Of course, every museum is educational, but the Idaho Historical Museum is a lot of fun too. Lots of history of Idaho including the pioneers and Native Americans, Lewis and Clark, gold mining and the like. My favorite feature of this museum is the Chinese apothocary and the other interative displays that light up and have recordings and movements. There used to be a two headed stuff calf, but I am not sure if that is still there! Small entrance fee and a really cool gift shop!
This is a really cool place to take out of town guests because it is rare that people get to visit an old prison! Well, except Alcatraz perhaps! This is a self guided tour of the old prison which sits just outside of Boise. In fact, it really is IN Boise which is facsinating to think there were prisioners just a mile away from residences and schools. This prison was in operation until the 1970s, so it hasn't been closed that long, though the building itself is much older. Just a fun place to go, very interesting, and a lot to look at. And, a little bit spooky!
While I love the dowtown location on main, I find this one to be just okay. Lots of parking in the lot and easy to get to, but I never really find anything wonderful at this one. I tried to buy a used children's bike here and found them way overpriced. This store feels unorganized and dirty to me. They carry used vehicles here as well. Just not my favorite and generally overpriced.
PROS: easy to get to
CONS: overpriced, dirty
The Downtown Idaho Youth Ranch is my favorite location. I always seem to find the neatest stuff down there. Everything from vintage soda machines to clothing and baby items. They seem to have a very good selection of children's furniture and toys as well as books at this location. There are two other locations (actually, three now) but this is the one I find myself coming back to over and over again. Parking on the street or a small lot off to the side of the building.
I am an avid thrifter and much prefer the downtown location on Main. I find better items at better prices at that location. Of course, you never know what you will find at a thrift store. I always donate to the Idaho Youth Ranch. It is a great cause and if you are an Idaho resident you can take a double tax write off (you can write your donation off both your state and federal taxes) .
Almost everyone knows Thomas Kinkade's work, so I guess you either like it or don't. The really neat thing about this gallery (besides the opportunity to buy an original painting) is the lighting! The gallery is dark and each painting is amazingly lit making them look just amazing. Worth stopping in if you are a fan whether you are in the market to purchase a painting or not.
The Idaho Botanical Garden is a great place to visit whether you are a tourist or a local. The garden is located at the base of the foothills near Table Rock, so you can easily add an afternoon of hiking. There are a lot of native plants to see as well as a xeroscaped garden. The garden also hosts several events throughout the year including the Mad Hatter's Tea Party and The Holiday Lights Festival. An interesting alternative to the many area parks.
The Boise Zoo sits in Julia Davis park making it a very convenient location to get to. The Zoo is still a smaller zoo, reflecting the smaller size of the city of Boise, but it is continually growing. Most of the animals are more native types of animals but there is a really cute rainforest area with an atrium and monkeys as well as tigers (our favorite part of the exhibit). My 4 year old usually just wants to play on the playground! The price is a little bit high in my opinion but if you choose a discounted day, beware that it will be VERY BUSY! Take a picnic in with you!
PROS: easy to get to, cute
CONS: not the most exotic animals
I am so sorry to say this, but this library is horrible. First off, their late fees are beyond unreasonable. New to the area, I was SHOCKED when I was charge $12 in late fees for a DVD (which was more than the replacement cost of the dvd), $1 a day late fees is higher than Blockbuster. I was irritated when I paid $13.50 in late fees and went to renew my books and they had not cleared out my late fines. When I called they said I had to bring my Visa receipt in to get them cleared. In my opinion, I paid my late fees it is their responsiblity to make sure the computer is updated. I was frustrated with scratched dvds that didn't play. I was irritated that there was nowhere to drop dvds without actually parking and getting out of my car and walking in (I have a newborn baby). I have not been able to find parking at the downtown location. All said, I am just really unhappy with the library. I like story times and those things, but I have literally not been able to find parking for them. Honestly, Barnes and Noble is a better bet, and considering the late fees, cheaper too.
I find the name of this store rather confusing. It is a toy store and not a clothing store or some other type of kids store. They carry higher end toys such as Thomas, Calico Corners, Melissa and Doug, and Lamaze. A fun, fun toy store to browse. Take your kids because there is a lot for them to play with. They also have a club for Thomas the Train fans that helps you earn free items with your Thomas purchases.