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I've recently seen the signs in stores across the area. You know, the signs every kid wants to throw a box of crayons at: BACK TO SCHOOL SALE! So, in honor of children everywhere, here's an itinerary for you - the parent - to follow when you come to Spokane for that last getaway before the school teachers take over. Make note, however, that these times are only suggestions. Need more time? Great! More time to experience Spokane.
7:30 a.m. - Wake up and eat breakfast in your hotel. Pack some sunscreen. It's going to get hot.
8:00 a.m. - Head out to Discovery Playground. Explore the Fossil Maze, Secret Garden, Palouse Prairie and more. This park serves as a place of fun and learning. It's not your typical playground, it's better!
9:00 a.m. - Drive toward downtown and park at Gonzaga University. Hop on the Centennial Trail alongside the Spokane River. Walk all the way to Riverfront Park and ride the historic Looff Carrousel. Have a contest to see who can grab the most rings as the carrousel turns. Winner gets ice cream!
10:00 a.m. - Rush over to River Park Square and walk inside Mobius Kids, a scientific paradise! Your kids will be mesmerized. There's The Globe Theatre, Geotopia for the Earth science gurus, Cooper's Corner and its miniature city, and so much more. Good luck telling your kids it's time to leave!
11:00 a.m. - Walk back to Riverfront Park and enjoy an IMAX movie. This month, see Wild Ocean so your kids can learn about the animals living under water. Animalopolis is a clever Dr. Seuss-like show with dancing bears (seriously), hippos, sea lions and other creatures.
11:30 a.m. - Ride the bus back to your car at Gonzaga, and drive a few minutes to Laser Quest. Pick a clever name, strap on your laser and let loose! I suggest hiding high above the rest of the area. That way, you can spot your kids easier and rack up the points! Hey, who said parenting wasn't about competition?
12:15 p.m. - Go next door to Wild Walls and pretend you're rock climbing the highest peaks with your kids! Never climbed? Not a problem! If you can climb a ladder, you can climb a wall. At least, that's what Wild Walls says.
1:00 p.m. - Your kids are probably hungry. Wander downtown to Rocky Rococo's, a great place for the kind of food kids crave: pizza! Get a slice for each of you and a cup of bread sticks. Your kids will love it.
2:00 p.m. - Just because it's summer doesn't mean there's no ice, so cool off at Eagles Ice Arena. Rent a pair of skates, step out onto a fresh sheet of ice and glide! Carve into the ice and pretend you're the next NHL star, or race around the rink like Olympic speed skater Apolo Ohno.
3:30 p.m. - How does some miniature golf sound? Wonderland has that and more family fun. Play inside or outside and keep score. That way you'll keep the competition going!
5:00 p.m. - Head to Northtown Mall and eat dinner at the Mustard Seed. Afterwards, take your kids to the night cap: a relaxing movie at Regal Cinemas. Toy Story 3 is still in theaters, as well as Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kiddy Galore 3D. Both are great choices to end the day.
7:30 p.m. - Still daylight left, but your kids are fast asleep in the car on your drive back to your hotel.
Congrats! You've successfully conquered the ultimate Spokane experience for kids. They'll have tons to tell their friends back home on the first day of school.
As for you, start the countdown!