Our area might not be an oasis of entertainment and cultural options, but there’s still plenty to do – you just might have to drive a little ways to get there.
We’re going to explore some of these day trip options in an occasional column called “Daytrippin’.” We’ll talk about where to go, what to eat, any roadside attractions and, sometimes, what to listen to along the way. If you’ve got a favorite day trip, please share.
With the unreliable spring weather, we’re beginning our journey at an indoor destination. Come along as we find out how to spend half a day in Moscow with a carload of kids.
Trip type: Indoor, educational, kid-friendly
Total time: 2-3 hours, plus drive time
Stop 1: Stax. If you arrive in Moscow hungry, Stax makes a great first stop. We’ve got some picky eaters so TripAdvisor helped us find something safe: sandwiches. Stax offers both grilled and cold options.
Stax is a small venue with minimal indoor seating near the University of Idaho Commons and Pitman Center (formerly the Student Union Building). But what it lacks in building size, it makes up for in its sandwiches. Along with the grilled cheese ($3.95/kids, $5.49/half, $6.95/whole), we tried the Vandal Club ($6.79/half, $9.49/whole), their most popular sandwich, which is made of turkey, ham, bacon and cheese and grilled on homemade bread.
Observation No. 1: The sandwiches are huge. Each half is the size of a regular whole. Observation No. 2: All my kids love pickle spears. Fortunately they and potato chips come with each order, so we didn’t have to do battle. Observation No. 3: If you serve white bread and American cheese to my daughter, you will have a vocal new fan.
Stop 2: Appaloosa Horse Museum. Sure, museums can be a tough sales pitch for kids – display cases have nothing on Disneyland. But with no admission charge (though there’s a $5/family suggested donation), the price is right and it’s good for a well-occupied hour.
The Appaloosa Horse Museum is well done and offers a 10-minute introductory film on Appaloosas. One half is devoted to the history of Appaloosas, with a focus on their role in local history among the Nez Perce. The other half of the museum explores contemporary horse culture – competitions, trail rides and the like. A large corner of the museum is just for kids. There are costumes, stick horses, coloring pages, puzzles and, best of all, saddles to sit on.
If you’re bringing kids and if you’re able to distract them from the saddles they’ve already been playing with for 10 minutes, ask for the “Fact Find” activity from the desk attendant. The activity guides kids from one end of the museum to the other with 12 questions whose answers are found in the displays. They’re not going to catch everything the museum has to offer, but it’s a great way to engage kids who might not otherwise be interested in horses. At the end, kids get a small prize – in our case, a sucker and a ribbon.
Stop 3: The Palouse Mall. If you’ve got some shopping to do, the Palouse Mall offers some options that aren’t available in the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley. Since none of us are resilient shoppers, we made it a quick stop.
Stop 4: Jamms. As far as my kids are concerned, Jamms is the main reason Moscow exists. As far as I am concerned, Jamms is the best form of bribery a mom could ask for, especially when shopping precedes it.
Jamms is not especially unique as far as froyo locations go. They have the typical make-your-own frozen yogurt options, but sugar is fun and assembling it yourself is even more fun. It really doesn’t need to offer anything else, but it does in the form of coloring. Jamms keeps a bulletin board of original customer creations, most of which extol the abundant virtues of the establishment.
Stop 5: Home. Every road trip needs its soundtrack and since we hadn’t brought anything acceptable, we listened to music on the radio – all of it, especially anything we could sing to. We heard everything from Boston’s “More Than a Feeling ” to Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” and Ray Charles’ “Hit the Road Jack,” interspersed with Irish jigs, instrumental hymns and a little jazz. This isn’t normally how we do music, but it made for a silly, interactive time while passing through the hills.