Peaches! by facebook.com/waltersfruit/
Spokane, located on Interstate 90 in the eastern-most part of Washington State, also hugs the Idaho border. Boasting 260 clear days a year and warmer temperatures than you’ll find west of the Cascade Mountains, this city offers families a myriad of attractions and activities to explore. You’re sure to find something every member of your family will enjoy.
Riverfront Park, a vast play space for both young and old in the heart of downtown, can keep you busy for hours. Pose by the giant red Radio Flyer wagon for a vacation souvenir photo, feed the garbage-eating goat a bit of trash and watch him gobble it up or ride the Looff Carousel. Take a 15-minute tour from on high in the Spokane Falls SkyRide where you’ll get a panoramic view of the city. There’s always something new to see from above. Experience a movie on IMAX, which is ten times larger than a regular film you’d see in a standard theatre. Fairs and festivals often take up residence here, too, like the annual Dragon Boat and Asian Festival.
While still in the park, you can join the Your City Bites food walking tour, and your guide will acquaint you with a bit of Riverfront Park history. During the course of the tour, you’ll walk almost two miles, but the jaunt requires several stops for food sampling at a variety of downtown restaurants, so you’ll have plenty of time to relax before strolling to the next stop. Depending on the day, you might taste flavored caramel apples, homemade soup, delicious mini-donuts or an Italian delicacy. You’ll visit at least seven eateries in all.
Ready to play with a little subtle learning thrown in? Trot on over to the new Mobius Science Center. It’s a toss up as to who will have more fun here – the parents or the kids. Almost every exhibit is interactive. This is the only public place where you can perform a digital autopsy, which teaches a lot about the human body. Moving around the center you can look through a microscope at a drop of water taken from the Spokane River, study the mysteries of magnets, and roll balls over spinning disks to see what path those balls choose. You’ll want to schedule a couple of hours for this stop.
A short car ride from downtown you’ll find the Cat Tales Zoo. Although the facility specializes in large cats like tigers, lions, pumas, leopards and bobcats, you might see a bear or a parrot here, too. Watching animal antics doesn’t usually involve any hands-on opportunities for the guests, but at Cat Tales you can opt to feed one of the large cats. I fed a tiger and although that’s not an experience that was on my bucket list, it should have been. What a thrill. Don’t worry – you’re kept very safe and given careful guidance on how to proceed by one of the staff. By now it’s time to feed your own troops again.
Whether you stop at Walter’s Fruit Ranch for a meal or just a piece of pie, you’ll not be disappointed. The Orchard Café serves breakfast and lunch daily, and the pie crust on their infamous fruit pies will make your mouth water. Walter’s Fruit Ranch belongs to the Greenbluff cooperative, which includes 30 privately-owned farms all within a 12-square-mile radius, many of which welcome guests. Walter’s grows cherries, peaches, nectarines, apricots, and apples, all sweet and juicy and for you to pick and take home. The farm hosts a Cherry Festival in July, the Peach Festival in August and the Harvest Festival in the Fall.
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