Taking in both banks of the Spokane River as it flows through the heart of the city's downtown, this outstanding urban park combines the relaxing atmosphere of a pedestrian mall with thundering waterfalls and the gleeful presence of a carnival midway. Site of Expo '74 World's Fair, the park grounds were once a filthy expanse of industrial blight, but the prospect of the world's fair-the first ever to embrace the environmental cause-led not only to the transformation of the fairgrounds and the river but also to the revitalization of the entire downtown. Today the park itself lies at the core of a bustling downtown. Several footbridges lead from the north and south banks onto Havermale Island and Canada Island, which form the heart of the park. At the lower end of Havermale, just off Post Street, the Gondola Skyrid descends into a deep gorge where the river suddenly drops 132ft over Lower Spokane Falls, now topped by the Monroe Street Dam and its red-brick powerhouse. Visitors can walk down along the same thundering stretch of whitewater on a series of concrete stairways beginning at the parking lot on the south side of the powerhouse.
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