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Archive: Kids & Family / Spokane and North Idaho

(un)Bored Kids: Ducks and pucks

Looking for ways to keep the kids entertained this weekend? Check out these highlights of local family-friendly events:

Looff Carrousel - Now Open
The historic Riverfront Park attraction reopened today for 2015 after its annual spring cleaning. See Our Weekly Pick for Families for more information.

“Honk! Jr.”
Enjoy a family-friendly musical production adapted from the Hans Christian Andersen story “The Ugly Duckling” at Bing Crosby Theatre, presented by Christian Youth Theatre Spokane.
Event: Friday, Feb. 27, 7 p.m.; Saturday, Feb. 28, 3 & 7 p.m.; Sunday, Mar. 1, 3 p.m.

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Submit info for 2015 Summer Camp directory

Punxsutawney Phil may have seen his shadow last week, but we’re already planning for summer!

The Spokesman-Review is preparing our annual Summer Camp directory for publication on May 6, and we need your info! If you run a day camp, an overnight camp, sports camp, art camp, computer camp—you get the idea—we want to know about it!

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Send us your camps!

The Spokesman-Review is again assembling a list of all the summer camps throughout the region for our annual print publication and online resource. If you would like a free listing, we make it easy!

  1. Email your listing to summercamps@spokesman.com
  2. Snail mail it to The Spokesman-Review, 999 W. Riverside, Spokane WA 99210 attn: Summer Camps
  3. Submit the info online at www.spokesman.com/summercamps-form (for simple listings only please  – places with multiple days/locations/prices may want to use another option)

For the first two options, please include the camp's location, date,  theme, cost, and contact info for the public. (You can also contact info not for publication so we can let you know if we have any questions)

Any listings that come in before Friday April 4 will be included in the print edition. .



Put swimming on your Monday calendar

This is the season, apparently, for bargains. Thanks to Taco Bell, your friendly Mexican-like fast-food restaurant chain, all six City of Spokane swimming pools will offer free admission on Monday, Aug. 19. That's right. If you like to swim, Monday is the day you can do it in the city's pools … for free.

In case you're not familiar with the city's facilities, included in the promotion are the following sites: the Witter Aquatic Center, A.M. Cannon Aquatic Center, Shadle Aquatic Center, Hillyard Aquatic Center, Comstock Aquatic Center and the Liberty Aquatic Center.

For pool locations, hours and other information, click here.

Remember: Taco Bell burritos are tasty. But don't eat one for at least an hour before going swimming.

Check out the Sierra Silver Mine Tour in Wallace

I've lived in the Inland Northwest since 1980, just three months before Mount St. Helens blew. And all during that time, even though I've driven through Wallace, Idaho, dozens of times, I've never once visited a silver mine.

Until today. Along with a group of Chinese students, age 8 to 12, who are staying and studying in Coeur d'Alene as part of an international exchange program, I took the Sierra Silver Mine Tour. And during the 45 minutes or so that we were underground, we learned about how miners lived and worked.

Turns out that, years ago, they worked by candlelight and stayed alive by keeping an eye on the bird they kept in cages. How things have changed.

The tours run daily, and group rates can be had. You can find everything you need by clicking on the link above. If you do decide to go, take a light wrap (it's cool inside), wear sensible shoes (the walkway is rocky) and prepare for loud noises.

By the way, the Chinese kids loved it. 

Photo: That's our tour guide, Albert, who was a miner for 36 years.

Get that bike out, rain or shine

It's always good to celebrate a little bit of the international when it comes to Spokane. I'm talking about Summer Parkways, which is an idea based on an event from Bogota, Colombia, called Ciclovia (which is Spanish for "cycle lane" or "bike path").

Summer Parkways, which is described in the embed below, will be held 6-9 p.m. today in the Comstock/Manito Park neighborhoods. Streets will be closed, activities will be offered and even a bike-decorating contest will be held.

So have fun. Or, as they say in Spanish, "Diviértanse!"

The Magic Kingdom is pricey … duh

You can go to Disneyland (or Disney World) as many times in your life as you can afford. But you can go for the first time only once. And when you do, it's best either to be a child or be with a child. And I was with two of them when we battled the crowds in Anaheim to ride with Dumbo, meet a bevy of princesses, tour the Jungle Cruise, eat overpriced hot dogs (and cotton candy), not to mention meet Mickey and Minnie in all their splendor.

The two tickets above cost a total of $187, for one adult and one 4-year-old (the near-2-year-old was free). After I found a defibrillator, I pulled out my American Express card, gulped and proceeded to hand it over. And a good time was had by all.

After our nine-hour adventure, we were already making plans for next year. Or maybe the year after that. It'll take me that long to pay off my Amex so that I can load it up again.

Thanks, Walt. I know you died relatively young. Now I know why.

NYE, YMCA-style

CALLING ALL TEENS: The YMCA is having a New Year's Eve party you won't want to miss! Hang out all night long … there'll be swimming, floor hockey, basketball, gym games and Xbox tournaments. Plus movies, food and music — all for you, the teen who knows how to have a good time!

The party runs from 10pm to 7am New Year's Eve, and is for ages 12-18. It's $35 if you're a Program Member and just $25 for Premier Members. (Seriously, Mom and Dad … this one's priceless! They have fun with their friends, you get to be asleep on the couch by 11 without hearing the kids tell you how lame you are for not going out and making a ruckus. Yes!)

For more information, or to register: 747-YMCA or ymcaspokane.org

Santa is big in Auckland, too

Whitcoulls is, as it claims, "one of New Zealand's favorite bookstores." But one of the store's biggest holiday features comes during Christmas, which is usually sunny and warm (December being the middle of the island nation's summer), when the store brings out its giant Santa. People line the city's sidewalks, mostly on busy Queen Street, and click photos of the big bearded guy. During the day we spent in Auckland, I was no different.

Happy Horror Days!

Seriously. Dude. What. The. Fudge. I can almost guarantee you every kid in these photos is scarred for life. I can't stop laughing. Oh, that's some holiday magic right there. 

A healthy dose of creativity

I've been going to the same group of doctors since I was in 9th grade — that's more than 25 years (omg). Sure, the older I get the more often my GP has to outsource me to a specialist, but for the regular aches and pains, the gnarly cold that refuses to relent, the almost-sawed-off finger, I still head to the docs at Spokane Family Health Center. They're a full-service family practice, which means sometimes, when I call with a need-to-get-in-today issue, I get to spend time in a room that belongs to someone who usually treats the under-13 crowd.

On my last visit (during which I was told the aching in my throat was simply the bug du jour and not, in fact, strep) I whiled away the time it took for my tests to process by admiring this little gem of a poster. Seems sweet enough at first blush. A hand-drawn representation of the alphabet. A is for aardvark. I is for iguana … and then things get interesting. N is for narwhal. My doc was impressed that I knew this one … he said most of his patients think it's imaginary. I told him more of his patients need to become familiar with Elf.

Then I noticed X … X is for xerphus.

My doc walked back into the room with the verdict (just gunky, not streppy) and caught me double-checking my spelling of "The X Creature" in the Google search window of my hand-held computer device. "Um, I don't think you're going to find that one … I'm pretty sure it's make-believe." Said the guy who overlooked U, for unicorn. 

Lunch in Brooklyn was on our Ledger

Above: The remains of lunch at the Brooklyn eatery Five Leaves. The food was so good I'd almost finished before I snapped the photo.

More notes from New York: It was just after 2 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon, and my daughter abd I were hungry. As we had been working from her studio/office in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, we decided to walk down the street for some lunch. To a little eatery called Five Leaves.

If that name sounds familiar, it may be because of Heath Ledger. The late Australian actor had planned to open the corner restaurant, which sits on the boundary between Williamsburg and Greenpoint, but died before plans could be finalized. After funds were released from Ledger's estate, two of his friends - who had hatched the idea with Ledger - continued with the Australia-meets-America establishment.

Whatever its origin, the place is an informal setting that boasts an intriguing menu. It was a chilly day, but the sun was out so we sat at a sidewalk table. I ordered a Moroccan Scramble (merguez sausage, scrambled eggs with spiced chickpeas, crushed avocado over grilled sourdough), and Rachel a chopped black kale salad (with spicy anchovy dressing, aged gouda cheese and hazelnuts). And those were two of the more ordinary offerings.

City life isn't for everyone. And to some people, New York City means Manhattan. But the outer boroughs, especially Brooklyn, offer a world of diversity that tourists don't automatically know of.

Like Five Leaves. If you're in the Williamsburg-Greenpoint area, and you're hungry, you should drop in. The ghost of Heath Ledger will thank you.

Pay It Forward at the Pump

You need gas. And you want to support our troops. Guess what? Until 4pm this afternoon you can take care of both things at once!

The 92nd Squadron Booster Club from Fairchild will be manning (and womaning) the pumps out at Spoko Fuel in Airway Heights today, pumping gas, washing windows and raising money for their squadron Christmas party. I'm pretty sure these awesome enlisted families could use every extra ounce of Christmas cheer you can spare, so if you're headed out that way, tuck a couple extra bucks in your pocket and drop it in their celebration bucket why don't ya.  

P.S. I realize this is a Navy-themed flag pic, but you have to admit it's pretty cool and it caught your attention, right? Took it at the end of the Navy Pier while we were in Chicago celebrating our boy's graduation from Boot Camp in August. Hooyah!

Because there’s always something to be thankful for


… some generous agencies and businesses in Kootenai County are paying it forward this Thanksgiving.

Here's a message that was shared with us, and we're sharing it with you. If you or someone you know wants to share a Thanksgiving meal with people in your community, you're welcome to attend!

Here's the information. Please share it! There are no prerequisites, no qualifiers. This is just a wonderful way to come together and be thankful.

This has been a year of great economic hardship for many families in Kootenai County. Loss of jobs, loss of homes, and the rising cost of gas, utilities, and groceries has put a strain on all of us.

This year agencies and businesses across Kootenai County have united to “pay it forward” to the residents of Kootenai County by providing Thanksgiving Dinner for our community. Everyone is welcome, there are no prerequisites.

Thanksgiving Dinner will be served free to the public on November 22 at The Fedora Pub and Grille, 1726 W. Kathleen from 11 am to 4 pm.

Come and share Thanksgiving dinner with your community in Kootenai County and “pay it forward” in each other’s lives.

Something for everyone to boo …

Haunted Houses. Creepy Hallows. Monster Mashes. Ghoulish Games. And candy … lots and lots of candy! If you're searching for some frightful fun, there's plenty for everyone this weekend, right on through Halloween.

You'll be terrified by the possibilities … click here.

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