When you’ve got kids, making time for travel and planning for travel can be quite a challenge. But family travel doesn’t have to be so elusive and difficult. In fact, it can be a lot easier than you think. For us, even short trips to towns like Spokane, WA is a good opportunity for family travel. And we recently discovered that there are so many fun things to do in Spokane for families!
For our little family of five, it’s not always easy to plan for travel. Our weekends are often filled with play dates, family outings, and catching up on chores. But for us, having a bit of travel in our lives is a necessity to maintain our sanity and connection to the world.
This year, we have twelve trips planned, ranging from Seattle excursions to multi-week road trips. And a few weekends ago, we completed our first trip of the year with a visit to Spokane, WA.
This post was updated on August 30, 2020.
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Discovering fun things to do in Spokane
I grew up in Spokane. And we go there quite often throughout the year to visit with my parents. But this time around, we decided to be tourists in my hometown.
I’ve always thought Spokane was a great place to raise kids. Besides all the city parks in Spokane (there are over 100!), there are a handful of museums, community centers, and libraries for families to visit. And there are also plenty of options for hiking in Spokane, if your family loves the outdoors like we do.
Ideally, the best place to experience a destination is to slow travel and spend a long time in one place. But unfortunately, a lot of families don’t often have a lot of opportunities for slow travel.
For this visit, we aimed to do as many family friendly activities as possible, given a limited amount of time, while still discovering all the fun things to do in Spokane. Here’s a look at some things that families can do in this city.
1. Check out exhibits at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture
Our trip started off with a visit to the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture. The locals call it the MAC. And it’s filled with interesting exhibits to help you learn about local art and history. It’s perfect for a worldschooling family!
When we were there, the MAC had an exhibit showcasing sculptures made from Legos. It was quite amazing seeing the kinds of sculptures people can make just out of Lego bricks. Our kids even had a chance to create their own Lego sculptures! Some of the more permanent exhibits we saw was a collection of local historical photography. I loved seeing how life was like a couple hundred years ago.
The Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture is open Tuesdays through Sundays, from 10am to 5pm. On the third Thursdays of every month, the museum closes at 8pm. Admission to the museum costs $19.50 for adults, $17 for college students and seniors (with valid ID), and $10 for children between the ages of 6 to 17. Children aged 5 and under are free.
2. Find fun things to do in Spokane at the Campbell House
Next to the main MAC building is a Victorian era mansion called the Campbell House. I have a slight affinity to old mansions, perhaps because it almost makes me feel like a time traveler when I visit them. During our travels, we’ve visited the Molly Brown House in Denver, CO and the Pittock Mansion in Portland, OR.
As for the Campbell House, it was occupied by one of Spokane’s wealthy mining families in the late 1800s and early 1900s. During its heyday, the Campbell family lived in the house with a coachman, a cook, two maids, and a gardener. In 1924, the house was donated to the Eastern Washington Historical Society, and since then, it has remained available to the public and managed by the MAC.
Today, the Campbell House, looks similar to what it would have looked like when the Campbells lived there. Admission to the Campbell House is included with admission to the MAC. However, you’ll need to register at the MAC before touring the mansion. On Saturdays, the Campbell House hosts an open house for the public. Next door to the main house is the carriage house, which also has exhibits where you can learn about what life was like in Spokane during the Victorian era.
3. Go explore at Mobius Children’s Museum
Our weekend continued with a visit to the Mobius Children’s Museum the next day. We like children’s museums because they give our kids a chance to play AND learn. For fun things to do in Spokane, the Mobius Children’s Museum is an easy option for little kids.
Although the museum space was pretty small, there were many of interactive and educational activities for the kids to play with. My kids made rings fly with magnetic coils, sent scarves shooting through tubes, played dress-up, banged on drums, and played house. The museum is located in the basement level of River Park Square Mall in downtown Spokane.
The Mobius Children’s Museum is open from Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10am to 5pm, and on Sundays from 11am to 5pm. Admission to the museum is $10 for adults and children ages 1 and older. Military personnel and seniors receive a $1 discount off of the admission.
4. Have a meal at Frank’s Diner
The last stop before heading back to Seattle was Frank’s Diner for a nice brunch with my parents. Voted “Best Breakfast” in Spokane, Frank’s Diner is a cute little restaurant set in a train caboose. I had a yummy breakfast of eggs. But my favorite part of the meal was our waitress, who was fun and quirky, and even had a cheesy joke to share with us at the end of the meal.
Frank’s Diner is located on 2nd Avenue in downtown Spokane, in between Maple Street and Ash Street. The restaurant is open from 6am to 9pm every day.
Want more ideas for exploring Spokane? Take a look at my Spokane posts!
Exploring more fun things to do in Spokane
This list is just an introduction to some of the fun things to do in Spokane that families can experience. There are many more family friendly Spokane activities, including swimming, exploring parks, and visiting the science center! For more ideas for Spokane activities, check out the book, 100 Things To Do In Spokane Before You Die.
All in all, we had a great visit to Spokane. Sometimes being a tourist in your hometown can be a fun and exciting experience. With one trip under our belt, we can’t wait for what the rest of the year has in store for us.
Do you like playing tourist in your home town? What’s your favorite thing to do or place to visit? Share them with me in the comments!
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