Residents say, « If you like gardens, flowers and plants, don’t miss Manito Park and Botanical Gardens » and they will also tell you, Manito Park has a feel and spirit all of its own. The name « Manito » in fact means « Spirit of Nature » in the Algonquian Indian language, so it is not surprising this lovely recreational park and gardens make for a great place to visit in Washington’s charming city of Spokane.
With five immaculate gardens, a conservatory, sparkling duck pond and much more Manito Park is Spokane’s garden showplace. Besides Duncan Garden, planted in a European Renaissance style, the grounds include a perfumed scented Lilac Garden, the flower that makes Spokane the « Lilac City »; a perennial garden; a classic Japanese style garden; Rose Hill, an old-fashioned rose garden with bushes representing more than 150 varieties and an All American Rose Selections test garden.
The three-acre symmetrically formal Duncan Garden is considered by many the centerpiece of the park. Duncan Garden houses a large granite fountain that was added in 1913 and a gazebo built and dedicated in 2004 to honor the park’s centennial (1904-2004) year. Both the fountain and gazebo in Duncan Garden are situated beside walking paths offering cultivated calm and charm.
Gaiser Conservatory is filled to overflowing with beautiful tropical plants and flowering displays, as well as cacti and seasonal flowers throughout the year. Some of the park’s visitors enjoy sitting quietly and feeding the ducks. The Duck Pond is located at the Northern end of the park and is home to ducks, swans and Geese. Another popular park activity is bird watching.
Spokane enjoys a claim of being a city that loves its parks and its residents visit them often to be part of the close to nature lifestyle the parks grant. Manito is one of the few botanical gardens in the nation offering such varied flower displays. It is among the Inland Northwest most visited parks, not just for its lovely gardens, but also for its walking and biking paths. The park is soothing, tranquil and infinitely distinct.
Originally named, « Montrose Park, » Manito Park was officially deeded to the city of Spokane in the spring of 1904. The gift’s unveiling came with a number of specific conditions, the most important being that the park « must be forever used for the sole purpose as a public park. »
Much of the park that is not planted as garden is left wild, with trails for bicycling and hiking. In any season, the recreational area presents breathing space from the hectic world beyond. During the winter, the grassy hills of Manito are popular destinations for sledding.
Attracting more than 150,000 visitors each year, Manito Park and Botanical Gardens covers some 90-acres of meticulously manicured lawns, picturesque gardens, topiary shrubs, greenhouse conservatory and walking paths and those who come more often than not discover their lives enriched by the park’s beauty and natural attractions.
Manito Park is open year round and there is no admission fee to either the gardens or the conservatory. Directions: From the I-90 Interstate, travel south on Stevens Avenue until it turns into Grand Boulevard, then watch for the large Manito Park Entrance sign on the right.