What do people do when they are on vacation in Idaho

Finding family fun for an 18-month-old that is also fun for mom and dad worked out on our trip to Boise, Idaho. Downtown Boise is a laid-back destination with streets that feels more like a small town. With its sidewalk cafes and eclectic shops, it also had a hip urban vibe. Boise also has plenty of outdoor activities, including a river and greenbelt that run through the city, as well as biking and hiking trails. Within a short drive, look for a state park, white water rafting, and hot springs.

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1. Zoo Boise

Zoo Boise is home to 300 animals representing 100 different species, as well as special attractions such as the Giraffe Encounter, where guests can feed the animals. Zoo Boise was definitely a highlight of this trip and one of the top fun things to do in Boise with kids for young Everett. This living science facility is in Julia Davis Park downtown and houses 300 animals from 100 different species. 

2. World Center for Birds of Prey

It’s also a good family activity. While we were touring the indoor/outdoor education centre, Everett had a great time making excited faces and noises. Visitors can interact with hawks, eagles, falcons, vultures, and owls from all over the world. We began our tour with the Live Bird Presentation to observe the raptors in action before proceeding to the Discovery Room. This is for young children, with hands-on displays, and Everett enjoyed playing with puzzles.

3. Discovery Center of Idaho

We also had a great time at the Idaho Discovery Center. It was great to see Everett in this new setting. He was the massive pendulums swinging and the static electricity generating balls. He also enjoyed blowing giant bubbles and peering into the funny house mirror to see dozens of visions of himself reflected back at him.

4. Burley Bike Ride

We loved how active Boise is, and there’s no better place to enjoy an outdoor activity than at the Boise River Greenbelt. We live in Colorado, so we immediately felt at ease. We had to go for a bike ride to check out the city’s trail system, of course. We went to the Boise River Greenbelt after renting bikes and a Burley bike trailer from Idaho Mountain Touring. The greenbelt is a fantastic paved path. 

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5. MK Nature Center

The Morrison-Knudsen Nature Center is on the Boise River Greenbelt (behind the Idaho Fish and Game headquarters). You can see the stream and underwater viewing windows by following the interpretive trail on the Stream Walk through the Nature Center. Using this MK Nature Center trail map, stroll the StreamWalk and get a “fish-eye view” with underwater viewing windows along the way.

6. Freak Alley Gallery

When you’ve had your fill of activities, pay a visit to Freak Alley Gallery in downtown Boise. These one-of-a-kind graffiti murals are changing. And because it’s outside, it’s an art gallery that’s appropriate for children. The alley is to be the Northwest’s largest outdoor gallery. It all started in 2002 with a single painting in a doorway. After you’ve seen the street art, grab a drink at one of the many nearby bars or restaurants. Fork, which serves farm-to-table fare like fresh veggies from the Boise Farmers Market, is one of our favourites. Boise also has a lively nightlife, with some venues featuring live music.

7. The Grove Plaza

In the heart of downtown Boise, check out The Grove Plaza. The pedestrian zone is a large plaza surrounded by shops, restaurants, and bars. It is also a popular location for live music, particularly during the summer, and for festivals. Alive After Five, Father’s Day Car Show, Holiday Lights, Dine Out Downtown Boise Restaurant Week, and other events are in downtown Boise. It’s a great place for kids to burn off extra energy in the long light of a summer evening without worrying about cars. 

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