Why You Should Visit Spokane, WA

In May of 2005, I had the pleasure of visiting Spokane, Washington for my best friend’s wedding. I was only there ten days, but it was the best vacation I had ever had. Spokane is full of gorgeous parks and points of recreational interests that will keep you in awe for days and days. Spokane is the second largest city in Washington State and is originally home of the Native American tribe known as the Spokane, which means “Children of the Sun.” The Native American roots of this city shows vibrantly through every park and museum.

Our first stop on our trip was an endangered species conservation park called “Cat Tales”. Located about six miles from Division Street “Y” on the Newport Highway, the tour will take you within eight feet of the animals and see over two dozen exotic cats found throughout the world. You can tour the park on your own or you may choose to take a guided tour where you can learn about all the animals. You can even purchase a “treat bag” which is a bag of chicken necks, to feed a Lion or a Tiger with one of the Zookeepers for around $7 a bag. Not only are there Lions, Tigers, Leopards, and Panthers, but there is moreâÂ?¦ There is a petting zoo with birds and reptiles. There is also a souvenir shop that has a variety of beautiful animal decorated clothing and fun stuffed toys and games. The park is open all year round but the hours of operation differ. Admission rates are no more than $8. The park is funded only by donations.

Our next stop was the most beautiful park I have ever seen, Manito Park and Botanical Gardens. The park was originally a public recreation area called Montrose Park. In 1903 its name was changed to Manito, said to mean “Spirit of Nature” in the Algonquian language. There is three acres of a formal European garden with a large granite fountain that was designed and built in 1913, a perennial garden, a conservatory with tropical plants and seasonal flowers, a Japanese garden, lilac gardens, and Rose Hill which homes over 1500 rose bushes of over 150 varieties and is used as an All American Rose Selections test garden. Gold fish ponds, duck ponds, and a feel of classical European renaissance flow through the entire park. There is also a Play Area, Tennis Courts, and Picnic Areas. Manito Park is located just south of Downtown on Grand Boulevard and is over 90 acres. There is no admission.

Another breathtaking park, Mission Park, is complete with a gorgeous waterfall, hundreds of trails that are steep and rocky, perfect for hiking and climbing. The scenery and nature and wildlife surrounding this park are too beautiful to even try to put into words. We spent about 3 hours hiking these trails and consistently found ourselves getting lost or finding new trails.
Spokane also offers many ski slopes such as Silver Mountain and White Water Ski Resort. Ranches for horseback riding are located minutes from downtown Spokane. Indian Canyon Riding Stables give you a one to three hour tour visiting historical sites on horseback. There is also Riverfront Park which holds a historic 1909 Loof Carousel, and Imax Theatre, a Skyride over Spokane Falls, roller blading and bike rentals, bumper cars, video arcades, a historical clock tower, and much more that I personally did not have a chance to tour.

Not too far from Spokane is The Northwest’s Largest Theme Park called Silverwood and also Boulder Beach Waterpark. If you like fast steel coasters, underground coasters, giant waterslides, wave pools, and classic wooden coasters, then you will love this park. For only $33 you can spend the entire day touring both parks. Spokane celebrates many different festivals during the year as well there is a good chance you’ll be able to catch one at any time.

If you like shopping or just window shopping, you will truly enjoy Spokane Valley Mall. The Spokane Mall is located 10 miles from downtown Spokane, Washington. The mall has over 120 major stores, theaters, and restaurants such as; Regal Valley 12 Theaters, Gymboree, Rave, Outback Steakhouse, Red Robin, and JCPenny. Spokane has a sense of historical and peaceful setting that can really put the fun and relaxation on any business trip or vacation. This is truly the perfect getaway for the entire family.

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