Whatever the weather, there’s no denying that spring is on its way. We’ve spent all winter sharing some of our favorite sledding spots and winter activities with you, but now it’s time to prepare for the plethora of activities that come with Idaho’s gloriously warm and sunny days – and believe me, there are plenty! Today, we’ve rounded up just a few places that will take you back to the simpler times of childhood. Bonus: they’re activities that nearly anyone at any age can do!
1. Visit a butterfly house.
Is there anything more simple and beautiful than a house full of gentle butterflies, softly flitting to and fro from flower to flower? Idaho is home to only one public butterfly house, called Butterflies in Bloom, and it's located at Zoo Boise. You'll be positively enchanted by the swirling colors of hundreds of Costa Rican beauties - but only between June 1 and Labor Day.
Address: 355 Julia Davis Dr. Boise, ID, 83702
2. Ride the vintage carousel in Rexburg.
The music box-style tunes of a vintage carousel sure do bring back memories! One of only 150 left in the country and nearly a century old,
Rexburg's vintage wooden carousel
in Porter Park is a truly unique landmark that stands waiting to delight riders.
: S 2nd W & 3rd W, Rexburg, ID 83440
3. Visit JUMP Boise.
Downtown Boise's latest addition is essentially one giant creative zone for kids of all ages. Between playing dress-up for the camera and busting out your creativity in the Inspire Studio, there's a
lot to explore. But perhaps the most childlike part of this monolithic structure? The Slide Zone. Scheduled to open this spring, here, an expansive terrace high above Myrtle Street is home to entrances to the Team Slide and a five-story Spiral Slide - a trip down any of which will take your breath away.
Address: 1000 W Myrtle St. Boise, ID 83702
4. Slide down the sand dunes at Bruneau Dunes State Park.
The tallest single-structured sand dunes in the world are also Idaho's largest sandbox, and they're a blast to fly down year-round. Grab a sled, a piece of cardboard, a snowboard, or any makeshift tubular device you can find, and sled your way down with the wind in your hair - just like sledding, but without the snowburn!
Address: 27608 Bruneau Sand Dunes Rd. Mountain Home, ID 83647
5. ...or just play in them.
If the child in you is into louder, bigger, and more rugged toys, dune buggying through the St. Anthony sand dunes is another option. 11,000 acres of fine white sand offers additional sledding, hiking, and camping opportunities - just remember that it is also a protected wildlife area!
Directions: Follow Salem Rd./N1900 E./Red Rd. all the way to the entrance.
6. Take an Idaho safari.
Zoos are a childhood staple when it comes to making memories, but getting to see Idaho's own state wildlife up close and personal - and even feed them, learn their personalities, and make new friends - is something truly special.
Yellowstone Bear World
is a hidden gem tucked away near the Wyoming border, so you'll get some awesome views along the way. Season runs April - October.
: 6010 S 4300 W. Rexburg, Idaho
7. Stargaze (or sun-gaze) at an observatory.
Ranking up there with making pictures out of clouds and dropping a tennis ball out of a 3rd story window to learn about gravity, there's something undeniably exhilarating about seeing the universe from a new perspective. Fortunately, Idaho is home to a number of astronomical observatories that showcase the darkened heavens in all of their glory...or, drop on by for a pair of specialized goggles to see the sun in a way you never thought possible. Check out the Breaneu Dunes Observatory in Bruneau, the Challis Observatory, or the Centennial Observatory and Faulkner Planetarium in Twin Falls.
8. Attend the Treasure Valley Kite Festival
For many, the arrival of spring means regular visits to the nearest city park where dozens of opportunities await for simple, family fun. Kite-flying is an activity that is nothing short of a tradition whenever the whether kicks up a little breeze - and why not? Colorful contraptions, darting to and fro in the grass, and smiles galore all add up to a fantastic time no matter your age! For southern Idahoans, the annual
Treasure Valley Kite Festival
at Kleiner Park in Meridian is an absolute must-do in order to kick off the season right.
: 1900 N Records Ave. Meridian, Idaho
9. Visit Silverwood Theme Park
Can we really have a list of things that bring our your inner child without mentioning the only theme park in Idaho? Whether you're an adrenaline junkie or are more interested in floating the lazy river at Boulder Beach in the summer, either way, you're sure to want to return time and time again.
Address: 27843 North Highway 95. Athol, ID 83801
10. Pig out at a vintage candy shop.
Recreate your own version of
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
by paying an extended visit to one of Idaho's dozens of childhood wonderlands. With towers of licorice, cases of handmade chocolates, and jawbreakers the size of your head filling glass jars and overflowing wooden barrels every way you turn, your adult-sized sweet tooth will be in heaven.
Idaho's Best Candy and Chocolate Shops
11. Check out a sweet retro arcade.
Get your Donkey Kong on, work up a sweat, and burn a few quarters while the retro sounds of Pac-Man and Mortal Kombat echo all around you. The Treasure Valley is a hub of these rare gems, with both Grinkers and the Spacebar offering up all of your favorite classics, plus tournaments, console games, drinks, and more.
12. ...or spend the day at a family fun zone.
Why stop with just a few rounds of pinball when you can throw in Laser Tag, go-karts, indoor waterparks, and rope gyms? Check out Wahooz in Meridian, Triple Play in Hayden, or Outer Limits in Pocatello.
13. City of Rocks National Reserve
City of Rocks National Reserve/Facebook
Forget scrambling across monkey bars and jungle gyms - the City of Rocks is a whirlwind of climbing opportunities for the child at heart!
More info and directions