Salem Oregon

Salem Oregon is not the largest city in Oregon (that distinction belongs to Portland), but it is the state capitol and historically an economically important region in the Pacific Northwest. Salem tours of the capitol building continue to be a popular attraction. The name Salem comes from the word "shalom," meaning "peace" in Hebrew and since its beginning has gained attention for the cherry blossoms that supported the Salem economy for decades in its earliest days.

Although Native American tribes existed in the area for hundreds of years before settlers began arriving in the 19th century, Salem Oregon as we know it today first became a community in 1840. It was in 1840 that Jason Lee, a missionary to the Native American tribes, first settled in Salem and brought with him a small community. By 1844, the mission was no longer running, but by then a town had sprung up. Thought the original capitol of the state of Oregon was Oregon City, Salem became the capitol in 1851, and was later incorporated as a city in 1857, officially.

The Oregon state capitol building is one of the most visited attractions in Salem. More than just one of many good Salem attractions for elementary field trips, the Oregon State capitol building is full of history and meaning. Another of the interesting attractions in Salem worth visiting is the Willamette University building. Salem attractions do include some unique activities, as well. Willamette Queen is the name for a huge paddle wheel powered boat that docks at the Salem Riverfront Park. The boat takes trips up and down the Willamette River that can take the shape of a short sight-seeing cruise or something a little longer that might function more like a dinner cruise.

Willamette Mission State Park is also one of the more popular Salem attractions, where families can see the first settlement of Salem still perfectly preserved in its original state. Salem vacations to the Mission State Park can also include biking, horse back riding, running and hiking through the miles of trails the weave through and around the park. One of the more popular attractions in Salem is also the Willamette Valley National Wildlife Refuge Complex. This is a great park for bird-watching, where geese, raptors, ducks and geese roam wild.

Salem tours of the Salem Riverfront can include a host of great activities. The shores of the Willamette River offer a bevy of things to do. One of the best-loved activities for children and family taking Salem tours of the riverfront is the Salem Riverfront Carousel, which has over 40 hand-carved horses and operates in its own building all year long.

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