Theme Park Fun
Pack up the kids and drive to northern Idaho for an action-packed vacation filled with parks, rides and water adventures. Start out at Silverwood Theme Park 15 miles north of Coeur d’Alene. This family-friendly park is modeled after a turn-of-the-century Victorian town, complete with a steam train, water rides, performance shows, Boulder Beach Water Park, antique aircraft museum, games of skill and Tremors, a 60 mile-per-hour underground roller coaster. Panic Plunge is the park’s newest attraction - due to open May 6 – and will tower over the park at 140 feet and plunge riders straight down at 47 mph.
At the end of the day, stop by Triple Play in Hayden for a one-of-a-kind experience. This complete family entertainment center with the Raptor Reef Indoor Water Park, bumper boats, bowling and two miniature golf courses, plus go karts and laser tag, has it all in the heart of Hayden. The real adventurous can try the climbing wall located inside the complex.
When it’s time to get wet Wild Waters Water Park in Coeur d’ Alene is the place to go. This family water park offers something for everyone with 11 water slides including a tube ride, hot tubs, Kahuna Waterfall and a landing pool. For the little ones there’s Water Toy Play Land and a kid-friendly paddle boat lagoon. After a few slips and slides, enjoy a movie or laser show on the large screen while relaxing in the summer warmth in the grassy picnic area. Or hang out at the arcade or snack bar.
Next summer add the new Water Park at Silver Mountain to your list. Opening in 2007 the 55,000 square-foot water park will feature several waterslides, an indoor/outdoor swimming pool, a FlowRider surfing wave/pool and other major aquatic attractions.
Wildlife, Dance and Science
The Museum of Idaho in Idaho Falls is a national traveling exhibit museum dedicated to preserving and showcasing the natural and cultural history of Idaho and the West. Children and adults alike experience regional educational programs in the sciences and humanities. Nationally-acclaimed exhibitions including a T. Rex Named Sue; Discovering Idaho: The World of Lewis & Clark and Space Journey (NASA). The museum offers permanent displays about the Columbian Mammoth, Lewis and Clark and the race for atomic power. There’s also a Children's Discovery Room, a reading and reference library, presentations and educational programs.
Continuing north toward Yellowstone National Park, watch for bear signs. The beauty of eastern Idaho will draw you in as you explore many parts of this region. Start of with a family-friendly experience unlike any other at Yellowstone Bear World. Located in Rexburg, Bear World is the area’s only drive-through wildlife preserve where visitors young and old enjoy seeing grizzly bear, black bear and gray wolves, all in their natural habitat, all from the safety of a car. This is a true family adventure you won't want to miss.
While in Rexburg, take the kids on the Idaho Centennial Carousel at Porter Park. This carousel is one of the last ones of its kind in the world, built by the Spillman Engineering Co. in about 1926. It is the only restored, authentic wooden carousel in Idaho. Restoration on the old carousel began in 1985 with a reopening in 1990, Idaho's centennial year.
Another great event in Rexburg features hundreds of dancers from around the world as they come together to share their culture and promote world peace. Events at the Idaho International Dance & Music Festival include opening and closing ceremonies, street dance, parade, fireworks and Youth Culture Day. Tickets are required for the BBQ, Music Fair and indoor performances.
As Idaho’s capital city Boise is a mecca for art, culture, cuisine and of course, outdoor recreation.
With annual events like the Gene Harris Jazz Festival, Art in the Park, and the Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Boise is the cultural center of the gem state. Food is a top priority for Boiseans, and unique events like the Soul Food Extravaganza showcase this priority.
As home to the largest population of Basque’s outside of Spain, Boise is proud to host Jaialdi, an event which takes place every five years and showcases the Basque culture through music, food, dancing and history.
Spend a day at the Discovery Center of Idaho and learn about the physics of science or check out Boondock’s Fun Center and Roaring Springs Water Park in nearby Meridian, a 17-acre park where kids enjoy bumper boats, race cars, mini golf and gallons and gallons of water.
For an "up close and personal" animal experience families love the World Center for Birds of Prey and the Boise Zoo. Both offer unique exhibits and a chance to learn about specific birds and other animals native to Idaho and other parts of the world.
Boise offers a chance to hit the outdoors from almost anywhere in the city. Escape to the foothills for hiking and mountain biking, or rent a tube or raft and take a leisurely float down the Boise River. For a more casual outdoor experience, try an afternoon walk on the Boise Greenbelt. When you’re ready to take it up a notch, Lucky Peak State Park is a short 30-minute drive and offers swimming, boating and jet skiing opportunities, while the Payette River at Banks offers families the chance to get wet on some Idaho whitewater.
For wintertime excursions, Bogus Basin Ski Resort is only a 30-40 minute drive from downtown and Tamarack Resort and Brundage Mountain are a two-hour drive north.
Combine Education and Recreation in Central Idaho
Just west of Arco, Craters of the Moon National Monument is an 83 square-mile national monument with a stunning array of volcanic features including aa, pahoehoe and blocky lava; cinder and spatter cones and lava tubes (caves). The Craters of the Moon National Monument is the largest lava field of its type in the mainland United States. A visitor center explains the flow and trails and guides are available to take the kids out into the lava or on a climb into a cave.
Next visit Shoshone Ice Caves. This cave complex is one of the natural wonders of the world. Trained guides explain the geologic, volcanic and historic background in these large lava caves with year-round ice floors. A museum contains Indian artifacts, gems and minerals of local and world interest. Tours last 45 minutes.
Check out 28 different trails atop famous Bald Mountain in Sun Valley where you can mountain bike or hike down as you take in the breathtaking views of wildlife, flora and the fauna of the area. Trails range from easy day hikes to more challenging terrain for the truly adventurous.