary showcasing coastal avian species. These distinctive offerings set the aquarium apart as a must-visit destination for those looking to explore marine life in a hands-on and engaging way.

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