The downtown area of Spokane is a huge shopping area, blocks and blocks of stores and theaters, and restaurants. It is beautifully done, right on the river, with a very large city park. For us, who rarely get to a city, this is a very friendly and fun place to visit.
The SkyRide is a 15 minute ride in an enclosed gondola "cabin." Each of the 15 cabins is ADA compliant and can hold 6 passengers. The cabin windows open for clear photos.
The ride travels past the art deco City Hall, then gradually drops down 200 feet over the Huntington Park Natural Area. From there, it goes across the Spokane River, under the historic Monroe Street bridge and then returns to Riverfront Park. The best views are March through June, when the water is high.
The SkyRide is open daily March through October, and weekends and holidays November through February.
Ticket Fees: Adults - $7.25
Teens 13 - 17, Seniors, Military w/ I.D. - $6.25
Children 3 - 12 - $4.00
Children 15 and under must be accompanied by an adult.
Riverfront Park's 1909 Looff Carrousel is on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of America's most beautiful and well preserved hand-carved wooden carrousels. It features 54 horses, 1 giraffe, 1 tiger, and 2 Chinese dragon chairs. All of the figures are original.
The horses were made from laminated poplar planks, and are hollow inside. The tiger is one of only 3 ever made for a carrousel, and it is the only one still in operation.
The carrousel is open year round except for 6 weeks during Jan-Feb. for annual maintenance.
June 12 to Sept 7, 2009 - Open Daily 10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. (10:00 p.m. on Fridays & Saturdays) Winter hours: Closes at 6 p.m. (8 p.m. on Fri. & Sat.)
Tokens: $2 for adults; $1.25 for children
The MAC has 6 galleries—Exhibits may be from the Museum’s permanent collection or from temporary exhibits they bring in. They have a very good Native American collection. Recent traveling exhibits have ranged from Sue (the dinosaur) to Star Wars.
One Saturday each month, there are special hands-on activities for kids--usually crafts that fit the theme of one of the current exhibits.
The 1898 Campbell House next door is owned by the MAC, and is included in the admission fee IF the house is open. (Sometimes it’s not.) There is a nice little café in the Museum also.
Wednesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Adults - $7; Students & Seniors (62+) - $5
Riverfront Park occupies 100 acres of land and water in the heart of Downtown on the site of Expo '74 (the World's Fair.) The park itself is free, but some of the attractions within it have admission fees. Visitors can walk along the river, look at the falls, feed the ducks, admire sculptures, picnic on the grass, or watch children slide down the giant red wagon.
Many special events are held in the park during the year--Fourth of July celebrations, Pig Out (a restaurant fair), Native American Powwows, Unity in the Community (celebrating diversity), music festivals, health fairs, etc.
Park attractions requiring tickets include: Skyride over the Spokane Falls, Looff Carrousel, IMAX Theater, miniature golf, amusement rides (Spring/summer), ice skating (winter) You can buy a punch ticket for the rides (purchase from a booth in the pavilion) or get a day pass that includes almost everything. Season passes are also available.
The punch ticket, or token, is available with 1, 3,6,12 and 24 punches, and costs $1.75 to $22.49 (plus tax.) Attractions take 2 - 4 punches per ride and are not good at the IMAX, Mini-golf or Skyride.
Summer Day Pass ('09 rates) – All ages, per day…… $15.49* *plus tax
Includes unlimited rides on the Red Baron, Bumper Cars, SR-2, Choo Choo Train, Bumper Boats, Tilt-a-Whirl, Ferris Wheel, Dragon Coaster, Sizzler, Berry-Go-Round, Tour Train, Carrousel*, Miniature Golf, & IMAX Regular Feature.
The Day Pass does not include the Sky Ride or IMAX Special Engagements
There is a $4.00 upgrade for each of these attractions.
Winter Day Passes: ('09)
All Ages, Per Day ............................$13.99 plus admission tax
Includes: skating admission, skate rental, one IMAX regular feature, two carrousel rides (when open) and mini-golf
No cars in the park. There are 2 pay parking lots on Post St., 3 or 4 more just north of the park, and a parking garage just across Spokane Falls Blvd
This outdoor skating rink in the park will be open October 21, 2009 - February 28, 2010
Hours of Operation: Open Daily
Monday ........................ ...................11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Tuesday - Thursday ..........................11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. & 7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Friday, Saturday and holiday eves ... 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. & 7:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Sundays ...........................................12:00 noon - 4:00 p.m. (Closed Sunday Night)
Drop in Hockey:
Thursday ..................................................................................... 8:45 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.*
*18 years of age and older. Proper equipment required
Admission: (Skate rental is additional)
Adults(13 & over)...........................................................................................$4.50
Youth (3-12; Senior 62 and older; Military with I.D......................................$3.50
Skate Rental ...................................................................................................$3.00
Drop-in Hockey (Thursdays 8:45 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.).....................................$6.25
The Riverfront Park Rotary Fountain is a popular attraction for beating the Summer heat, and it is usually full of giggling children. Harold Balazs is the artist.
The fountain has 5 stainless steel columns that are 24 feet tall. These support a 30- foot diameter ring containing 40 overhead jets. The jets spray towards the middle of the fountain producing a dome of water and a waterfall in the fountain's center. Eight geysers shoot water upwards.
The fountain also has dozens of mist jets, and the 5 boulders have jets that spray sideways. To conserve water, the fountain water is filtered and recirculated.
The fountain operates from Spring to Fall, 6am to midnight.
Bloomsday is the largest timed road race in the country, and a huge community event. It has been held annually on the first Sunday in May since 1977. It is a 12k run (about 7.5 mi.) with an advance entry fee of $15.
For the elite athletes, it is a competition with prize money. For the back of the pack, it is more like a giant party. Over 50,000 people of all ages participate, ranging from serious runners to babies in strollers. Everyone gets an official time.
There will be people in gorilla suits, pink tutus, tuxedos, funny t-shirts, and other wacky costumes. The whole course is lined with onlookers, and there is entertainment all along the way—a garage band in one block; a bunch of guys in skeleton masks drumming on buckets a little further on. At the top of a long, grueling hill, there is a guy in a giant vulture suit (Photo 2)
Participants get their race packets at the convention center on Friday or Saturday before before the race. The Bloomsday Trade Show that is going on at the same time is fun, even if you aren't entered in Bloomsday.
The 'Spokane Falls Northern Railway' makes a 40 minute loop through the park while
the conductor highlights points of interest and historical facts during your ride.
The train operates daily from early June until Labor Day, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and from Labor Day to sometime in October, from noon to 5 p.m.
Board the train at one of these four locations:
The S. Howard bridge (near the carrousel)
South of the Pavilion (on the hilltop)
The North Gate (park entrance)
Admission by day pass, or train ticket. Train Ticket price: $4.50/person
"The Childhood Express" was created by Ken Spiering for the Centennial Celebration of Children in 1989. The wagon is an interactive sculpture--The handle is a slide. The large alphabet blocks nearby provide a place to sit or climb.
Relax on a park bench while your kids play.
A few statistics:
Dimensions - 12' high x 12' wide x 27' long.
Weight - 26 tons.
This 90-acre park, established in 1904, is a great place for visitors who like gardens and flowers. Attractions (all free) include:
Duncan Gardens - Constructed in 1912 on 3 acres - a classical European Renaissance garden with symmetrical beds and central fountain. The adjacent Greenhouse (conservatory) is full of exotic plants, all with labels.
The Rose Garden – developed in the 1940s, and now contains 150 varieties of roses
Perennials Garden – over 300 labeled plant species
The Lilac Garden – constructed in 1912. It contains over 100 lilacs representing 23 species.
The Japanese Garden – Established in 1974, it symbolizes the friendship between Spokane and its sister city, Nishinomiya. It is a tranquil place with beautiful Japanese landscaping, a waterfall, bridges and koi pond.
The Duck Pond – Ducks and geese, shade trees, and benches.
Playground and picnic area – Children’s play equipment, charcoal grills and firepits, picnic tables.
There is a loop road that goes past everything, with parking lots near the main gardens. It also makes a very pleasant 1 ½ -mile walking tour. The “Park Bench” Café (open in the summers only) has sandwiches, cold drinks and snacks available for purchase.
Photo 5 is a map of the park.
Visit the "Enchanted Forest" and try your hand at a round of miniature golf.
The indoor mini-golf course is open daily.
Tickets are available at Guest Services and in the Imax Theater.
9 holes: $4.00 - included with season & day passes
18 holes: $6.50 - included with season & day passes
Spokane Falls is the final fall of several in Riverfront Park alone and claims to be 80 feet (24 m) tall, but I think that may be including the dam. The falls were at one point a very important fishing point for the Spokane Indians and was a vital part of their culture. The successive damming of the Spokane and Columbia Rivers has completely stopped the salmon runs up these rivers.
The waterfall itself is quite impressive though. Its volume stays fairly respectable year round but is highest in spring and winter it has recorded volumes as high as 49,000 cubic feet / sec (1,388 cubic meters / sec) but typically is less than 10,000 cfs. The built environment around the falls has greatly reduced the scenic beauty that this location once had. These roads and viewpoints make it possible, however, to see the falls from many different locations including a gondola which runs on a cable over the falls.
There are many natural areas all over Spokane and the surrounding area. It is a very "foresty" area. You may want to check out the surrounding areas where you will find many parks, places to go canoeing, hike along trails, and just enjoy nature. There is snow in the wintertime so most places are only accessiable during the Spring and Summer....and during the Fall it is hunting season so some areas are off limits.
Spokane has some really nice sculptures in Riverfront Park and just outside it, and the Visitor's Bureau (201 W. Main St.) has a map with descriptions.
Sculptures include a local astronaut who died in the Columbia Space Shuttle; a giant concrete Japanese lantern; sculptures honoring mining, nursing, and Vietnam Vets; a mountain sheep; the Bloomsday runners; and the Garbage Goat.
One nice piece (at Monroe St. & Spokane Falls Blvd) is a poem engraved in granite formed in a large spiral (Photo 2.) The poem, "The Place Where Ghosts of Salmon Jump," is by Sherman Alexie.