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Swing Upside Down 104 Feet off the Ground, or Just Float on a Lazy River: Silverwood Offers Thrills of Several Kinds

Friday, July 4th, 2014
Silverwood Theme Park

Silverwood Theme Park

The Northwest’s largest theme park is situated just a few minutes north of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Between the two parts, Silverwood Theme Park and Boulder Beach Water Park, you would be hard pressed to see and do even half of the attractions in a day. Silverwood offers wild rides to mild rides, fun areas just for little ones, shopping, and relaxing options such as a slow train ride.

One of the scariest rides and the first of its kind in the world, the Spincycle takes bold riders 104 feet up, legs dangling and wearing only a harness, then rotates 360 degrees at 13 revolutions per minute while swinging like a giant pendulum. Aftershock, also designed for the extreme rider, was voted the top hanging roller coaster by the Travel Channel in 2012 and boasts 177-foot drops. There are nine thrill rides in all, four of them roller coasters.

For those who prefer things a bit less jolting, Silverwood offers 12 fun-for-all rides, including the gentle steam engine train ride around the park (featuring the occasional not-scary robbery), as well as fun favorites like the Ferris wheel, bumper boats, and tilt-a-whirl.

Young kids can have a blast on 10 rides made just for them, including the brand new Krazy Koaster and Puppy-Go-Round. Several of the kid’s rides can accommodate adults riding with children.

When you need a break from the amusement rides, you can see a magic show at the Theater of Illusion, watch an old-timey flick at the Main Street Theater, or catch some live music at the High Moon Saloon.

Boulder Beach Water Park

Boulder Beach Water Park

On the other side of the park, cool off at Boulder Beach Water Park. Slide at up to 55 mph on Velocity Peak or board a raft and splash down a 650-foot slide that ends in a below-ground canyon on Avalanche Mountain. Or you can just kick back on an inner tube and float around Elkhorn Creek. Young kids can play all day at Polliwog Park, and there is even a special play area just for toddlers, Toddler Springs. Everyone can enjoy the two wave pools.

There is so much to do at Silverwood, you may want to stay close by and spend a couple of days there. Click here for nearby hotels that offer discounted ticket packages. You can also stay at the Silverwood RV Park. Silverwood tickets, which include admission to both the theme park and Boulder Beach Water Park, are $45.99 for ages 8–64 and $22.99 for ages 3–7 and seniors age 65+. Purchase your tickets online before you go for a discount of up to $4.00 per ticket. Two- or three-day passes are also available at a discount. Outside food and drink are not allowed; there are numerous restaurants and food/beverage stands in the park. Parking is $5 per day.

A Weekend of Art, Food, and Fun: Taste of the Coeur d’Alene’s, Street Fair, and Art on the Green August 2–4

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013
Copyright 2013 Citizens' Council for the Arts.

Copyright 2013 Citizens’ Council for the Arts.

One of the area’s biggest festival weekends is almost here. Downtown Coeur d’Alene and North Idaho College will host three great outdoor events that draw people from all over the region. All events are within walking distance to the beaches of beautiful Lake Coeur d’Alene, so bring your bathing suit! Travelling between the three locations is easy—just catch a free shuttle bus at 3rd and Sherman or 4th and Sherman. Admission is free. Hours are Friday and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Taste of the Coeur d’Alene’s:  Now in its 26th year, this Idaho Panhandle Kiwanis event features quality Northwest food vendors, live music, and a variety of fine arts and crafts, including jewelry, gourmet food, crafts for the home, and more. Hours are Friday and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. This event is located in the Coeur d’Alene city park, right on the lake.

Coeur d’Alene Street Fair: Located in downtown Coeur d’Alene, just a short stroll from the Taste of the Coeur d’Alene’s on Sherman Avenue, this annual street fair features food and craft vendors as well as entertainment. The streets are blocked off, and it is stroller and handicap friendly.

Art on the Green:  The 45th annual Art on the Green showcases the work of 135-plus artists as well as a variety of great music performers. This festival celebrates art, friendship, and creativity. You can buy quality handcrafted glass, clay, leather, wood, metal and fiber works directly from the artists who make them. This is the place to pick up unique pieces created by talented, accomplished local artisans. Kids can make their own art in the hands-on art section. There is also a juried art contest. It is located at the old Fort Sherman Grounds on the North Idaho College Campus, just a short walk from downtown and City Park.

All Are Welcome at Julyamsh, the Northwest’s Largest Outdoor Powwow: July 26–28 in Post Falls

Monday, July 15th, 2013

slide4The word powwow is a modern word used to describe what was once called a victory dance. These were traditionally held to celebrate the return of warriors from battle or raids, or after a successful hunt. Today, powwows are still important social gatherings grounded in sacred traditions. Elaborate dance competitions are held, in which the regalia worn includes symbols passed down to the dancer from previous generations.

Members of all tribes, as well as non-Indians, are welcome at the Coeur d’Alene Tribe’s Julyamsh, which will be held July 26–28 at the Greyhound Park in Post Falls, ID. For non-Indian visitors, it is helpful to know a couple of points before you go:

  1. While the powwow is a beautiful celebration of Native American culture, it is a traditional gathering rather than primarily a tourist attraction. This means the powwow does not run on a strict schedule, but begins and ends when the time is right.
  2. The outfits worn by participants are not considered costumes. They are elaborate regalia with many important familial and tribal symbols.
  3. All visitors should ask permission before snapping someone’s picture outside of the dance area.

Julyamsh 2013 gets started Thursday, July 25 with camper’s night. Powwow activities start Friday night, with a hand drum exhibition at 5:30 p.m., horse parade contest at 6:30 p.m., and Grand Entry at 7:00 p.m. Saturday is a full day, with dancing, a sky dive performance, and an art show and auction. Sunday, the powwow wraps up with drumming, dancing, and a horse parade. Click here for a complete schedule of the weekend’s events.

Car D’Lane in Coeur d’Alene June 13–16: New This Year: Napa Poker Walk

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

cruiseIf you like looking at classic cars, you won’t want to miss the 23rd annual Car D’Lane cruise and car show in downtown Coeur d’Alene. The Friday night (June 14) cruise, 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., beginning on Lakeside and ending on Sherman, draws thousands of people to the sidewalks to see and hear a huge variety of classic cars and trucks. Some of them feature flames painted on, and some of them fire out real flames (there is a best flames contest!). The car show, with gorgeous cars and trucks parked along the main streets of downtown Coeur d’Alene, runs Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

All cars must be 1975 or older to participate. If you have a classic that you would like to show off in the cruise and/or enter into the show, you can preregister here. Like to look at cool car accessories, parts, and memorabilia, too? In addition to the car show, there is also a swap meet Friday and Saturday,  8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., on the grassy area at 6th and Sherman. New this year, you can also start the weekend off with a poker walk on Thursday night, with cash prizes awarded. The poker walk begins at 5:00 p.m. at the Napa store at 2514 N. 4th Street.

Cars are great, but there are other things to do while you are in beautiful Coeur d’Alene. Be sure to walk along the lake, which is right downtown, and check out the many shops and great little restaurants along the cruise route.

How to be Scared in Spokane: Scarywood and other Area Frights

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012
Timber of Terror riders

The Timber Terror rollercoaster at Scarywood. Copyright Silverwood and Boulder Beach.

Each October, happy, bright Silverwood Theme Park, near Coeur d’Alene, ID, is transformed into a dark, haunted “Scarywood.” Roller coasters run backwards (apparently, this is scarier than forwards), and ghosts, ghouls, and other nasty creatures prowl the grounds.

Haunted attractions include the Blood Bayou haunted house, Terror Canyon Trail, Zombie Wood Express (the benign train ride turned into a zombie hunting machine!), and the brand new 3-Dementia, a 3-D attraction of a “pleasant fun zone gone horribly wrong.”

Not all rides are open during Scarywood, but there are plenty to keep you busy all evening, and all are decked out in spooky decorations and swarming with horrifying people to keep your adrenaline pumping. The website advises visitors to plan on attending twice if they want to see everything. While not as crowded as Silverwood Theme Park during the summer, Scarywood is still very popular. If you can, go in the middle of the week for smaller crowds and shorter lines (and cheaper admission price!). Before you go, check out the visitor tips page. Note that Scarywood is not recommended for kids under 12—this is not just an overly cautious warning. The place is very fun, but too intense for young kids! Dress very warmly, as you will be standing outside a lot. Visitors are not allowed to wear costumes, so save yours for the parties.

Tickets are $24.99 at the gate or $19.99 if purchased online for Wednesday and Thursday admission (6:30–11:00 p.m.), $29.99/$34.99 Friday (7:00 p.m.–1:00 a.m.), and $34.99/$29.99 Saturday (7:00 p.m.–1:00 a.m.). Bonus: for every Scarywood ticket you purchase, you’ll receive a free Silverwood May admission ticket! Click here to buy your ticket online.

If being chased screaming through a corn maze sounds like a good time, be sure to check out the Field of Screams at the Incredible Corn Maze near State Line, ID (3405 N. Beck Road, Hauser, ID 83854, 509-990-6088). There are three non-haunted mazes in addition to the 3.5-acre haunted corn maze. Click here for Field of Screams hours. Prices are $7 to $10. While you are there, you can also shoot corn out of a cannon, pick a fresh pumpkin, and let the kids play at the tractor tire playground.

The Post Falls Lions Club will scare you for a good cause at their annual fundraiser haunted house at 4th and Post in Post Falls, ID. This year’s event promises to have all new frights, with an “underground” them. The house is open Friday and Saturday nights from 6:00 p.m. to midnight through October, except October 28–31, when it will close at 10:00 p.m. The cost of admission is $7, or $5 if you bring two non-perishable food items to donate to the Post Falls Food Bank

If you want some reality with your spookiness, check out the Spokane Symphony’s Spooky Spokane walking tour on October 19, 6:30–8:00 p.m. or October 26, 6:30–8:00 p.m. For 90 minutes, stroll through downtown with a guide and learn about Spokane’s colorful and spooky history. The tour begins at the Fox theater and covers a 12-block radius with indoor and outdoor stops. Tickets are $15 and benefit the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox. Buy them at the Fox Box Office at 1001 W. Sprague Ave. or by phone at 509-624-1200. They are also available online at and at all TicketsWest outlets.

If you are looking for information about the Ignite! Theater haunted house at Riverfront Park, I’m sorry to tell you that it will not be performing this year. Due to construction on the planned Pacific Science Center, the group was not permitted to use the Riverfront Park venue, and they were unable to find another place. They hope to revive the haunted house next year at a new location.

Let Your Inner German Beer Drinker out at Coeur d’Alene’s Oktoberfest 2012: September 28–29

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

The tradition of Oktoberfest began October 12, 1810, when the citizens of Munich were all invited to celebrate the marriage of Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen by drinking beer and watching horse races. Two hundred years later, millions of people attend Munich’s Oktoberfest, and cities all over the world host their own celebrations. Downtown Coeur d’Alene, with its walkable, charming streets and numerous independent shops and restaurants, hosts its annual Oktoberfest this Friday and Saturday.

For $15, you receive a glass beer mug, six sampling tickets, and admission to all music venues participating in the festival. There are eight sampling locations, all located on Sherman, including the Main Tent area on 2nd and Sherman. Click here for a list of sampling venues. You must be 21 to purchase drink tickets of course, and valid identification is required. However, new this year, kids can come and enjoy the fun too! On Saturday, starting at 1:00 p.m., the Kinderplatz in Sherman Park will serve up kid friendly activities, food, and non-alcoholic beverages.

Coeur d’Alene Oktoberfest 2012 runs Friday 4:30–8:00 p.m. and Saturday 1:00–8:00 p.m. You can pick up tickets, mugs, and festival tasting maps at the Plaza Shops, 210 E. Sherman Avenue, starting at 4:30 Friday and 12:30 Saturday. The opening ceremony in which the first keg will be tapped is at 5:00 p.m. Friday in the Main Tent area.

Get Away without Going Far: Lakeside Fun at Coeur d’Alene, ID

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Lake Coeur d’Alene

You don’t need to spend a lot of time and money traveling to far-flung destinations to enjoy a relaxing or adventurous getaway. Coeur d’Alene in the summertime is a wonderful place to visit, and it is just 38 minutes east on I-90 from Spokane. You can either make it a day trip from Spokane or take a few days and stay in the lakeside resort town. If you are staying in Spokane, or want to go to Coeur d’Alene as part of a staycation in the Spokane area, stay at Stratford Suites, located close to the Spokane airport, and enjoy the comfort of an upscale furnished townhouse at an affordable rate. Use the money you might have spent on plane tickets or gas for more play!


You can spend a couple of days just hanging out at the waterfront of Lake Coeur d’ Alene. Play in the water at the sandy city beach, stroll the world’s longest floating boardwalk at the Coeur d’Alene Resort, and hike at Tubbs Hill, a 120-acre waterfront preserve on the downtown waterfront. Board a daily scenic lake cruise or make your own adventure with a kayak, stand-up paddle board, or jet boat/jet ski—all are available to rent.

This city also has excellent shopping, restaurants, wine bars, and art galleries, all located in the very walkable, quaint downtown area.

Coeur d’Alene is situated in a playground of the great outdoors, with great fishing, camping, and hiking very close by. Check the Forest Service website for more information.  For whitewater rafting, check out ROW Adventures’ trips on the Wild and Scenic St. Joe River.

The Coeur d'Alene Resort

There are numerous options for lodging, including lakefront vacation rentals, but if you want to treat yourself, the obvious choice is the luxurious Coeur d’Alene Resort. From here, you can walk to the beach and downtown. The hotel houses several fine restaurants and a spa, plus a posh golf course with the world’s only floating green. Summer rates average $199–$499. Click here for package specials that will save you money, especially for families.

If you have kids, or if you like to play like a kid, add a day or two to your trip for Silverwood Theme Park, just minutes north of Coeur d’Alene on Highway 95. This is also a popular day trip destination from Spokane. It’s the Northwest’s largest theme park, with huge roller coasters, water rides, and entertainment. There are two sides to the park—the dry and the wet. Boulder Beach Water Park offers slides, wave pools, and areas just for toddlers and kids. There is a lot to do, and you should expect to spend a full day on either side. Admission is $21.99–$42.99. If you purchase your tickets online, they are a couple of bucks cheaper, and a discount is given for multi-day passes. Costco also sometimes has discount tickets.

For more information to help you plan a vacation in Coeur d’Alene, go to and

Two Heavenly Weekends for Beer Lovers: Oktoberfest in Spokane and Coeur d’Alene

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

You can get a little taste of Oktoberfest without going very far this weekend in downtown Spokane and next weekend in downtown Coeur d’Alene. The weather looks like it will be gorgeous, so come hang out in beautiful Riverfront Park and charming downtown Coeur d’Alene while sampling quality micro-brews from near and far. I guarantee there will be some authentic German/Bavarian costumes to see, so if you have some lederhosen, don’t be afraid to show them!

Spokane Oktoberfest

When: Tonight 4–9 p.m. and tomorrow noon to 9 p.m., September 23–24

Where: Riverfront Park in downtown Spokane

Beer, food, and entertainment: Taste beer from 22 Washington state breweries, including three Spokane breweries and one from Kettle Falls. The “Happy Hans” Band will provide some Bavarian music for a fitting background to the beer tasting. German and American fare will be available for purchase, but last year the selections were very limited, so think pretzels, sausages, and sauerkraut, or else eat at one of the excellent nearby downtown Spokane restaurants first.

Tickets: $20 at the door includes a commemorative tasting cup and 5.5 oz. samples; additional sample tokens are $1.50 or 4/$5.00. Ages 21and over. This event is outside and uncovered. Designated drivers get in free!

Coeur d’Alene Oktoberfest

When: Friday, September 30, 5–9 p.m. and Saturday, October 1, 1–9 p.m.

Where: Downtown Coeur d’Alene, ID, at numerous tasting sites in the area of the Plaza Shops, with a tented food/entertainment area at the Wilma Lot on 2nd and Sherman

Beer, food, and entertainment: Twelve stations with 20 different beers, some from Washington state breweries and others from Germany and Belgium. Traditional German style food will be for sale. There will be some great live music as well: the Fat Tones (smokin’ blues) will play on Friday night 5:30–8:30; Saturday from 2–5 p.m., Nu Jack Trio featuring Max Daniels (motown, soul, and pop) will play; and the Healthy Scratches will rock out Saturday from 6–9 p.m. Bonus: A beautiful stroll on Lake Coeur d’Alene is just a short walk away.

Tickets: $15 includes a glass Oktoberfest mug and six sampling tickets (more sampling tickets available at the event). Pre-sale vouchers are on sale at Angel Gallery, Christmas at the Lake, Frosted, Summer’s Glass, and Tiffany Blue (all located on the 200–500 blocks of Sherman Ave. in downtown Coeur d’Alene). Supplies are limited, so don’t wait!