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Archive: Kids & Family / Spokane and North Idaho

Even more to do at Summer Parkways this year

Who could ask for better weather for 2016 Summer Parkways? The annual community event, which takes place between Manito and Comstock parks, is tonight, Tuesday, June 21, from 6 to 9 p.m., and the forecast shows mostly sunny skies and temps in the mid-70s.

Participants are able to enjoy four miles of car-free streets for running, walking, cycling or skating, as well as other family-friendly activities like fitness activities, chalk art, music and dancing, jump rope, food vendors and much more.

Spokane Summer Parkways map

And there’s something new for this year’s festivities. Pick up a “Parkways Passport” at Manito Park (Manito Place and Manito Blvd.), Jefferson Elementary (Division St. and Manito Blvd.) or Comstock Park (Post St. and 32nd Ave.). Collect stamps at booth along the route and turn in a completed Passport at the final spot to enter a raffle for the Grand Prize, a 2016 SpokeFest registration for a family of four.

There will also be a raffle giveaway of 10 Strider Bikes, courtesy of SpokeFest. Kids ages 18 months to 5 years can test out the bikes at the Strider Adventure Zone course (S. Manito Blvd. and S. Division St.) from 6 to7:15 p.m.

Don’t miss out on the sunny skies and outdoor fun! Visit Spokane Summer Parkways more information.

(un)Bored Kids: Spring into action

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

Con d’Alene
Learn new games or play your favorites! Second annual game convention at the American Legion Steven H. Nipp Post 143 in Post Falls with Strategy & Games to benefit veterans. [Weekend: $40/advance, $45/door; one day: $20/advance, $25/door; $5 discount for military and children age 12 and younger]
Event: Today, 1 p.m.-midnight; Saturday, 9 a.m.-midnight; Sunday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Spring Equinox Celebration Open House
Take a Space Adventure at the Outdoor Learning Center with a variety of activities, including star gazing, a scavenger hunt and more. [$5 suggested donation per person]
Event: Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Super Saturday at the Mac
Celebrate Women’s History with special activities at the Northwest MAC. Play with clay with ceramic artist Liz Bishop, enjoy music featuring the work of famous women musicians like Linda Allen and much more. [$10/adults, $7.50/seniors, $5/students, free/Museum members]
Event: Saturday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Disney’s Choo Choo Soul
All aboard for a musical experience at Bing Crosby Theater with hip-hop Conductor Genevieve Goings and beat boxing Engineer Constantine “DC” Abramson. [$15/children, $30-40/adults]
Event: Saturday, 1:30 and 4:30 p.m.

Celebrate the Chinese New Year
Learn about Chinese culture with dance, candy and fun with the Spokane Chinese Association at the Shadle Library. [Free]
Event: Saturday, 3 p.m.

Spokannibals Roller Derby
First home game of the 2015 season at Roller Valley Skate Center, the Spokannibals battle Storm City Roller Girls’ Misfits of Mutiny. [In advance: $8/adults, $6/students/seniors; at the door: $10/adults, $8/students/seniors, $5/military with ID]
Event: Saturday, 7 p.m.

Spokane Chiefs Hockey
Last game of the season, the Chiefs play the Everett Silvertips at the Spokane Arena. Individual player awards will be presented. [$10-$22 with discounts for kids/students/seniors/military]
Event: Sunday, 5:05 p.m.

Easter Bunny
Get a photo with the Easter Bunny at River Park Square. [photo prices vary]
Event: Today-Apr.4, hours vary

Want more? Visit spokane7.com/family for kid-friendly activities and events in our area.

(un)Bored Kids: Lucky 3.14

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

Central Valley High School Arts and Crafts Show
Fundraiser sponsored by CVHS Band Boosters with crafts and baked goods. [$2]
Event: Mar. 14, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Mar. 15, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Pi(e) Day
Mobius Science Center is celebrating 3.1415926 at 3-14-15 9:26 a.m. with pie-related treats (while supplies last) and extra program activities all day. [$10/adults, $7/kids, free/members and ages 3 and younger]
Event: Mar. 14, 9: 26 a.m.-5 p.m.

Family Construction Zone
Kids ages 1-8 (and their grown-ups) are invited to explore engineering and creativity with block stations at Cheney Library. [Free]
Event: Mar. 14, 10 a.m.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Thirty-seventh annual event hosted by the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick in downtown Spokane. Don’t forget to wear your green! [Free]
Event: Mar. 14, noon

“Alice in Wonderland”
Based on the classic tale by Lewis Carroll, Spokane Children’s Theatre’s production of “Alice in Wonderland” begins shortly after Alice has fallen down the rabbit-hole. [$12/adult, $8/children age 12 and younger]
Event: Mar. 14, 1 and 4 p.m., Mar. 15, 1 p.m.

“Pig Tales: A Summer Aswinement”
Ferris High School PTG presents the 52nd annual Ham on Regal fundraiser for academic, athletic and extracurricular programs at the school. This year’s musical extravaganza reviews what students did over their summer vacation. [$7-$9]
Event: Mar. 14 at 1:30 and 7:30 p.m.

Gizmo-CDA Classes
The non-profit makerspace offers a variety of programs introducing kids to concepts of engineering, construction and innovation. [$45 and up]
Event: Ongoing

Want more? Visit spokane7.com/family for kid-friendly activities and events in our area.

(un)Bored Kids: Mad Hatters and Hams

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

“Alice in Wonderland”
Based on the classic tale by Lewis Carroll, Spokane Children’s Theatre’s production of “Alice in Wonderland” begins shortly after Alice has fallen down the rabbit-hole. [$12/adult, $8/children age 12 and younger]
Event: Mar. 6, 7 p.m; Mar. 7, 4 p.m.; Mar. 8, 1 p.m.

Bird Watching for Beginners
Friends of Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge offers an introductory bird watching class once a month. See Our Weekly Pick for Families for more information. [Free; $3 car entry fee]
Event: Mar. 7, 9-11 a.m. (upcoming classes scheduled for Apr. 4, May 9 and June 6)

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(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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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!