7 Best Family Friendly Spokane Activities To Discover

August 16, 2018

We love any excuse to explore a city like a local, no matter where we go. And whenever we travel to Spokane, WA, we’re always looking for family friendly Spokane activities to do.

The city is such a family-oriented place, it’s not so hard to find. Having grown up in Spokane, I've always thought it was a great family friendly destination. And now that I have kids of my own, I'm excited that my kids can experience some of the fun things that I did in Spokane when I was a kid.

This post was updated on May 11, 2020.

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Children walking at a garden, an example of family friendly Spokane activities
Beautiful Duncan Gardens at Spokane's Manito Park (August 2018)

Things to know about family friendly Spokane activities

The city of Spokane is located in the eastern part of Washington State. It sits next to the border of Idaho, which makes it an easy jumping off point for exploring nearby cities in Idaho such as Coeur d'Alene and Sandpoint.

Spokane's tagline is "close to nature," and it's not hard to see why. There are so many options for hiking in Spokane, as well as other outdoor attractions like Mount Spokane State Park or the Centennial Trail. Riverside State Park is also a great place for hiking near Spokane. You can also find hike ideas in Day Hike! Spokane, Coeur d'Alene, and Sandpoint.

Besides year-round outdoor activities, Spokane also has events throughout the year that draw in visitors from outside of the city. Our favorite city-wide event is Bloomsday, a 12km run that usually occurs on the first Sunday of May. There is also Hoopfest, a three-on-three basketball tournament that usually happens at the end of June.

Check out my fun kid-friendly ideas for how to stay fit and active during your travels.

A child playing with an electricity exhibit at a science center, an example of family friendly Spokane activities
Playing with an electricity exhibit at Mobius Science Center (August 2018)

Our favorite family friendly Spokane activities

We recently spent an extended amount of time in Spokane, and had fun exploring some of the activities that the city has to offer. Slow traveling is always fun to do because it gives us a chance to dive deeper into a destination.

Here are a few of my favorite family friendly Spokane activities for you and your family to discover on your next visit.

Enjoying the gardens at Manito Park (August 2018)

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1. Free swim at the public pools

One way that we try to save money on travel in the United States is finding free or cheap activities to do. Fortunately, Spokane has some free options for families by way of water play.

In early 2018, the Spokane Park board voted to eliminate admission fees for Spokane city pools. What this means for families visiting Spokane is that you can swim at the public pools for free!

There are six aquatic centers located around the city, making it my favorite of the family friendly Spokane activities on this list. Families will need to register with the parks department first, in order to get their Splash Pass and use the pool facilities.

Free swimming at Spokane's Shadle Aquatic Center (August 2018)

2. Manito Park

If you’re looking for more free family friendly Spokane activities, then you’ll need to spend an afternoon at Manito Park. Opened in 1904, this city park has an English style garden, a rose garden, playgrounds, a duck pond, a Japanese garden, and conservatory.

I love coming in the summer when the flowers are in bloom! The park is located in the city’s South Hill neighborhood, and is free and open to the public all year-round.

Walking through the gardens at Manito Park (August 2018)

3. Mobius Science Center

For year-round family friendly Spokane activities, you can’t miss a visit to the Mobius Science Center, located in downtown Spokane. Our kids love science museums because they’re fun, and I like them because the kids get to learn while they're traveling.

The Mobius Science Center has many interactive exhibits, and even provide demonstrations (during our visit, they did a demonstration of what happens when you mix hydrogen peroxide with yeast and dishsoap). Admission for the science center is $8 for adults and children.

Learning about circuits at Mobius Science Center (August 2018)

4. Cat Tales Zoological Park

Spokane is not known for having zoos. And by all intents and purposes, Cat Tales Zoological Park is not much to write home about. But if you're looking for fun things to do in Spokane, Cat Tales is a great place to view animals (lions and tigers and bears, oh my!) who have been rescued.

Each exhibit has a little placard with the name of each animal, and their personal story. Although there wasn't really any general information about the animals (big cat facts, bear facts, etc), my kids didn’t seem to mind. They just loved looking at the big cats! Admission to Cat Tales is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and students, and $5 for children. The zoological park is open all year.

A tiger at Cat Tales Zoological Park, one of the family friendly Spokane activities
A tiger at Cat Tales Zoological Park (August 2018)

5. Riverfront Park

One of the most popular of the family friendly Spokane activities is Riverfront Park. This park is located in downtown Spokane, along the Spokane River, and has a carousel, playground, water play area, roller rink/skating rink, arcade, and trails for walking and biking. There’s a gondola that lets you ride over the river and view Spokane Falls.

The clock tower is a popular spot for picnics, and one of our favorite fun things to do in Spokane. Many of Spokane’s city wide festivals are held at this park.

Riverfront Park in Spokane (May 2015)

6. River Park Square

Near Riverfront Park is one of the city’s popular malls, River Park Square. If you’re looking for family friendly shopping and dining, then this is the place. River Park Square has Nordstrom and the Gap, as well as several casual and fine dining options.

The Mobius Children’s Museum is also located at River Park Square. We like going to River Park Square for its movie theater.

Playing at the entrance of River Park Square (August 2018)

7. Breakfast at Ferguson’s

When I was a teenager, one of my favorite places to eat breakfast with my friends was Ferguson’s Cafe, located on Garland Ave. It was standard diner fare, but the atmosphere was cozy and friendly. Now over twenty years later (yes, I just admitted my age!), the owners have changed, but the atmosphere and food have not.

Ferguson’s is a great family friendly breakfast spot. It’s main claim to fame was being featured in the Johnny Depp movie, Benny and Joon, but quite honestly, it’s just a cute place to eat breakfast!

Want to explore more of Spokane? Take a look at my other posts about visiting Spokane with kids.

Ferguson's Cafe on Garland Avenue (August 2018)

Taking time to seek out new family friendly Spokane activities

Whenever we visit Spokane, we’re always looking for family friendly Spokane activities, and this trip certainly didn’t disappoint. If you ever pass through this quaint eastern Washington city, be sure to check out one of these fun things to do in Spokane!

Have you been to Spokane? What are your recommendations for family friendly Spokane activities?

Is Spokane part of a bigger family travel adventure for you? Use my ebook, Hey Kids, Let’s Go Travel! as a resource for tools, advice, and action steps for planning your trip.

Seven Family Friendly Spokane Activities To Discover | The Wandering Daughter

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