Boise, Idaho, is an outdoorsy city with plenty of fun free things to do with kids. These five are favorites of a transplanted California mom who now calls Boise home.
Free things to do in Boise with kids
Boise is the City of Trees. I’ve lived here for two years now, having moved from Los Angeles, where I grew up. While I miss the diversity of food, I definitely do not miss the traffic. Despite its size, there is so much to do in Boise, especially with your children.
Idaho State Capitol Building
The Idaho State Capitol reopened in January 2010 after an 18 month renovation. The beautiful building, modeled on the national Capitol building was lovingly restored and is currently so pristine, it feels like what it must have been like when it first opened. Even the tiled bathrooms are sublime. There are well-planned, self-guided tours as well as guided ones. You have to call ahead to schedule the guide, but remember, it’s Idaho: it’s easy.
Morrison-Knudsen Nature Center
The Morrison-Knudsen Nature Center is located along the Greenbelt of the Boise River, open dawn to dusk every day. You can follow the interpretive trail on the Stream Walk through the Nature Center and see the stream and underwater viewing windows as well as habitats from around Idaho and around the world. I take my kids here every six months or so — they always find something new.
Boise Water Shed
When I tell people about the Boise Water Shed, they look at me funny. You take your kids to a waste water treatment facility? This place is cool as heck: they tout it as “where technology meets education… and your journey to environmental stewardship begins!”
The technologically advanced building was funded and opened in the Fall of 2009. There are interactive exhibits that help you learn about water: preservation, use and treatment. There is some cool public art and well-thought out tours, presentations and games to keep your kids happy.
The Boise Greenbelt is a series of paths that run along the Boise River which winds its way through the city of Boise. You can take a stroll, bicycle ride or even fish along the Greenbelt (Idaho Fishing License, not included). You’ll see kayakers making their way down the current as well as many other outdoor enthusiasts enjoying the scenery.
Ridge-to-River Trail System
Getting a little more adventuresome, did you know that Boise has a Ridge-to-River Trail system? An interconnected network of roads and trails courses through the foothills of Boise, linking not only neighborhoods with public lands but also connecting people with the natural environment. With over 130 miles of trail, there is something for everyone; from footpaths for the little ones to superb mountain biking for the serious biker.
This post was written by Elizabeth Rogers.