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Six Free Kid Activities in Boise, Idaho

Animal Tracks, Boise, Kids Activities, Stale Bread

There’s a lot of free things for a family to do in and around the city of Boise, Idaho. When my kids were small, we spent lots of time taking advantage of the free things that Boise has to offer. In no particular order, here are six of our favorite, free things to do:

Bike the Boise Greenbelt

The Boise Greenbelt is a 22 mile linear park system that follows the Boise River and connects seven different city parks. The Greenbelt is both a paved bike path and pedestrian walkway, and has something of interest for everyone in the family. Visitors to the Boise Greenbelt can walk, bike, go fishing, take a planetary scavenger hunt, watch the wildlife, go wading, or simply enjoy lunch or dinner at one of many picnic areas along the path.

The three most popular spots to access the Boise Greenbelt are at Julia Davis Park, Ann Morrison Park, or Memorial Park. Parking is free.

For more information, read Bicycling the Boise Greenbelt or visit the Boise City Web site.

Feed the ducks at Ann Morrison Park

At the west end of Ann Morrison Park is the duck pond where Boiseans have been feeding stale bread to ducks and Canadian geese for at least three generations. Entrance to the park is free, all you need to provide is a bag of stale bread for 15 minutes of fun entertainment.

To reach the duck pond, enter Ann Morrison park at the Americana entrance, and jog slightly to the right.

Play in the Water Fountain in the Grove

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One of the prettiest water fountains is Boise is in the “Centre on the Grove”, a paved brick plaza that abuts the Boise Convention Center, located at 850 W. Front Street.

The fountain (known to some as a splash pad) shoots directly up from ground level, and is a favorite summer play spot for kids of all ages. We’ve seen as many as 30 kids running around the fountain while their parents could watch from any one of a number park benches. Be sure to dress the kids for getting wet and don’t forget the sun screen.

Visit the Morrison Knudsen Nature Center

The Morrison Knudsen Nature Center at 600 South Walnut is really a one-of-kind facility unlike anything we’ve ever seen. It’s both a fish & wildlife habitat and educational facility for kids with lots of hands on kids friendly activities. Kids will enjoy seeing the taxidermy mounts of Idaho wildlife, making animal rubbings, learning how to read animal tracks, and taking a walk along a trout filled stream outfitted with viewing windows. The facility is open Tuesday – Friday from 9-5 and weekends 11-5. Plan on spending at least 1.5 hours minimum at this facility.

Experience old time Boise at the Bown House

For something totally different, there’s the Bown House interactive museum, located in front of Riverside School at 2100 Victory Road, almost at the end of Parkcenter Blvd. Open the first Saturday of every month, the Bown House is a living museum that gives kids an opportunity to experience life in 19th century Boise. Downstairs rooms include an old fashioned classroom, a parlor, and kitchen. The upper floor has three rooms that cover early agriculture, news & information, and the Oregon Trail. To make learning fun, the Bown House includes lots of games, old fashioned activities, and an assortment of hands-on equipment that kids can use. You can easily spend 1-2 hours at this museum.

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Visit the Boise Water Shed

One of Boise’s newest learning centers is the Boise Water Shed, located at 11818 West Joplin Road, behind the West Boise Wastewater treatment Plant. This facility teaches kids all about water with technological based exhibits and lots of hands-on activities. Kids will learn where drinking water comes from, travel back in time to learn about historic water use, and how to operate a wastewater treatment plant and turn the Sludge Master to send sludge to the digester. The Boise Water Shed is open Monday – Friday, 9:30- 4:30 and select Saturdays. For more information, visit the Boise Water Shed web site.