"I see it! There's the moose!" my two older boys shouted as we searched for Millie and Mudgy a fictitious mouse and moose who play hide-n-seek along the banks of Coeur d'Alene Lake.
Coeur d'Alene is an excellent place to take young children, and an excellent way to see the city on the lake is to view it through the eyes of Millie and Mudgy. We've been reading Susan Nipp's book detailing this playful duo since February, so they were more than eager to find the five moose/mouse statues that scatter the downtown area of this Idaho resort destination. We hauled our own copy of this book from statue to statue, hopped in and out of the van, and took pictures to document our findings. One does not need a copy of the book to play hide-n-seek. Just start at the library and next to each statue is a page excerpt from the book showing you where to head next.
We chose to drive to three of the five statues, but it is an easy walk to all five and a fun way to see the resort area. You could make it a day event, perfect for preschool children. Bring a stroller or carrier if your wee ones lack the mental stamina to walk the whole route. Often my kids poop out even though they are more than capable. We've witnessed the stop-drop-and-drag many times in our family, which isn't a fun way to spend a vacation, so be proactive! I am a huge fan of the Ergo Carrier. My oldest, who is four, still fits nicely and is easy for me to pack this way.
My boys are always more motivated to run and walk on their own when they are racing and competing, trying to find something before the other, so finding Mudgy and Millie was the mental motivation we needed to get them walking. The highlight of this adventure was and is the fourth spot, which takes families to the play fort in the city park. It is a pretty incredible play structure that puts all other parks to shame. The only downside is that my oldest is fast, so I was constantly losing site of him. I'd catch glimpses of his bright, blue shirt dashing from slide to tunnel to climbing apparatus. Don't go outnumbered, and if you do, make sure your husband isn't spending the time texting his soccer players.
There is much to do in Coeur d'Alene for families. I would highly suggest it if you're looking for a fun, doable vacation for you and your young ones.
Here are some other area vacation happenings/suggestions:
1. Hike Tubbs Hill
2. Go Carts, my oldest is still talking about this
3. Triple Play, if the weather isn't cooperating
4. Honeysuckle Beach in Hayden...a bit more kid friendly than the huge swimming area on Lake Coeur d'Alene---although that is pretty good too, and both have life guards on duty
5. Of Course, Mudgy and Millie and the city park
6. 4th of July! The fireworks are amazing and the downtown very festive and fun
7. Silverwood Water and Theme Park http://www.silverwoodthemepark.com/
8. If you have time, drive to Sandpoint and let your mouth drop at the enormity of Pend Oreille, Lake. http://www.sandpoint.com/
9. If you love water sports, this is the vacation for you and your family. If you love to ski, go in the winter and go to Schweitzer or one of the other 4 ski resorts in the area.
I'm not a big skier, but I've spent some time on various Oregon slopes, and Schweitzer makes Oregon skiing feel like a major waste of money and energy. The Idaho snow is amazing! My experience with Oregon snow is a bit icy and painful. Idaho snow is made for those of us who fall a lot and need a nice, soft place to land.
We love our summer trips to Northern Idaho: my kids never want to leave.