Birdwatching is generally a quiet, solitary affair. It's also…well, kind of boring, especially when kids are involved.
The Oregon Rail Heritage Center's $5, 45-minute Saturday rides through Oaks Bottom completely flip the script, allowing you to board a train drawn by an old GMD-1 diesel locomotive, which travels from the Southeast industrial zone through Oaks Bottom before doubling back once it reaches Oaks Park. Whether you're in the car or seated on an open-air platform, you can watch hawks, mallards, woodpeckers and other birds in their natural environment in the wetlands of the Willamette, all while getting a fun train ride for the same price as an all-day MAX pass.
The train departs every hour on the half-hour, from 12:30 to 4:30 pm, and a ticket gives you access to the railway museum as well. As an added bonus, you'll also watch bikers on the path next to the tracks get increasingly annoyed as the train blows its whistle, making it a cheap and weirdly satisfying way to spend an hour in nature on a Saturday while remaining seated.