Attractions in Idaho for Kids

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Things For Kids To Do In Idaho

Idaho is a big state, and there are lots of attractions and things for kids to do there. Many of these will be of the outdoor, natural variety, but there are manufactured attractions for both adults and kids as well.

We'll take a look at both types here, broken down into Eastern Idaho, the central area where the capital, Boise, is located, and Northern Idaho with the tourist city of Coeur D'Alene. The largest concentration of attractions is probably around Boise (that's where the people are, after all), but there is something everywhere.

Read on, then, for some ideas, some fun things to do, in Idaho, centered around activities for kids but with some suggestions for parents as well.

Eastern Idaho Fun

show route and directions
A markerTautphaus park zoo, Idaho Falls -
Tautphaus Park Zoo, Rogers St, Idaho Falls, ID 83402, USA
[get directions]

Tautphaus Park Zoo

B markerMuseum of Idaho, Idaho Falls -
Museum of Idaho, 200 N Eastern Ave, Idaho Falls, ID 83402, USA
[get directions]

Museum Of Idaho

C markerLava Hot Springs -
430 Main St, Lava Hot Springs, ID 83246, USA
[get directions]

Lava Hot Springs

D markerFort Hall Replica -
922 N 7th Ave, Pocatello, ID 83201, USA
[get directions]

Fort Hall Replica

E markerCraters of the Moon national monument -
Craters of the Moon National Monument, Highway 26, Arco, ID 83213, USA
[get directions]

Craters Of The Moon

Things To Do In Eastern Idaho

While the eastern portion of the state is more sparsely populated, there is still plenty to do for both kids and adults, with manufactured entertainment centered in Idaho Falls and Pocatello, just an hours drive apart.

Idaho Falls

  • Idaho Falls hosts the Museum of Idaho, with fascinating exhibits for all ages. Travelling exhibits have included dinosaur bones and King Tut, while permanent exhibits give examples of the race for atomic power, Lewis and Clark and the secrets of the cave, which is all about very early inhabitants of the area.
  • Idaho Falls is also home to the Tautphaus Park Zoo. With species from all over the world, a child's petting zoo and several educational programs it is well worth a visit.

Pocatello

  • Just minutes from downtown Pocatello is Lava Hot springs - a massive complex of water fun that everyone can enjoy. High diving platforms, water slides, wave pool and more, it makes a wonderful day of fun for the whole family.
  • The Fort Hall replica can be a gold mine of information for those interested in the Oregon Trail and that period of American history when it seemed half the world was coming through the Pocatello area in search of gold or just a new life. History comes alive here with the opportunity to understand what our forefathers went through on their journey west.

A trip of about 1½ hours west from Idaho Falls on Highway 20 will bring you to the Craters Of The Moon National Monument; an area of ancient volcanic eruptions that has left the landscape reminiscent of the bleak terrain of the moon. Filled with lava tubes and other lava formations it is fascinating to anyone with a geological interest.

Shoshone Falls is a great place to picnic on a trip through southern Idaho
Shoshone Falls is a great place to picnic on a trip through southern Idaho | Source
show route and directions
A markerRoaring Springs -
Roaring Springs Waterpark, 400 W Overland Rd, Meridian, ID 83642, USA
[get directions]

B markerCelebration Park, Idaho -
Celebration Park, 5000 Victory Ln, Melba, ID 83641, USA
[get directions]

C markerBoise Zoo -
Zoo Boise, 355 Julia Davis Dr, Boise, ID 83702, USA
[get directions]

The giant sand dune at Bruneau Dunes.
The giant sand dune at Bruneau Dunes. | Source

Things To Do In South Central Idaho And The Boise Area

Central Idaho has the largest population of the state and includes Boise, Nampa, Mountain Home and several other smaller towns. It is also full of fun and fascinating things to do for kids as well as their parents.

As one travels through the area, Twin Falls makes a great lunch or rest break. Shoshone Falls is a glorious sight in the spring, and the Perrine Bridge that is crossed on the way into town often offers views of base jumpers (you know - those wild people that jump off buildings or bridges and parachute to the ground). A couple of hours break while the kids ooh and aah at the falls and bridge, running off their energy in the park or along trails, can turn a tedious drive into a pleasant day.

Some 50 miles East of Boise is Bruneau Dunes state park and campground, where a national observatory is opened for public viewing of the planets and stars on weekends. Local stargazers set up their private telescopes and visitors are welcome to use them. The park also has the largest sand dune in North America, making a great playground for kids.

Boise area

The area around Boise gives opportunity for a great many fun days. Some of the activities most recommended include:

Roaring Springs, seen  from I84
Roaring Springs, seen from I84 | Source

Boise Area Attractions

The area around Boise gives opportunity for a great many fun filled days. Some of the activities most recommended include:

  • Roaring Springs. Located in Meridian, just 10 miles from downtown Boise, Roaring Springs is a waterpark/entertainment complex that includes not only a great water park but other activities as well. Batting cages are available, there is a large video arcade (Wahooz), and there are two go cart tracks - one for smaller kids and a faster one for older kids and adults. Parts of the complex are open all year, with the water park being closed during colder months. The Roaring Springs website can provide information on when it is open.

Roaring Springs

Just one of several water slide complexes
Just one of several water slide complexes | Source
One of two go cart tracks
One of two go cart tracks | Source
The entrance to Wahooz arcade area
The entrance to Wahooz arcade area | Source
A second water slide complex
A second water slide complex | Source
  • Celebration Park. Celebration Park is a very interesting area that the Bonneville Flood created thousands of years ago. Melon "gravel" gave a perfect place for inhabitants to carve petroglyphs that are still not well understood today and there are dozens of these enigmatic rock carvings to watch for as one walks a short path through the boulder field. An atlatl range is provided, with instruction and practice on how to throw an atlatl; a weapon used hundreds of years ago by the indigenous Indians for hunting purposes. Less than an hour's drive from Boise, it not only provides a place for kids to run and climb (but stay off the petroglyphs!) but learning to throw the atlatl is even more fun.

Celebration Park

A petroglyph carved into a smooth rock centuries ago.
A petroglyph carved into a smooth rock centuries ago. | Source
Throwing the atlatl at Celebration Park
Throwing the atlatl at Celebration Park | Source
  • Boise Zoo. The city of Boise is home to a very nice zoo that will interest kids of all ages. Located at the edge of a large park, there are again exhibits from all over the world including a great tiger exhibit. The zoo will keep kids of all ages occupied for several hours and between the zoo and the park it can make for a very pleasant day.
  • Discovery Center. Designed to teach children the basics of science, the Discovery Center is full of hands-on exhibits and fascinating facts. Children from 5 or 6 years of age to adult will find it interesting as they learn about the world around us. Located just a short distance from the zoo, it fills the day with fun learning experiences.
  • The Boise River. A very popular summer pastime is to float the river through town. One can rent tubes upstream, float downstream and return via bus. There is also a new white water park in town, designed to provide fun and practice for kayakers.
  • Outside Boise a few miles is some of the best white water rafting in the country - the first photo in this article was taken less than an hour from downtown and is of a raft going through a class IV rapids on the Payette River.
  • Two hours away is the tourist town of McCall, Idaho where a wealth of outdoor activities can be found year around from boating to hot springs pools to snow skiing. McCall (and Cascade Lake a little south of McCall) has wonderful camping opportunities in several state parks.

There are various attractions such as roller skating rinks, bowling alleys and even an ice skating rink in the Boise area as well. Parks abound everywhere, and the Julia Davis Park at the zoo has a beautiful rose garden.

Boise Attractions

Entrance to the Discovery Center
Entrance to the Discovery Center | Source
A very small section of the park and rose garden next to the zoo
A very small section of the park and rose garden next to the zoo | Source
show route and directions
A markerschweitzer mountain -
Schweitzer Mountain Resort, Sandpoint, ID 83864, USA
[get directions]

B markersilverwood -
Silverwood Theme Park, 27843 N Hwy 95, Athol, ID 83801, USA
[get directions]

C markerCoeur D' Alene -
Coeur d'Alene, ID, USA
[get directions]

Northern Idaho

Northern Idaho is a mecca for the tourist and offers a great deal in the way of activities, both natural and manufactured.

  • Silverwood. Silverwood is Idaho's only amusement park and is located just ½ hour drive north of Coeur D' Alene, Idaho. Silverwood not only has a great amusement park but a water park all put together into one. Known for it's roller coasters, Silverwood operates the first "upside down" coaster ever built in the country. The Corkscrew Coaster was originally constructed in Knotts Berry Farm, California, but was purchased and moved to Silverwood several years ago. The Aftershock coaster is the newest coaster, and it is guaranteed to wake the most jaded of riders. Tremors is a wooden coaster that seems to go on forever and is a favorite as well. The water park has many great slides, two wave pools and an area for smaller children. All put together, Silverwood can provide days of great activities for children of all ages.
  • Lakes. The town of Coeur D' Alene is built on the shores of Lake Coeur D' Alene and rental boats and jet skiis are available. Lake cruises are available and make a great slow paced afternoon entertainment. With some of the best scenery anywhere it is well worth the small ticket price.
  • Schweitzer Mountain. Schweitzer mountain is an extraordinary resort with activities ranging from a climbing wall to a zip line and everything in between. Excellent winter snow skiing, mountain biking, horseback riding, and an air jumper are just the beginning. Visitors can spend a week at Schweitzer, especially in the summer, and not do it all.

Spokane, Washington is minutes away for a major shopping experience and even more activities for kids. Coeur D' Alene comes highly recommended for a summer trip for nearly any family, and especially for those with kids.

All put together, you will never have a problem finding attractions, activities or things to do in Idaho for kids whatever their age. Outdoor activities and attractions prevail, but there is something for everyone - the biggest problem is limiting the fun to match up with the time available.

Silverwood Amusement Park

Is the Corkscrew really what you want to do?
Is the Corkscrew really what you want to do? | Source
Water slides seen from the train ride, where you will be robbed by bandits.
Water slides seen from the train ride, where you will be robbed by bandits. | Source
An interesting set of water slides
An interesting set of water slides | Source
Water slides for the speed demons of the group
Water slides for the speed demons of the group | Source
The kiddie area of Silverwoods water park
The kiddie area of Silverwoods water park | Source
Again, are you SURE you want this slide?
Again, are you SURE you want this slide? | Source
The wave pool at Silverwood
The wave pool at Silverwood | Source
The wave pool really does make waves.  Big ones!
The wave pool really does make waves. Big ones! | Source
Last but not least, the newest member of the park; the Aftershock coaster.
Last but not least, the newest member of the park; the Aftershock coaster. | Source

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Comments 10 comments

Natashalh profile image

Natashalh 4 years ago from Hawaii

Your hubs make me wonder why I didn't go out to Idaho last summer with my grandmother, cousin, and aunt! Actually, I think my sister went for a while, too. My aunt livd in Boise for a long time, but last summer my family was in/near Donnelley. My grandmother brought me some tasty huckleberry treats! I've never spent any time in that part of the country, though.


wilderness profile image

wilderness 4 years ago from Boise, Idaho Author

That's funny! My great grandmother was the first white woman ever to enter Round Valley, just a few miles south of Donnelly and long before Donnelly had any settlers there. The second homestead in the valley.

Last year we camped at Cascade Lake, outside Donnelly, during their yearly huckleberry festival. Huckleberry treats everywhere!

Idaho really does have an awful lot to offer, something few people realize. Heck, half the east coast residents haven't a clue where to find it on a map, even!


LauraGSpeaks profile image

LauraGSpeaks 4 years ago from Raleigh, NC

East coaster here......o.k., so I do know where Idaho is on a map, but I had no idea that it had so much to offer. When I think Idaho, I think of potatoes! Very useful hub for anyone planning a trip to Idaho, or even for residents. Sometimes we never visit the interesting sites in our own backyard unless we have out of town guests!


jellygator profile image

jellygator 4 years ago from USA

My best friend is from Idaho. I've never been there, but I keep telling her I want to tag along next time she goes home. Her photographs always show some of the most amazing landscapes and beautiful country.


Natashalh profile image

Natashalh 4 years ago from Hawaii

Yep, my family went to the huckleberry festival. They brought back honey, tea, coffee, and I don't even remember what else. They also spent a lot of time eating at some bakery there that my aunt's friend owns, but I can't remember the name of it. And my cousin spent the summer 'volunteering' at the library so he could use the Internet! It really is a small world, isn't it?


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 4 years ago from Taos, NM

Wow! I've never been to Idaho, but the state looks beautiful and it sounds like there is much to do there. Your photos are beautiful and the maps are so helpful. Very interesting and informative. I will have to visit here someday.


Writer Fox profile image

Writer Fox 3 years ago from the wadi near the little river

I was only in Idaho one time and I went to see the Snake River Canyon where Evel Knievel jumped. I don't know how he ever survived that crash with over 400 broken bones! But it's a beautiful place and I think you are fortunate to live in Idaho.


wilderness profile image

wilderness 3 years ago from Boise, Idaho Author

We love it here, even if it is mostly desert where we live. Mountains are not far (as in 20 miles) and there is lots of camp spots for our RV. Shoshone Falls isn't far from where Evel jumped; the Niagara of the West it is called. Beautiful.


swilliams profile image

swilliams 2 years ago from Arizona

Wow! That looks like tons of fun wilderness. I lived in Bosie Idaho I was young so I can't remember much. However I did have the opportunity to visit a few years back and I loved the weather it was snowing! If I ever visit again I will have to try out your fun suggestions.

Thanks!


wilderness profile image

wilderness 2 years ago from Boise, Idaho Author

Well, I can tell you things have changed a lot since childhood! There really is lots of things to keep occupied around here, and for kids of all ages.

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