Always on the lookout for tips on where to go for family fun, we noticed Ron Hall's ballot featured a lot of great local spots, especially in the family category.
"I'm a golf course contractor -- we built the Creek at Qualchan -- and we have lived all over the place, including in Canada, but we bought a house here," says Hall, who's been in Spokane for about 10 years. Three years ago Hall and his wife Lisa adopted a little girl, Shealyn, from China, and he has nothing but good things to say about what it's like raising a family in Spokane.
"Though we live outside of town, on an original homestead farm we have totally rehabbed, we can be downtown in about 15 minutes," says Hall. "We really like Riverfront Park. We like the passes you can get in the summer and the ice skating, and the park is great even for small kids. It's not too big a deal to go in there."
Another favorite is SPOKANE CHILDREN'S THEATRE, which he chose as "Best Kids' Event."
"We have taken Shealyn to their performances a lot. I have taken her to Pinocchio and Annie," says Hall. "Shealyn really likes it when she can go up after the shows and meet everyone."
Is there acting in her future? "That's kinda early to say, but I guess she's already a little actress," says Hall with a laugh.
When it's time for choosing a place for dinner, not a single chain restaurant showed up on Hall's ballot, except when it came to the category "Best Kids' Menu": "Shealyn loves THE OLD SPAGHETTI FACTORY. That's her favorite place; we have to go there a lot because she likes to eat in the little trolley there, and she loves the spaghetti with meatballs."
Another one of Shealyn's (and her parents') favorite places is the SPOKANE ART SCHOOL, which they picked as the "Best Place for a Birthday Party."
"We just find that it is very well run. Our daughter has taken art classes there, and just the other day she informed me that she's not yet ready to stop," says Hall. This summer Shealyn is having a reunion with a group of Chinese children adopted at the same time as she was, and the Halls are trying to set something up so the kids can all do a reunion T-shirt at the school.
Bottom line is that the Halls like living here. "We go into town a lot, there's a lot to do there and you can find a parking spot pretty easily. We also go to the fair out at the Fairgrounds just to look at the chickens, you know. But like I said, Shealyn's mom really deserves a lot of credit for setting all this up -- sometimes I just feel like I'm tracking along."