Tag Archives: Moscow

Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute

I am going to start doing some entries on places I want to go but haven’t gone yet due to a lack of time (a constant problem!)  This is the first one.

The Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute (PCEI) is a local organization that seeks to “increase citizen involvement in decisions that affect our region’s environment. Through community organizing and education, PCEI assists members of our communities in making environmentally sound and economically viable decisions that promote a sustainable future.”  (From their website http://www.pcei.org/mission.htm.)

Its website describes a handful of “Special Places” which I am very much looking forward to exploring this summer.  The Special Places include Rose Creek, Magpie Forest, Smoot Hill, Moscow Mountain Cedars, Idler’s Rest and PCEI’s stream restoration sites. These sites are all close to Pullman.

From the PCEI website, here is some information about each Special Place (note there is a lot more info on the PCEI website -these are just small excerpts):

ROSE CREEK:  “The Rose Creek Nature Preserve (RCNP) is a special place located only 7.5 miles northwest of Pullman, Washington, near Albion Rose Creek Preserve is the best example of the distinct quaking aspen-black hawthorn-cow parsnip community type of its kind remaining in the endangered Palouse meadow steppe ecosystem. The twelve-acre preserve is bisected by Rose Creek with a plant community of native bunchgrass species in the upland, and a lush community of species such as Fendler’s waterleaf, and purple trillium in the wet meadow.”  (http://www.pcei.org/rosecreek/)

THE MAGPIE FOREST:  “The Magpie Forest is important because it provides wildlife habitat and represents one of the last remnants of native Palouse shrub-steppe vegetation. Pullman’s Environmental Quality Commission has designated the Magpie Forest as one of city’s most important and endangered “critical areas” in anticipation of its eventually becoming part of Pullman, Washington. [P] The Magpie Forest provides an opportunity to explore native plants, wildlife habitat, invasive species and conservation issues.”  (http://www.pcei.org/magpie.htm)

SMOOT HILL:  “This 730 acre farm, located 12 miles from the Pullman campus, was purchased by the WSU in 1972 for research and educational use. Over 300 acres of this property are in the Conservation Reserve Program because it one of the largest intact remnants of the native Palouse plant community. Smoot Hill’s natural diversity and beauty make it popular for ecology and botany field trips.”  (http://www.pcei.org/smoot_hill.htm)

MOSCOW MOUNTAIN CEDARS:  “Largely spared from disturbance by its location on top of a steep 4700’ ridge, this 269-acre parcel of state school trust land is home to an ancient grove of western red cedars estimated to be 1000 years old. Nurtured by the headwater springs of Felton Creek and Hatter Creek, this stand of trees was nominated in 1974 to be a National Natural Landmark as the best extant example of western red cedar/larch habitat.”  (http://www.pcei.org/mm_cedars.htm)

IDLER’S REST:  “Idler’s Rest in managed by the Palouse Land Trust. The site has several trails, one easy along the creek with towering fir and cedar, one middle that goes through a grassland, and one longer and harder that climbs out of the valley floor.”  (http://www.pcei.org/idlers_rest.htm)

The PCEI website http://www.pcei.org/ has a lot more information about its activities, which include all sorts of things regarding environmental education, restoration and preservation.  Of course, it encourages donations and membership and provides volunteer opportunities.

As I visit the Special Places, I will do complete entries.  Another reason to look forward to summer!

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Filed under Moscow Idaho, Nature and Outdoors, Pullman Washington, Things to Do, Uncategorized

Palouse Ice Rink (Moscow, Idaho)

Palouse Ice Rink

I have a theory:  we will look forward to winter if we get into some winter activities.  So, while we have yet to learn to snowshoe or cross-country ski (next year, I swear!), this winter we tried ice skating.

Interior (with an open end) of Palouse Ice Rink

The one ice rink here is Palouse Ice Rink.  It is located in the Rotary Veterans Memorial Pavilion at the Latah County Fairgrounds in Moscow, Idaho.  It is basically across the street from the Eastside Marketplace Shopping Center.

My older son (who is now 4) has been doing skating lessons, which have gone well.  Sign up for lessons through the Pullman or Moscow Parks and Recreation Department.  It is a bit expensive, but skates are included, as is a punch card for 6 open-skate visits.

Skating Lesson

Skating has been a nice cold weather thing to do.  I also like the idea of the boys knowing at least the basics of skating so that someday all four of us can go and all have a good time. (This year my 2 year old was really not quite ready, but I did see other kids that age enjoying skating.)

Skate Rental at Palouse Ice Rink

The Palouse Ice Rink has a lot of open skate times.  Check the schedule on their website:

http://www.palouseicerink.com/

It also has adult lessons in addition to kid lessons.

Because the rink has an open end, it is not open year round.  The website says ice skating season is typically late October to early April.  In the summer, I believe they do roller skating, including Roller Derby.  I will make sure to do a post on that this summer!

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The Storm Cellar (Shopping) Moscow, Idaho

the Storm Cellar storefront

There is a new store I am REALLY excited about.  It is called The Storm Cellar.

Storm Cellar: Cheap and Chic

The Storm Cellar bills itself as “Independent Consignment and Local Goods.”  It is basically a very cool second hand store, filled with clothing and household goods that are obviously hand-picked and very well cared for.

Storm Cellar: Window Display

There is also some new merchandise, such as stylish dishes, pillows, cards, and so forth.

I have not had a chance to really shop the clothes (kids with me), but the Storm Cellar has clothes for women and men (not kids), and they look great.  It has a very Anthropologie/city vintage feel.

So, about kids.  I have been to the Storm Cellar twice, and had kids with me both times.  I don’t recommend this.  There is  a lot of stuff to grab and break, and large round clothing racks in which your kid can hide – and if you are like me, after about six minutes of trying to pull said child out, you will consider letting him stay.

The prices are good.  As an example: I saw some (unfortunately for me very impractical but) gorgeous high heel 9 West boots for about $23, I bought a vase for about $8 and a shot glass set (yep, I’m classy) for $11.

the Storm Cellar

212 S Main Street.

Open 10 am – 6 pm Tuesday through Saturday.

http://www.moscowstormcellar.com/shop/

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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

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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