Spring Whale Watch Week
Catch a glimpse of whales as they swim north with their babies to feed in the Bering and Chukchi seas near Alaska.
Gray whales are the most common species found along the Oregon Coast, but others, including minke, Bryde's, humpback, blue, sperm and killer whales, also have made an appearance.
Visitors can spot spouts on their own or stop at any one of the 28 sites staffed by Whale Watching Spoken Here volunteers.
The best places to catch a glimpse of the massive mammals are Ecola State Park, Cape Lookout State Park, Boiler Bay State Scenic Viewpoint and Rocky Creek State Scenic Viewpoint.
10 a.m. to 1 p.m. daily, March 24-31, Oregon Coast, 541-765-3407, www.whalespoken.org, free
Columbia Gorge hiking and biking
Take a hike with the Friends of the Columbia Gorge, a group offering more than 51 hiking, biking and kayak trips over the course of the summer.
Featured trips open to the public this weekend are a moderate mountain biking excursion on the Deschutes River Trail and three hikes ranging from moderate to seriously strenuous: Courtney Road Loop, Ferry Springs Loop and Upper Swale Canyon. Check the Web site for meeting times and locations.
7:45 a.m. and 9 a.m. SATURDAY, 8 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. SUNDAY, March 24-25, 503-241-3762 ext. 103, www.gorgefriends.org/hikes/currentschedule, free
A weeklong celebration of South American cultures and critters awaits spring-breakers at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry's Rainforest Week, where macaws, snakes and bugs will intermingle with cultural music and dance with demonstrations from the Northwest Herptile Keepers Association, Oregon Orchid Society and others.
Rainforest Week ties in with the museum's current exhibit Amazon Voyage: Vicious Fishes and Other Riches, taking visitors on a journey through the great Amazonian ecosystem, filled with feisty piranhas, enormous anacondas and pink dolphins.
9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. SATURDAY, March 24, through April 1, OMSI, 1945 S.E. Water Ave., 503-797-6674, www.omsi.edu, $7-$9
Little Kids' Jamboree
Join Lorna Miller for an interactive musical performance using rhythm instruments, songs, movement and imagination for family members of all ages.
Miller will pass out hand drums and other instruments to play along with as she strums guitar and sings.
Children and their families will have a blast learning rhythm and leave the banging, clanging instruments with Miller until the next jamboree rolls around.
4 p.m. to 5 p.m. SATURDAY, March 24, Mississippi Pizza Pub, 3552 N. Mississippi Ave., 503-288-3231, $5 per family
Vernal Equinox Celebration
Mix one part green (vernal) with equal parts daylight and darkness (equinox) and you have the Vernal Equinox Celebration, aka the Star Party.
The equinox actually occurred Tuesday at 5:07 p.m. Pacific time, but that's not stopping the stargazers from whooping it up this weekend.
Beginners and experts will have the chance to use the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry's high-powered telescopes and binoculars to catch a glimpse of Venus, Saturn, Orion nebula, the moon and more.
Call the hot line after 3 p.m. on the event day to check for possible weather cancellations.
7:30 p.m. SATURDAY, March 24, Rooster Rock State Park, 503-797-4610, www.omsi.edu/visit/planetarium/starparties.cfm, free event admission, $3 parking per vehicle; Rooster Rock is at Exit 25 off Interstate 84, 22 miles east of Portland
Bridge to Bridge
This annual running of the bridges includes a 5k or 10k run (or walk) and half-mile kids' run.
Runners of the 10k race will be treated to spectacular views from all the bridges, including the Fremont Bridge, as well as a run through the Pearl District.
Post-race, participants can replace their hard-earned sweat with beer, accompanied by food and live music.
7:30 a.m. (registration), 9 a.m. (race), 10 a.m. (kids' run) SUNDAY, March 25, races begin and end at Gov. Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Southwest Naito Parkway under the Morrison Bridge, 503-803-9242, www.terrapinevents.com, $35 adults, $10 kids (includes T-shirt and post-race beer and food), participants can register in advance at the packet pickup location, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. SATURDAY, March 24, Foot Traffic, 4020 N.E. Fremont St., or sign up on race day
Spring Break Party
You won't have to worry about getting a painful sunburn or pesky sand in your shoes when you treat your little monkeys to the Zoo's Gone Wild Spring Break Party, complete with island cuisine, tropical music, animal talks, face painting and themed 'enrichment activities' for the animals.
Bust out that Hawaiian shirt that's been waiting for just such an occasion and dig out the flip-flops and sunglasses, too, as 'island wear' is strongly encouraged.
9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, March 24-April 7, Oregon Zoo, 4001 S.W. Canyon Road, 503-226-1561, www.oregonzoo.org, $6.75-$9.75, free for children under 2, $1 parking per car