Oregon’s Enchanted Forest is a charming and perhaps unexpected little amusement park in Turner, Oregon, near Salem and about an hour south of Portland. Filled with fairytale character sculptures, charming villages, and family-friendly rides all set in a forest (of course), Enchanted Forest is a fun destination, especially for those who have young kids.
While many amusement parks are owned and operated by large corporations, this one has been family-owned and operated by the Tofte family since the day it opened in 1971. And it all started with the vision by Roger Tofte, who created the 20-acre park as a labor of love.
Roger Tofte wanted to be an illustrator, but life took him in a few different directions—owning a small jewelry store and later working for the Oregon State Highway Department as a draftsman and artist. But after having his four children and realizing that Salem had little in the way of family-friendly fun, he decided to create a theme park right in town. The process wasn’t easy as he and his family built the park from the ground up themselves. Tofte bought the land for the park in 1964, but it didn’t open until seven years later. Every storybook character and many of the structures to this day were handcrafted and built by Tofte. Even today, in his 80s, he still works in the park!
So whether you’ve planned a trip to Enchanted Forest or saw the impressive road sign on I-5, stop for a visit.
Enchanted Forest is home to a few rides, but don’t expect any large-scale thrill rides. This park is and always has been all about families, so rides have younger children in mind and the height requirements to prove it. That being said, you will find the largest log ride in the Northwest here, with a 40-foot drop and a big splash at the end (you can request a poncho if you don’t want to get soaked).
The Ice Mountain Bobsled Rollercoaster has a 100-foot tall mountain as a backdrop. The ride lasts for 2.5 minutes over 1,600 feet of track.
The Challenge of Mondor is an interactive target-shooting fantasy adventure where you’re equipped with laser shooters and have to battle fantastical creatures to save little critters called Drumlins. Bonus, there are daily and all-time high score medals awarded!
There are also bumper cars and bumper boats, a haunted house, a classic carousel, and other kiddie rides like a tiny train and a small Ferris wheel.
Beyond the rides, Enchanted Forest is a lot of fun simply to stroll, even for younger visitors. Enchanted Forest is divided into a few different districts, each with its own atmosphere and specific theme.
Explore Storybook Lane, the first part of the park to open back in 1971 with Tofte’s handcrafted sculptures from fairytales, such as Alice in Wonderland. Don’t miss crawling into the rabbit hole, or sliding down the shoe slide (from the Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe nursery rhyme). And while the kids are sliding and running through the experience, take a moment to appreciate one man’s vision and tenacity to create all these things himself.
Other themed areas include Tofteville Western Town and an Old European Village, both of which are filled with things to do. In Western Town, you can try your hand at a shooting gallery, pan for treasure, play with remote control boats, or catch a documentary in the Wagon Wheel Opera House gift shop about how the park was built. The log ride and haunted house are located in this district.
The Old European Village is home to the Fantasy Fountains water and light show, which features music by Tofte’s daughter, Susan Vaslev, as well as 359 fountains dancing to the music with a backdrop of changing lights. You can catch live music in the Gathering Hall during some times of the year. The Village also has Pinocchio’s Playhouse, a perpetual motion machine, and the Gepetto’s Toys Treasures and Trinkets Shoppe.
In the summer months, stop by the Comedy Theater, where all shows are written by Vaslev as well!
What to Know
The park is open on some days in March, April, May, and September, but mostly open in June, July, and August. Always check the calendar on the Enchanted Forest website before you go.
There are food options in the park including pizza, hot dogs, hamburgers, fries, nachos, and the like, as well as an ice cream parlor. You can also bring a picnic into the park.
Kids and adults alike can have their faces painted, whether you seek a simple design, full face paint, or even a costume.
You can bring a birthday party to Enchanted Forest. If you have under 25 people, you don’t have to book in advance, but there are admission discounts if you bring 10 or more people, as well as several perks in the park, such as free cold storage for a birthday cake, free button for the birthday boy or girl, singing at some of the shows, and discounts on some food items.
What to Do Nearby
Enchanted Forest is about an hour south of Portland, so it’s easy to pair with a trip to the state’s largest city. Either take a day trip down to the park from Portland, or save an extra day or two to explore all the things to do in Portland.
Salem is the closest city to Enchanted Forest and makes a great place to stay. There’s plenty to do in town, such as the Gilbert House Children’s Museum, riding the carousel at Riverfront City Park, and walking around the state capitol.
Silver Falls State Park is nearby, and always worth a visit as its often called the crown jewel of the Oregon State Park system for good reason. It’s gorgeous and filled with waterfalls.