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Zoo Boise is owned by the city of Boise as a 501(c)(3) organization, Friends of Zoo Boise. The zoo is more than 100 years old, and was opened in 1916 after the city acquired a monkey from a traveling circus. The zoo in Boise is home to hundreds of animals and works with zoos across the world to help preserve many species of animals.
Although the zoo in Boise is not as large as world-famous zoos like San Diego or Omaha, it is perfect for a city like Boise and is a fun place to take your kids for the day.
Zoo Boise is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA).
Zoo Boise is located in Julia Davis Park in downtown Boise. The zoo shares the parking lot with the Boise Art Museum and Idaho State Museum, which sometimes makes it hard to find a parking spot.
Visiting the zoo in Boise on the same day as either museum, the Julia Davis Park Rose Garden, or taking a stroll through Julia Davis Park can be a fun way to spend the day in Boise with kids. If you are walking along the Boise Greenbelt through the park, many times you can see the giraffes peeking their heads over the fence.
Zoo Boise Address:
355 Julia Davis Drive
Boise, Idaho 83702
Zoo Boise is open year-round, seven days a week.
September through May, their hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
June through August, their hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The last admission of the day is always at 4:30 p.m.
Zoo Boise is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.
Despite their yearly dates, many animals either stay inside many of the cold months and are not always visible while you are visiting. If you have a choice, visiting Zoo Boise during warmer months would be the best option.
Ticket prices at Zoo Boise are subject to change (these prices are as of February 2020).
Zoo Boise Ticket Prices Are:
General Admission (12-61): $7
Seniors (62+): $4.50
Children (3-11): $4.25
Kids (2 & Under): Free
Prices for Special Attractions at Zoo Boise:
Giraffe & Sloth Bear Encounter: $3
Conservation Cruise: $1
Zoo Farm Food: $0.25
One of the greatest things about visiting Zoo Boise is the many special events they host all year round. Not only can you reserve the zoo for weddings, birthdays, parties, etc., but they also create events where you can bond with your favorite animal.
Paint with Penguins
For instance, I just got done with an event called Paint with Penguins. At this event, we were given a canvas and paint with the knowledge the painting would be painted over. They hold this event a few times a year, and there are different events for adults and children (there was wine at the adults’ event).
We then were given a tour of the zoo while our paintings dried and were brought over to the Penguin Pavilion. As we watched the paintings were placed on the ground while a penguin walked over them with paint on his feet. It was all washable and he was given a nice bath afterwards.
Paint with Penguins is just one of the many events that help the community remember what a great zoo we have in Boise.
Other events at the zoo in Boise include a Mother’s Day Brunch, Woo at the Zoo (a Valentine’s Day event), and of course Boo at the Zoo. Boo at the Zoo is one of the most popular events at Zoo Boise, where children can dress up in their Halloween costumes and trick or treat throughout the zoo.
There are dozens of different types of animals at Zoo Boise, and the number continues to grow.
Animals at Zoo Boise Include:
- African Clawed Frog
- Amur Tiger
- Bald Eagle
- Black-Handed Spider Monkeys
- Fruit Bats
- Giant Anteater
- Gila Monsters
- Great Horned Owl
- Greater Rhea
- Grevy’s Zebra
- Inca Tern
- Komodo Dragons
- Magellenic Penguin
- Maned Wolf
- Moon Jelly Fish
- North American Porcupine
- Patas Monkeys
- Red Panda
- Ring-Tailed Lemurs
- Sarus Cranes
- Slender Tailed Meerkat
- Sloth Bear
- Snow Leopards
- Striped Hyenas
- White-Handed Gibbons