Who are we kidding? Most of us have neither the money nor the time to plan a full-fledged Spring Break adventure. From the heightened security in Mexico to the economic crisis we are facing here in the states, you may think your options are nil and that you will be forced to spend a week on campus with nothing to do. Never fear, my fellow Wildcats. In case you did not know, Oregon is quickly becoming a hub for tourism, which means plenty of activities for you at little-to-no cost.
Hotspots in Portland
Celebrate Spring Break in style at the Portland Zoo. From March 23 to April 5, dress up in your tropical gear and go spend some quality
time with the lions, tigers and bears (oh my!) and the rest of the zoo animals. During this week, everything from themed music playing
throughout the zoo to animal talks and face painting are available. For a full list of events and schedules, check out www.oregonzoo.org. Cost of adult
Portland Japanese Gardens:
Nestled in southwest Portland, the Japanese Gardens offer peaceful and beautiful snapshots of Japanese culture and horticulture. With five gardens to explore in the five-and-a-half acre park, it is a perfect place to spend the afternoon. Although you can’t picnic in the gardens because food is not allowed, there are plenty of great restaurants downtown to taste. The cost is $8.00 for adults. See www.japanesegarden.com for more information.
I know what you’re thinking: That stupid groundhog said six more weeks of winter, and Mother Nature is not making any exceptions. However, in the coming weeks the weather is supposed to heat up. Here are a few camping adventures for those of you who don’t mind a chance of rain:
Cape Lookout State Park:
Located 12 miles southwest of Tillamook, this Oregon state park
stationed near the ocean has more than eight miles of trails and easy access to the beach. Tent camping will cost you a reasonable $10 a night, but you can also just spend the day and have a picnic for a $3 fee.
Silver Falls State Park:
When driving to Silver Falls, you may think you took a wrong turn as
you pass farmland and rolling hills. Don’t worry, though; the terrain
changes rapidly into a beautiful, temperate rain forest. Home to 10 waterfalls and 25 miles of trails, Silver Falls is another great place to have a camping or a day adventure. The day-use fee is $3 and the tent fee is $12 per night.
“Twilight” fan adventures
For you slightly obsessive fans who can’t make it to Forks, Wash., for Spring Break, you will be very happy to know that a majority of the movie was actually filmed in Oregon. Channel your inner vampire (or werewolf) at one of the following spots:
The Viewpoint Inn, Corbett, Ore.
Taste your way through Mac
This is for all of you 21-year-olds: In case you didn’t know, we live in the heart of wine country. More than 200 wineries are in the Willamette
Valley, 14 of which are located in McMinnville. With an average tasting price of $5 for a sampling of in-season wines, and the wineries practically in our backyard, this is a great, low-priced way to spend the day and see the beautiful
countryside. Please remember to drink responsibly and have a designated driver. Here is a small taste of the wineries McMinnville has to offer:
Panther Creek Cellars
Stone Wolf Vineyards and Mystic Mountain Vineyards
For more information on wineries across the state, check out www.oregonwine.org