When Manito Park was first opened to the public in April 1904, it was little more than an undeveloped recreational space with a few flower beds, picnic tables, and a zoo. Today, it is one of Spokane’s most important gathering places. At Manito Park, which is comprised of five major garden areas (the Nishinomiya Tsutakawa Japanese Garden (pictured above), Duncan Garden (pictured below), Rose Hill (pictured above), Lilac Garden (pictured above), and Ferris Perennial Garden (pictured above), visitors can enjoy a wide variety of horticultural displays.

The Parks and Recreation Department is responsible for the upkeep of Manito Park’s 78 acres of native and developed environment, as well as its 20 acres of world-class botanical gardens. Among the other attractions at Manito Park are Mirror Pond, which is a favorite of those who enjoy watching ducks and other water fowl; the Park Bench CafĂ©, which is open seasonally for light meals; the Loop Drive and Bridge, which provides majestic views of the Rose Garden; the Upper and Lower Playgrounds, which are popular gathering places for children; and the large basalt rock office building, which was built in 1912. The Gaiser Conservatory, located in the heart of the Park, features exquisite flowing displays that change with the seasons.

Thanks to generous sponsors and partners, the Manito Drive-Thru Holiday Lights will be even more beautiful this year than they were last year, building on the popularity of last year’s drive-thru holiday lighting extravaganza. In addition, we’ve introduced walk-thru days from December 17-19, which are only for pedestrians!

UpTake.com named Manito Park as one of the “Best of Attractions – Spokane, WA area” in 2009, and it continues to be so today. A careful study of customer evaluations and expert ratings from across the web is used to choose the winners of the UpTake.com awards, which are compiled from over 5,000 different websites and millions of user comments.

The Manito Park Bench Cafe, located between Mirror Pond and the Joel E. Ferris Perennial Garden, is open from late May to late September each year, selling pastries, freshly prepared sandwiches, wraps, salad, espresso drinks, and a variety of other items to both returning and new customers alike.

During the summer months, the pond at Manito Park, which was originally a natural lake known as Mirror Lake, would dry up. A concrete base was soon erected to prevent this from happening, and because the pond remained full all year round, boats could be hired on site. On one side of the pond, a dancing hall was built, and nearby, open-air movies were played. These activities continued until 1907.

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