Discover the Hidden Gems of Oregon's Washington County
There are so many things to see and do in Oregon's Washington County that there are several attractions and events that even locals may not know about. Explore the many wonders of Washington County and find the "hidden gems" that are waiting to be discovered. Here are just a few attractions in the area that are waiting to be discovered.
The Classic Aircraft Aviation Museum--next to the Hillsboro Airport--truly is a hidden gem. This living history museum of aviation artifacts is actually a working hangar, with all aircraft still in flying condition, or being restored to flying condition. Military jets from all eras as well passenger jets are on display. The museum offers hands-on experiences for all ages, and the guides provide a vast amount of historical information. (Open Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission: Donations requested)
Situated near the confluence of Gales Creek with the Tualatin River is Washington County’s next hidden gem, Fernhill Wetlands. Just minutes from downtown Forest Grove, this gem attracts various wildlife and birds and is an ideal place to spot migratory birds and waterfowl. Updated features include foot bridges, new native trees and shrubs, water features and Japanese garden. (Open daily, dawn to dusk)
Literally a “gem” of Oregon, the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals has been recognized as the finest mineral museum in the Pacific Northwest and one of the best in the U.S. Situated in former 1952 residence of Richard and Helen Rice, the structure was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2006, recognized for its distinctive architectural style and use of natural stone and native Oregon woods, the museum houses a variety of fossils, meteorites, petrified woods, gems and rocks curated from around the world. (Open Wednesday-Sunday, 1-5 p.m.)
One of the oldest golf courses in the Pacific Northwest, and another of Washington County’s hidden gems is Forest Hills Golf Course. Built in 1927, this beautifully maintained 18-hole course features rolling terrain, scenic farmland and challenging play. (Green fees: $15-$35, 9 holes; $30-$56, 18 holes)
Part store, part collection of endangered and venomous creatures, the House of Reptiles and Venomous Reptile Museum features an array of live animals, including a variety of reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates. The store carries more than 100 species of animals, the largest selection in the area, as well as several "display" animals that have been rescued, including a 14-foot python. Currently, the museum has 20-30 venomous animals on exhibit, including rattlesnakes, vipers, mambas and more. (Retail store hours: Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 12-5 p.m. Venomous Reptile Museum house: Daily from 12 p.m. to store close. Admission to the museum is $3, ages 13 and older)
With more craft breweries than any other destination in the U.S., Portland is known as “beervana,” and its growing distillery scene has been a hot topic in recent years. However, one of the greatest secrets in Oregon’s Washington County is its burgeoning stamp on Oregon’s craft beverage industry. With a dozen breweries—including brew pubs--and two distilleries that are open for tastings, Washington County is holding its own with its award-winning artisan beverages. (Hours and fees vary)