Boise, Idaho is a fun place and there are plenty of things to do within the city. But if you have kids in tow and are looking for a day of adventure for them, there is plenty to do. Here are our favorite things to do in Boise with kids.
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If you are looking to spend some of your kid’s energy, the Boise Greenbelt is a perfect place to spend an hour or two. The Boise River Greenbelt spans throughout the city and runs alongside the Boise River in most cases, which means you can explore some of the riverside wildlife and views. You can ride your bike, take a walk, and even bring your dog.
The Boise Greenbelt is a perfect place to take in nature without actually leaving the city, and is one of our favorite things to do in Boise with kids.
Roaring Springs and Wahooz is not actually in Boise, but in nearby Meridian. Roaring Springs is a water park perfect for kids to spend the entire day. With slides large and small, children of all ages will have a great time.
Wahooz, on the same property, is more of an arcade and fun center. They have video games, go-karts, and a brand new indoor adventure park. Both parks host birthday parties and is a perfect place to spend a day with your kids.
The Boise Aquarium is a small aquarium, but growing. It was less than 10 years ago that they received their first sea turtle, and now their exhibits include shark, pufferfish, rays, a Russian tortoise, plenty of reptiles, turtles, and more.
The Boise Aquarium won’t take you the entire day to go through, but it’s a fun adventure for kids for a few hours.
Boise is a landlocked state. If you are used to beaches, this is not the place to go. However, there are a few fun places to find an Idaho beach, and Sandy Point is one of them.
Sandy Point is a lake formed by the Lucky Peak Reservoir, the water source that supplies all of Boise. Sandy Point has a sandy beach and giant fountain in the middle of the lake that you can swim to.
Because Lucky Peak is a reservoir, it is still a fun place to take the family — but more if you have a boat.
Boise Whitewater Park is a new addition to Boise, but offers plenty of opportunities to make it one of the most fun things to do in Boise with kids. The Whitewater Park was built for surfers in the middle of the Boise River. The surrounding park, Esther Simplot Park, is a great place to kayak, fish, or sit on the beach (again, an “Idaho beach”).
Esther Simplot Park can get pretty packed in the summer, but it’s still a fun place to spend the day with your family.
The Idaho State Museum was closed for years to remodel and revamp the building and their offerings. Run by the Idaho State Historical Society, the Idaho State Museum brings Idaho history to life for both children and adults.
As part of their remodel, the Idaho State Museum integrated interactive exhibits that will take you through thousands of years of history in Idaho, including the geological past, Lewis & Clark, the Native American tribes, a parachuting beaver (yes, really), and the stolen Idaho Constitution.
If you have small children, there is an entire floor that is just for them — and includes the famous two-headed calf that has been at the museum for decades.
The Old Idaho State Penitentiary is one of the coolest places you can visit in Boise. The Old Idaho Penitentiary was in operation for more than 100 years, from 1872 to 1973, and they offer tours today.
You can walk through the grounds and the many buildings that made up the prison. The cell block is a fun place to see Idaho history, and many people think it’s haunted. Although probably not a family-friendly thing to do in Boise, there are numerous ghost hunts at the Idaho Penitentiary every year.
Because it is run by the Idaho State Historical Society, there are also historical exhibits throughout the year showcasing other pieces of Idaho history.
The Discovery Center of Idaho is made for kids of all ages. They offer both exhibits and hands-on science experiments. Current and upcoming exhibits include Sun, Earth, and Universe; Tinker the T-Rex; and King Tut: Treasures of the Tomb.
The Discovery Center is one of our favorite things to do in Boise with kids because it gives them an interactive experience in the STEM fields, while also learning history most of the time. Their staff is always on-hand to help your children learn.
Zoo Boise is another fun experience for kids in Boise, with animals and exhibits of all kinds. The zoo in Boise is located near downtown, in Julia Davis Park. Their animals include everything from bats and penguins to giraffes, zebras, and lions.
You can spend a day walking through the park, grab some food, and show your kids the amazing sites at Zoo Boise.
Just a note: Although Zoo Boise is open year-round, you will not be able to see all animals all year — because it does get too cold for many of them to be outside. A spring, summer, or early fall visit is always best.
Idaho is home to a large Basque population, and there are plenty of places in the city to visit to learn more about the history of the Basque people (both Basque and Basque-American).
Located in downtown Boise, the Basque block is home to a number of Basque Restaurants, Basque festivals, the Basque Center, a Pilota court (a type of handball), and the Basque Museum.
The Basque Museum is located in an old Basque boarding house and the building next door, and will take you through the history of the Basque immigration to the United States, including how so many ended up in Idaho. If your kids are native Idahoan, transplants, or just visiting, the unique story of the Basque people is an interesting one.
Idaho Ice World is meant for kid-friendly activities. The ice center has two sheets of ice and normally has open ice skating at least once a day, if not more, all year-round.
There is a Blimpie’s and cafeteria on-site, so if you want to drop your kids off with your friends, it’s a great thing to do in Boise with kids. If you want to get more serious about spending time at Idaho Ice World, there are also hockey leagues and ice skating lessons, for all ages of children.