Boise is a city with plenty of activities for kids of all ages. So, whether you’ve got a nature-loving ten-year-old, a creative toddler, an adventurous teen, or all of the above, you’ll find something in Boise for everyone in the family!
Take a look at these family-centric activities you can only find in Boise:
Activities for the really little ones
If you’re looking for things to do for tots and toddlers, make sure to add these Boise activities to your list:
1. Aquarium of Boise
The Aquarium of Boise is a must-do, and it’s especially popular with younger kiddos who will be transfixed by over 250 different kinds of fish, sea creatures, and freshwater animals.
If you’re looking for a relaxing, peaceful way to spend the day, you and the family are set with 38 different oceanic and terrestrial exhibits, spanning their 10,000 square foot facility!
Keep an eye out for special tours, feeding times, and interactive exhibits.
2. Toddler Town at Planet Kid Indoor Soft Playground
Planet Kid is all about giving children a safe space to play, jump, tumble, dance, and just be kids! They’re dedicated to providing children from toddlers to 12-year-olds with a wonderful experience that replaces sedentary activities with healthy exercise.
The main draw in this facility is the Indoor Soft Playground, which features enough slides, climbing equipment, tunnels, and ball pits to tire out even the most active of kiddos.
We’re including Planet Kid in our Tot Section because their Toddler Town, specifically designed for children 2 years old and younger, is a favorite for families with infants and toddlers.
Planet Kid also has food and drink options available so that you can refuel for hours of fun!
3. Children’s Museum of Idaho
The one-of-a-kind Children’s Museum of Idaho was designed with 2- to 8-year-olds in mind, with interactive exhibits that are sure to entertain and educate your little one no matter how many times you visit.
And, if you’re looking for even more exciting things to do, there are plenty of extra programming events, from cooking classes to dino camps to space exploration adventures. Make sure to check their online calendar so that you don’t miss out on any of these fun special events.
Getting to the Children’s Museum of Idaho from Boise is easy. It’s just a 15-minute drive from downtown Boise to the museum in Meridian, and there’s free on-site parking!
4. Zoo Boise
At Zoo Boise, you’ll see over 300 amazing animals that are as unique as Boise itself! From red pandas to snow leopards to capybaras, visiting this eclectic family from 100 different species is sure to be a wonderful outing for you and the kids.
Zoo Boise donates a part of their proceeds to the Zoo Boise Conservation Fund, which is dedicated to protecting Idaho wildlife around the Boise area. So, every time you’re visiting the amazing animals at the zoo, you’re also helping animals in the wild!
Throughout the year, Zoo Boise hosts a series of special events, like the ever-popular Paint with Penguins Kids Night, a family-friendly evening for children 6 to 12. Your child will be invited to paint a picture while learning about the Zoo Boise penguins, and then, the penguins will get their turn to make a mark on your child’s creation!
You might have a lot of your child’s art on the fridge, but this will probably be your first penguin art! These kinds of memories are unique to Zoo Boise.
Learn and explore
5. Discovery Center of Idaho
If you’ve got a curious kid in your family (and let’s face it, all kids are curious!), you’re going to love the Discovery Center of Idaho. There’s something here for everyone: dinosaurs, virtual reality, Ancient Egyptian tombs, and much more.
The Discovery Center of Idaho is not a museum, but rather an interactive science center. There are an astounding 150 unique hands-on stations in the center, as well as ongoing live programming and guided activities to join.
If there are a few different ages of children in your family, all the better! You’ll find plenty of engaging exhibits and stations for all ages and learning levels.
6. Idaho Museum of Mining and Geology
Did you know that Idaho has rich, unique geology that attracts archaeologists, meteorologists, seismologists and other -ologists (ha!) from all over the world? It is, after all, the Gem State!
At the Idaho Museum of Mining and Geology in Boise, you can learn all about the many fascinating minerals, from topaz to aquamarine to gold, hiding in the landscape around you.
The museum offers its visitors an impressive collection of gemstones and fossils, and you’ll get a chance to learn about how miners and scientists have been able to crack into this rocky ecosystem. Throughout the year, you can also attend lectures by local experts or sign up for a field trip to see the wonders of the geological landscape in person.
The Idaho Museum of Mining and Geology closes for the winter, so make sure to attend in warmer months. And there’s one more thing we should mention: admission is free!
6. Pojos Family Fun Center
Classic arcades are hard to come by these days, so make sure that you make a stop at Pojos Family Fun Center for a dose of nostalgia and entertainment!
Since 1974, Pojos has been the hangout spot for kids, and your family will love the range of new and quintessential arcade games, bumper cars, and merry-go-round.
Pojos also has a full dining area where you can enjoy pizza in an old-school diner atmosphere.
8. Treasure Valley Skate
Another blast from the past is the Treasure Valley Skate rink. The facility may be new, but the energized, fun ambiance will bring you right back to the classic roller rinks of the 1970s.
You can sign up for private lessons or drop in for free skating with other skating-loving Boiseans. Either way, you’ll love their awesome music and laid-back vibe.
9. JUMP Boise
Known locally as JUMP, Jack’s Urban Meeting Place is something you’ll find only in Boise.
The idea behind JUMP is to provide the community with a place to learn, build, explore, and meet each other! So no matter when you’re in Boise, you’re bound to see a calendar filled with classes, cultural events, panel discussions, dance parties, and more.
Even if you don’t want to attend a scheduled event, the space has an outdoor park that is lovely for a family picnic.
10. Boise River Greenbelt
25 miles of prime biking, walking, and jogging track, the Boise River Greenbelt is the ultimate family-friendly outing. You’ll get a chance to see the city and surrounding nature by following along the beautiful Boise River on a shaded, well-maintained bike path.
Make sure that you keep an eye out for wildlife and consider packing a lunch to enjoy at one of several city parks along the trail.
11. MK Nature Center
While you make your way along the Boise River Greenbelt, you’ll come across the MK Nature Center, a 4.6-acre discovery and learning hub perfect for children and families.
Here, you’ll get a snapshot of the local wildlife and ecosystems around Boise, so that when your kids step back outside, they’ll have their eyes peeled for native birds, fish, trees and other Boise flora and fauna. Particularly popular with kids are the many viewing windows setup along the Streamwalk Loop, which give you an underwater perspective of the local river ecosystem.
12. Idaho Botanical Garden
The Idaho Botanical Garden describes itself as a living museum, and it’s easy to see why. This collection of gardens reaches back into local history while also transporting you into traditional gardens from around the world.
There is also an entire part of the Botanical Garden dedicated to the kiddos, complete with a playground area, three sensory garden beds, and a play-house. Plus, you can attend one of the frequent family-friendly workshops, where children can learn how to cook or craft with garden-grown materials!
Best Family-friendly eateries
13. Boise Fry Company
When in Idaho, have the potatoes—trust us! This Idaho-only chain of restaurants serves up the best fries made from locally-sourced potatoes of all shapes and colors. Oh, and you can add a juicy grass-fed burger to the meal if you please! All of their ingredients are fresh and local.
The Boise Fry Company is an obvious family favorite!
14. Waffle Me Up
Too early for french fries? Then why not get your fill of some tasty breakfast food, instead. Waffle Me Up, with locations in Boise and Meridian, is a local’s favorite for sweet, adventurous, and truly delicious waffles.
And with waffle topping options like Peanut Butter and Currant Jelly or Birthday Cake, the kids are going to love it!
15. Smoky Mountain Pizzeria Grill
Another Idaho born-and-raised restaurant chain, the Smoky Mountain Pizzeria Grill feeds families across the state.
With a friendly atmosphere and meals that will satisfy kids and adults, alike, it’s no wonder that Smoky Mountain is among Boise’s best family restaurants.
Make sure to check their website for specials—throughout the year, you can find special kids-eat-free days and special events.
Boise Idaho is Your Next Family-Friendly Getaway!
Boise has made a name for itself as a great kid-friendly city. The more time you spend here, the more opportunities you’ll have to boost your children’s interest in nature, plant the seed for a future in science, or simply bond together as a family!
There’s always more to explore in Boise Idaho!