Manito Park and Botanical Gardens – Spokane, WA


The Back-to-School excitement wore off at our house prematurely this year due to what I’m calling “Walters Plague 2016.” Just two weeks into the school year, all six of us got sick with the flu or a cold. Then, those who had a cold traded with those who had a flu. Then I got a sinus infection, then an ear infection. Then the twins had back-to-back fevers. Now my husband and I are stuck with a lingering chest cold.

When you have kids, you sometimes feel like your family is playing a game of “hot potato” but the potato is a virus that you don’t want to catch but inevitably will anyway. For a brief few days, it seemed like everyone was on the mend and having a terrible case of cabin fever, we jumped in the van and took a quick, overnight trip to Couer d’Alene.

A good friend recommended that we stop in Spokane at Manito Park and Botanical Gardens. I have never been, but I love beautiful parks. I thought we would park and be in and out in half an hour but my family really enjoyed it there and we ended up staying well over an hour. We would have stayed longer but I didn’t pack a picnic for my hungry kids.

I want to go back up there when the fall foliage is at its peak. It would be a beautiful location for family photos. I didn’t know that before the Great Depression, Manito Park was a zoo, but it had to be shut down due to lack of funding. Now it is a beautiful, 90 acre public park including a duck pond on the lower end and a rose garden on the upper end. The name Manito apparently means “spirit of nature” in Algonquian. I was really amazed by the height and beauty of the hundred year old or more trees in the park.

On the upper side, before you get to the rose garden, there is a large grassy area with towering trees. My children loved to run through them and my two year old twins looked like little gnomes scampering between the large tree trunks. I love this park because of the wide, paved pathways.

It would be a great place for a family picnic and/or bike ride through the park. There is also a fun playground in the middle of the park. It was really fun for our family to visit there. I only wish we had packed bread to feed the ducks!

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by writer Alicia Walters, contributor to print and digital magazines.

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