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Best family activities in Idaho

Julie Bielenberg is a Denver-based writer who served as managing editor for a regional home and lifestyle publication before starting Tweeter Communications, her editorial services boutique. With a BA in journalism from the University of...

Fantastic family adventures

Idaho has so much to offer for families. Read on to discover the best of the best for guaranteed family fun.

Lava hot springs olympic pool

AJ's Interactive Farm

Let your children explore the farm with a true hands-on experience to learn about raising animals, gardening, harvest and life in the agricultural realm. You'll find horse rides, opportunities to milk goats and pet various animals. Play games in straw bales and even practice roping. Bottle-feeding the baby animals is always a popular draw and children can even help gather eggs. Seasonal highlights include an Easter egg hunt, hayrides, Christmas lights, pumpkin patch and more.

Location: 1714 S 1625 E, Gooding, Idaho 83330

Phone: 208.316.5875

Website: www.ajsinteractivefarm.com

 

Cascade Raft & Kayak

It's a true whitewater adventure at Cascade Raft & Kayak. This outfit has been offering Idaho whitewater rafting trips since 1985. You'll find a variety of options to choose from such as a leisurely half-day river float trip to a full day of serious class rapids. Many claim this is the best rafting experience on the Payette River. April through September, there are full- and half-day trips offered. There is also a private facility with a cafe, gift shop, deck, patio, changing rooms and professional photography department. All the required equipment for a raft trip is provided. No prior rafting or kayaking experience is needed and instruction classes are available. Call ahead to determine if this is an age-appropriate option for your family.

Location: 7050 Highway 55, Horseshoe Bend, Idaho 83629

Phone: 208.793.2221

Website: www.cascaderaft.com

 

Idaho Botanical Garden

Right in the heart of Boise's Old Penitentiary Historic District is the Idaho Botanical Garden. With thousands of plants, this is a fantastic educational opportunity for any family. The native plant displays, botanical collections, entertainment, community and cultural events offer a fun-packed day for families. There is a Children's Adventure Garden with a koi pond, a Celtic Labyrinth for meditation, Lewis & Clark Native Plant Garden, The Vegetable Garden and a seasonal pumpkin patch. Don't miss the August family event: The Garden's Bug Day and The Fall Harvest Festival celebrating autumn.

Location: 2355 Old Penitentiary Rd. Boise, Idaho, 83712

Phone: 877.527.8233

Website: www.idahobotanicalgarden.org

 

Lava Hot Springs Olympic Swimming Complex and Indoor Aquatic Center

Get the bathing suits on and head to the Lava Hot Springs Pool. There is an outdoor pool with slides and an indoor aquatic center that is open year round. The indoor pool has diving boards, basketball and a poolside climbing wall. And, brand new for winter 2012-2013 is an indoor kiddie pool chalk full of toys, slides and a separate party room. The center also has acres of grass and picnic areas, wagon riders, disc golf, regular golf and you can float the rapids of the Portneuf River. And, don't miss the infamous hot pools outside. Lodging, dinning and shopping are all conveniently located nearby.

Location: 195 N. Center St. Lava Hot Springs, Idaho 83246

Phone: 208.776.5221 or 800.423.8597

Website: www.lavahotsprings.com

 

Paragliding Rides with Fly Sun Valley

Hit the sky like the birds and fly over the gorgeous Sun Valley. This outlet offers professional USHPA-certified paragliding tandem pilots to help guide your adventure. No prior paragliding experience is required and most ages are welcome for flights. Please call ahead to make a reservation. When calling ahead, note the requirements as they can accommodate persons that are physically disabled or visually impaired. Flights and rides are offered all year round should the weather allow.

Location: 160 W. 4th St. Ketchum, Idaho 83340

Phone: 208.726.3332

Website: www.flysunvalley.com

 

Roaring Springs Waterpark

This is one the Northwest's largest waterpark. First, catch the brand new ride, Thunder Falls Family Raft Ride. Second, don't miss the Whitewater Bay wave pool. Catch a wave or roll with the punches as the waves knock you over. The Mammoth Canyon is a great family raft ride and the Racing Ridge is a four lane-racing slide to compete against family. Tube slides and the kiddie play area offer even more family fun. Rent a luxury cabana next to the Wave Pool to take a siesta if need be or mark a spot to meet back throughout the day.

Location: 400 W. Overland Rd. Meridian, Idaho 83642

Phone: 208.884.8842

Website: www.roaringsprings.com

 

Pocatello Zoo

Bring on the animals! Located in Ross Park, this zoological garden highlights the Rocky Mountain region's native animals in a more informal and natural setting. Spot cougars, eagles, grizzly bears and bison at Pocatello Zoo. A very interesting point and topic of conversation, this zoo is a sanctuary for animals that have been orphaned, injured, imprinted on humans or born captive. Don't miss the zoo slumber part in August that includes a sunset BBQ, night hike and overnight adventure in the Treehouse or Tipi.

Location: 2900 South 2nd Ave. Pocatello, Idaho 83204

Phone: 208.234.6264

Website: www.pocatellozoo.org

Image courtesy of Lava Hot Springs
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