Tag Archives: Idaho

McCroskey State Park/Skyline Drive (Idaho)

On a recent Sunday we decided to go on an exploratory drive.  We chose the 18 mile Skyline Drive of the Mary Minerva McCrosky State Park in Idaho.

Skyline Drive offers beautiful views of the Palouse, even on a slightly rainy day like the one we had. It is very interesting in that it takes you through a typically western forest to a typically eastern one.

From the website:

“This 5300-acre ridgeline park is dedicated to pioneer women. McCroskey State Park’s highlight is an 18-mile skyline drive through the park on unimproved roads provides spectacular views of the rolling Palouse country and access to 32 miles of multi-purpose trails. Facilities include a group day use shelter, primitive camping areas and picnic areas along the road. The road is not recommended for large RVs and may be too rough for your family car.”

We did the road in our light SUV, and it was fine.  Here is a photo of the typical road condition:

It is free.  It has campsites, parking, restrooms, and vault toilets (whatever that is!). I think I saw hiking trails, but we did not do any hiking around.  It is open all year.

Info:

http://www.visitidaho.org/thingstodo/parks/mccroskey-state-park.aspx

http://www.wildernet.com/pages/area.cfm?areaID=IDSPMC&CU_ID=1

We bookended our drive with some snacks, of course.  On the way there we went to Potlatch, Idaho and visited the Wagon Wheel Bar & Grille and Laundromat.

Yes, laundromat.  Meaning there are two washers and dryers in the front part of the establishment, next to the pool table and video games (you eat in the rear part).  Kind of kooky, but fun, friendly, good burgers, open on Sunday, and they allowed kids.

Wagon Wheel Bar & Grille
220 6th St

Potlatch, ID 83855

Phone:  (208) 875-1067

At the end of our journey we went to Garfield and had ice cream and beer at Smokin’ Papas BBQ Cafe.  I have been told the BBQ is very good, and I hope to get back to try it.  They also have pizza. We were really thankful to find another place open on Sunday.

Smokin’ Papas

(509) 635-1290

216 W California St, Garfield, WA

It was a nice way to spend a rainy Sunday, and we got to see some nooks and crannies, and sweeping vistas, of the lovely Palouse.

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Indoor Play Places

Pullman McDonald's Play Area

It’s too cold to go outside, and the kids are bored.  More to the point, YOU need to get them out of the house, or you will all go crazy.  Enter the indoor play area.

Longer View, Pullman McDonald's Play Area

The only indoor play area I know of in Pullman itself is McDonald’s.  (If there are others, PLEASE let me know!)  Even if you would never have stepped foot in a McDonald’s before moving to Pullman, you will do it once you live here.  And it is actually quite pleasant- it is clean and bright, and is the nicest of the area McDonald’s and McDonald’s play areas.  Order some coffee if you are anti-McD’s food, and let the kids run wild.

1620 GRAND AVE S – PULLMAN, WA 99163-4905 – (509)332-6725

Pullman McD's

Other McD locations with play areas:

Lewiston McDonald's Play Area

Lewiston:  This is the second best.  It is the largest, and it can help make the drive to Lewiston worth it for kids.  There is a sign that says Mondays are Family Nights, which I think means the whole family can play on it.  Like all these McD play structures, if your kid gets stuck/scared or just refuses to come out, extracting him or her would be basically impossible.

119 THAIN ROAD – LEWISTON, ID 83501 – (208)746-3032

(The McDonald’s website indicates there is also one in Clarkston, WA with a play area, but I have never been there.  Address: 350 BRIDGE ST – CLARKSTON, WA 99403-1929 – (509)758-9603)

Moscow, Idaho McDonald's Play Area

Moscow, Idaho:  This one is my least favorite, as it seems like the least clean of the three (just my take on it from looking!).  But it is still not bad, and you know, it is something to do.

1404 MOSCOW-PULLMAN HIGHWAY – MOSCOW, ID 83843 – (208)882-2900

OTHER INDOOR PLAY AREAS:

Eastside Marketplace, Play Area

The Eastside Marketplace in Moscow has a nice indoor play area.  It is in front of the movie theater.  It is clean and free.  You can even have a birthday party there.  I highly recommend this play area.

Eastside Marketplace Rules

The play area is also in front of Wild At Art, the paint-your-own pottery place, which is an excellent thing to do with kids (maybe I’ll do an entry on that too).

Eastside Marketplace

1420 South Blaine Street
Moscow, ID 83843-3973
(208) 882-1533

www.eastsidemarketplace.com

Eastside Marketplace

And then, there is Bumpers.

Bumpers, Palouse Mall, Moscow, Idaho

Bumpers is in the Palouse Mall in Moscow, Idaho.  It is kind of notorious around here because it truly appears to never have been cleaned.  [Note, I do not mean to libel Bumpers.  This is just my opinion, which I have formed from going there and from hearing stories of other parents who have gone there.]  It is obnoxious and way overpriced, and of course, kids LOVE it.  I walked by many times without relenting.  Finally I had to use it as a bribe to get the kids through a particularly long Bed, Bath and Beyond trip, and I lived to tell about it.  I doubt I will ever again get through a trip to the mall with the boys without going there.

Bumpers, Palouse Mall, Moscow, Idaho

Bumpers has arcade games, air hockey, Foosball, etc. for bigger kids (which the little kids will want to do) and a play area for small kids.  You will not want to let your kids play in the play area because it seems so gross.  But over time, you will probably do it!  (Full disclosure:  I have not let my kids on the play area yet.  I have let them do the arcade games and skeeball.  I am sure this winter we’ll finally go on the play structure!)  There are also bumper cars, but I have not seen anyone on them.

Bottom line is that the kids are really thrilled by this place.  And it is pretty cool to impart so much joy for a hand full of quarters and some Purell.

Bumpers Small Kids Play Area

Right outside Bumpers is the coin centrifuge.  It is cool.  It will make you feel a little better about going to Bumpers.

Palouse Mall

1850 West Pullman Road
Moscow, ID 83843-4014
(208) 882-8893

www.palousemall.com

Palouse Mall Coin Centrifuge

I know Pullman parks and Rec opens the Sunnyside Elementary gym sometimes over winter break, and I have heard there is a Moscow rec center (?) that has something similar.  You may also be able to play at Gladdish Community Center and the Pioneer Center (both in Pullman) but I have not done it.

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Filed under Food, Free, Idaho, Moscow Idaho, Pullman Washington, Things to Do, What to do if it is snowing

Locomotive Park Holiday Lights (Lewiston, ID)

The Locomotive that gives Locomotive Park its name

Last night we drove to Lewiston to see the holiday light display at Locomotive park.  The kids loved it.

Locomotive Park Arches

The park is 17 acres in size, and every part of it has a light display and Christmas music.  There is a pathway with lighted arches that runs through most of it, which is nice for strolling.

The Musical Tree

A few of the displays have coordinated music, including the huge Musical Tree.  There is also a cute penguin display coordinated to “Lucy & Linus” by the Vince Guaraldi Trio (the “Charlie Brown” Christmas music) that the boys loved (my pictures were too blurry!).

Winter Spirit Outdoor Fireplace

Locomotive Park has a large outdoor gas fireplace by which you can warm up.  It was a bit crowded, but had a nice community feel.

To see all of the lights could take as little as 15 minutes with kids, though they probably would have run around for an hour if we let them (it was cold, so we hurried them along).  This outing would probably be best paired with something else in Lewiston if you are driving the 45 minutes from Pullman.

When you get into Lewiston from Pullman or Moscow, you will see the park on the right – there is no missing it!  The park has plenty of free parking and has port-o-lets.  The light display runs from the Saturday before Thanksgiving through the first Saturday after New Year’s Eve.

Here is the City’s website:

http://www.cityoflewiston.org/index.aspx?NID=515

Happy holidays!

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University of Idaho Arboretum & Botanical Garden

View of the Arboretum from Nez Perce Drive

View of the Arboretum from Nez Perce Drive

Ah, the UI Arboretum. This is one of my favorite places to go.  Yesterday we made a trip there to catch some fall leaves before they are gone.

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The UI Arboretum and Botanical Garden is a 63 acre “living museum of documented plants.”  45 of the acres are planted and the other 18 will be developed in the future (they are currently in wheat, so they are pretty as well).

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The Arboretum has two large ponds, a smaller pond, and a small creek.  The ponds are the main attraction for my boys – of course, because playing in the water maximizes messiness!

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There is a 1.5 mile gravel path that encircles the whole Arboretum.  There are some cut-across paths so that you do not have to do the entire circle (which is helpful with little ones who can’t make the whole loop), and there are numerous bark paths off the main gravel path.

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The gravel path is excellent for jogging, and a jogging stroller can handle it easily.  You can also bike on the gravel path.  Dogs are not allowed.

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From the UI Arboretum website (http://www.uiweb.uidaho.edu/arboretum/about.html):

Organized into geographical groupings of Asian, European, Eastern, and Western North American sections, and display plantings are hundreds of species and cultivars of North Temperate trees and shrubs and a xeriscape garden. In addition to native Idaho species, there are over 120 dedicated trees and groves, trails, water features, and 27 granite benches for viewing, study, contemplation, enjoying northern Idaho’s spectacular seasonal changes. Walking trails range from easy grades through steeper climbs to the most spectacular overview sites from which the Blue Mountains of Oregon can be seen.”

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The Arboretum is beautiful year round, but if there is snow on the ground, the paths can be difficult to navigate, especially for little kids.  This year we may try snow-shoeing (though skiing is prohibited).

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There is a map on the website for locating the different areas/types of trees.  Copies of this map are also available at each end (at the Red Barn and at the kiosk).

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When I go with the boys, it takes a good hour and a half or two hours to get all the way around, due to many, many stops to find sticks and play in the water.  When I go on my own, it is about a half hour stroll.

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Educational tours are offered (check the website), and this year there was a summer concert.  There is also a plant sale in the summer, held at the fairgrounds.

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The ducks are also a favorite.  You are not allowed to feed them, but they seem pretty used to people nonetheless.

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Across Nez Perce Drive is the Charles Houston Shattuck Arboretum.  I don’t have photos of this because I have not made it over there, but a friend tells me it is beautiful.  It is a 14 acre slope that was planted with trees in 1910.  I think everyone just calls this the “old Arboretum.”

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At one end of the Arboretum is the Arboretum Red Barn, which was built in 1908.  It is not open to the public, but it makes for a good photo.

Arboretum Barn

Arboretum Barn

I don’t think there is a water fountain at the Arboretum, but there is an outhouse near the Red Barn.  Not a great place to change a baby, but better than nothing!

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The Arboretum is in a valley adjacent to the UI golf course, south of the President’s Residence and UI water tower, and north of the rolling Palouse hills across West Palouse River Drive.  The address is 1200 West Palouse River Drive.  Mapquest this and it will give you directions through Moscow to the free parking lot by the Red Barn.  (I used to park at the meters on Nez Perce Drive, which goes right through campus.  I think the meters have been removed, though.)  Note that you can also take Sand Road from Pullman, but it is partially unpaved, so can be slow and dusty.  It is pretty, though, and well worth the few extra minutes.

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View of the farm across from the Arboretum, on West Palouse River Drive

View of the farm across from the Arboretum, on West Palouse River Drive

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Morris (Perkins) Cedar Grove and Giant Cedar Tree

This weekend I took the boys to see the Giant Cedar outside Elk River, Idaho.  Though the drive was a bit long for my kids (about 2 hours from our house in Pullman to the trail head) it was well worth it.

The Giant Cedar

The Giant Cedar

The Giant Cedar is 177 ft tall, 18 foot in diameter and approximately 3,000 years old.  It is in the center of a lovely cedar grove that has trails/paths that are paved, so it works for kids and would work for a stroller (except there is a small staircase going over a log that you would have to carry the stroller over, or go around).

Part of the paved path

Stairs over fallen logStairs over fallen log

There is a bathroom (outhouse) at the trail head, and benches along the trail. There is no picnic area, though the Idaho website says there is.

Beautiful foliageBeautiful foliage
FootbridgeFootbridge

It was not hard to get there.  Go to Elk River and you will run into this sign:

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Turn Left, and follow the road until you see this sign:

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Which will signal the Upper Basin Road.  Stay on Upper Basin Road and eventually you will see signs for the Giant Cedar.  I thought I had missed it, but it is a full 11 miles from town, and a gravel road, so it takes a while.

Gravel Road to the Giant CedarGravel Road to the Giant Cedar

Then you will be there!

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Afterward, we went to the Elk River General Store for ice cream.  The specialty is the huckleberry ice cream (or pie).

Elk River General StoreElk River General Store

Useful links:

Idaho’s website on the Giant Cedar, and surrounding cedar groves:

http://www.visitidaho.org/thingstodo/natural-attractions/morris-perkins-cedar-grove-and-giant-cedar-tree.aspx

Some info on Elk River:

http://www.elkriverlodge.net/

Some info on the Elk River Back Country By-way:

http://www.idahobyways.gov/byways/elk-river.aspx

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