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Idaho Gardens – Idaho is a northwestern U.S. state known for mountainous landscapes, and vast swaths of protected wilderness and outdoor recreation areas. The capital, Boise, is set in the Rocky Mountain foothills and is bisected by the Boise River, which is popular for rafting and fishing.
Idaho Botanical Garden: This Garden is a nonprofit botanical garden located on 50 acres at North Old Penitentiary Road. It is a year-round living museum with self-guided tours through 33 acres of unique native & exotic gardens. You will find a full garden experience for all ages that enhances the community’s quality of life through plant collections, education programs, and entertainment, cultural and community events. The Idaho Botanical Garden is a special place with tranquil grounds that is home to diverse plant collections, bubbling fountains, wildlife, quiet walkways, and distant vistas. The garden is also a unique outdoor gallery of art. It also contains the Lewis and Clark Native Plant Garden, the English Garden, the Children’s Adventure Garden, and the Meditation Garden to name a few. You will find this special garden in Boise.
University of Idaho Arboretum & Botanical Garden: The goals of the University of Idaho Arboreta are to provide a site for instruction in botany, horticulture, forestry, landscape architecture, environmental sciences, and other fields related to the living collection; encourage authorized research in fields such as plant hardiness, systematics, and hybridization; educate the public through field trips, lectures, and tours; and provide the public a restful, beautiful environment for the purpose of gaining knowledge and appreciation of the importance of plants. You will find this beautiful garden in Moscow.
Orton Botanical Garden: Expertly planted, the grounds demonstrate drought tolerant plants in a beautiful and educational way. The plants include many cacti, yuccas & Idaho native plants. Situated on the northerly fringes of the Great Basin Desert, these plants thrive and put on a stunning spring flower display. The colors are beautiful against the desert landscape. Stop, smell the cactus, and enjoy the bees and butterflies zoom around the vibrant plants. Plants are available to purchase at the garden. They are fairly priced and raised by the best of the gardeners. Another way to support the owners is by tipping. There is a box at the entrance to do so, and we highly recommend because we know how hard the Orton’s work to keep this place beautiful! This special garden is found in Twin Falls.
Garden City Pollinator Habitat: This botanical garden has a unique role. It is very important to educate adults and children about the critical role of pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, in our ecosystems and to help to ensure the survival of these critical species by identifying and improving critical pollinator habitat areas within the city. This garden teaches residents and visitors what they can do to make a difference in the health of the pollinator habitat and the environment in their own yards and dwellings, and to seek out and support the least toxic yet effective ways to deal with home and garden weed and pest problems, The goal is to be leaders in fostering and encouraging widespread collaboration for meeting these goals. “Bee City” is found in Garden City.
Japanese Friendship Garden: The pavilion and garden are in a public park that is open year-round, 24/7. A few small areas may be reserved for events like weddings. The public may stroll through nearby garden areas. The garden is on an island in the Snake River and near the Broadway Bridge. Foot bridges provide access from both sides of the river. Parking is allowed in spaces not reserved for bank business. This garden is small but peaceful and beautifully done. The pavilion and garden are ranked as #4 on the most popular things to do. The Friendship Garden is part of the Idaho Falls Greenbelt which is ranked #1 so you can visit both in Idaho Falls.
TravelKatz is looking forward to helping you and your family discover the unique botanical gardens in Idaho.
We are just a call away at 352-277-7300.
Idaho State Parks:
Idaho State Parks – Idaho is a northwestern U.S. state known for mountainous landscapes, and vast swaths of protected wilderness and outdoor recreation areas. For its unique shape, Idaho offers 23 State Parks, a State Forest and 2 State Fish Hatcheries. Some offer camping and some are worthy of a day-trip visit.
Farragut State Park: This is a 4,000-acre state park and public recreation area located at the southern tip of Lake Pend Oreille in the Coeur d’Alene Mountains of the Idaho Panhandle and is located in Kootenai County, about thirty miles northeast of Coeur d’Alene. The lakefront park boasts hiking/skiing trails, water sports, disc golf, picnic areas and campsites. The scenery is breath-taking – you are surrounded by the woods and it feels serene even with a lot of fellow beachgoers. The history of the park is unique as it is the 2nd largest naval training base during WW2 with the current Brig Museum doing a great job of showing life there 75 years ago. Bathrooms are clean and showers are hot. Visit Farragut State Park near Arthol.
Three Island Crossing State Park: A cool center, not too big, but really summarizes and explains the experiences and history behind the Oregon trail. You can really visualize this place back in the day when Salmon were so plentiful for the original inhabitants. It is a great place for camping, RV, hookups with very spacious spots, trees, and plenty of shade. This is the location where pioneers traveling along the Oregon Trail crossed the Snake River with the help of Native Americans who lived close by. Schooner wagons are displayed on the grounds. There are walking trails and campgrounds in the state park. Small children can take a ride on a small model train that drives on the gravel road. There is an interpretive center containing many artifacts and a brief video on the history of the site. Volunteers working at the center readily share information about the area. When you have to pay a $5 entry fee per car, you can use the same pass to enter multiple state parks on the same day. This park is located in Glenns Ferry.
Massacre Rocks State Park: This State Park has recreational opportunities for all ages. It includes a 42-unit campground, 8-miles of hiking and biking trails, an 18-hole Disc Golf course, boating access to the Snake River, the Historic Oregon Trail Ruts and Register Rock. The Visitor Center has resale items and much more. The park is open year-round and the Upper Loop campground with two camper cabins is available during the winter months. The lower campground is great with water and electricity in each site. The park has helpful interpretive signs throughout and good unpaved walking paths. You can fish the river, go to the visitor center, and use this as a jumping off point to Twin Falls or Shoshone Falls. Enjoy this park in American Falls.
Castle Rocks State Park: This park is great for camping at Smoky Mountain campground. Hiking in Castle Rocks State Park, hiking in City of Rocks, as well as riding mountain bikes from the campground on a fun single-track trail into the City of Rocks eastern area is an experience. This is a lovely part of Idaho! The campground is well kept and tidy, and showers are available. There were lots of pinyon & juniper trees that allow a bit of privacy from other campsites. The hike on the Castle Rocks trail Inner Loop to the high point of over 6700 feet is a wonderful experience. The rock formations are stunning, wildflowers are in full bloom and small creeks are running. A truly unique environment. This park is found near Almo.
Old Mission State Park: This is a great stop along I-90 to learn about Idaho history and to stretch your legs. It is a very simple mission church full of rich Pacific NW history and the oldest standing building in Idaho. It was actually built for the native Indians that lived in the area. The museum house is interesting to walk through. You can almost see the priests who lived there. It has a dirt walking trail with informational historical markers as well as a very small old cemetery. If you are into history at all, stop and check this place out! The info center is so nicely arranged with a couple videos of the history of the mission. You could go into the mission and see the construction of the straw and mud in building the walls. There are lots of park employees available to answer any questions you may have. This is a wonderful day park located in Cataldo.
TravelKatz are looking forward to helping you discover the Idaho state parks. A wonderful opportunity to visit the Northwest. Please give us a call at 352-277-7300 or Chat with on online, or visit us at www.travelkatz.com
Idaho Museums – Idaho is known for mountainous landscapes, and vast swaths of protected wilderness and outdoor recreation areas. The capital, Boise, is set in the Rocky Mountain foothills and is bisected by the Boise River, which is popular for rafting and fishing. The views are spectacular!
Boise Art Glass: A really unique place of gorgeous art items of various sizes and prices! You can buy some beautiful pieces and watch the artists making new ones. Inside the main entrance is both a viewing area and a glassblowing studio complete with furnaces and torch benches. You can watch a class going on at the furnace area and some artists working on designs at the bench. Further inside, is a very nice glass art store, with lots of different handblown pieces. This is the place to purchase something original to take home with you! This unusual museum is found in Boise.
Museum of Clean: This museum is very quirky, with some fun history facts. You will see a fascinating collection of things related to cleaning …. supplies, equipment, brooms, dust pans, brushes, and even art related to cleaning and some old advertisements. While touring the museum, Mr. Aslett may approached you and started showing you around. This just makes the visit so much more fun. He has such a good sense of humor. There are several floors of things to see, some of it is hands on, some is not. Before you get to meet Mr. Aslett, you’ll meet the man at the front, who is so welcoming and informative of what we would see there. The museum is well organized, and you can easily spend a couple of hours here in Pocatello.
Idaho Potato Museum: Not only can you learn the history of potato farming in the US, but about growing and harvesting and different machinery over the years – but you also see potato comic books, mashers, potato nails, advertisements, learn about McDonald’s French Fries – and always a favorite, the Mr. Potato Head displays. When you buy a souvenir it comes in a potato sack. FUN! Be sure to have a baked potato at the attached cafe! If you like a great baked Idaho potato, you will not be disappointed. Eat in Blackfoot.
Northern Pacific Depot: This train depot is actually a free museum and the original one – donations accepted. Well worth the visit, and it has plenty of parking. Its history with the city Wallace is very interesting, the Station Master is great with old and young and can provide information on this place and the history. There are delightful surprises on the 2nd level with bells to ring and things to do. Little train lovers will really enjoy this, and it gives a great perspective of the town. The whole town of Wallace is on the National register of historical places. Visit and admire the town of Wallace.
Wallace Mining Museum: Excellent tour of a silver mine by individuals who were/are miners! You’ll love being inside a mine with equipment demonstrations and a very knowledgeable guide (Marty) who answers any and all questions. You’ll learn how dangerous silver and lead mining in the area is and how it’s done. Don’t miss the eclectic collection of other artifacts in their theatre room. This museum is located in Wallace.
If the Pacific Northwest is on your travel bucket list and the state of Idaho is there, too, call Sandra or Kathryn at 352-277-7300 and we will make sure your visit there is amazing.
You can chat online at www.vacationnationradio.com.
Festivals in Idaho are full of the usual craft shows, music, and kids entertainment; but what you will find more interesting is the culture, the northwestern environment, and the differences from the festivals you will attend in New England or the east coast states. Not to say that the west is more or less patriotic, but you will find reflections of a western atmosphere, mountainous scenery; with an attitude of “we have conquered the west” and the leather goods, jewelry, sculptures, and paintings are more natural, hand-crafted and original. You will discover the continental difference and want to come back for more.
Moscow Renaissance Fair: The 46th annual Moscow Renaissance Fair will be held on May 4-5, 2019. It will host an array of juried crafters selling their hand-crafted original art and other creations in wood, glass, jewelry, leather, fiber, clothing, metal, pottery and more. Visit the kids’ village and enjoy face painting, crafts, games, puppet show, and much more. In addition, there will be parade, costume contest, live music, maypole dance, a beer and wine garden, delicious food and many more activities.
Northern Pacific Depot Day Festival: The 34th annual Depot Day Festival will be held on May 11, 2019. It’ll feature car show, live music and dancing, model train exhibit, kids’ events, mine tour, zipline and outdoor laser tag, vendor booths, food booths and much more. Hours: Sat 7am-5pm
Savor Idaho: Event will be held on June 9, 2019. Taste delicious wines, enjoy local music and fill your belly with tasty food. Hours: 2pm-5pm
Emmett Cherry Festival: The Cherry Festival will be June 12-15, 2019. The event will include a parade, pie eating contest, fun run/walk, bake off, carnival rides, rodeo, pageants, art show and competition, craft fair, quilt show, children’s parade, softball tourney, yard sale, train show, truck and tractor pull, car show, food, delicious cherries and more.
Summer Fun Family Event at Kleiner Park: The 3rd annual Summer Fun Family Event will be held on July 20, 2019. Enjoy playing life size candy land and fun scavenger hunt along with other games. There will be vendors, kids’ activities, raffle, food, and much more. Free admission. Hours: 9am-3pm
Canyon County Fair: The Canyon County Fair will be held on July 25-29, 2019. There will be live concerts, fun entertainment on multiple stages, carnival rides, animals, children’s face painting, reptile adventures, pie baking contest, livestock shows and sale, carnival, marketplace, magic show, comedy show, dance competition, food and beverages, and a lot more.
Yellow Pine Music and Harmonica Festival: The Yellow Pine Music and Harmonica festival will be held on August 1-3, 2019. This harmonica focused music festival will feature 6.5k race, walking tour of yellow pine, live musical performances, workshops, arts and crafts, vendors, demos, bingo, food and more. Kids will enjoy face painting, pet rocks and other fun activities.
Jerome County Fair: The Jerome County Fair will be held on August 6-10, 2019. It’ll include parade, rodeo, concert, pee wee show, ag show, entertainment, exhibits, vendors, food, and more.
Murtaugh Medieval Faire: The Murtaugh Medieval Faire will be held on October 4-6, 2019. It’ll feature jousting, archery, pumpkin launching, entertainment, kid’s games and quests, royalty, dance with fairies, meet a mermaid, pirates, Vikings, armored combat and much more. Hours: Fri 1pm-9:30pm; Sat 10am-9:30pm; Sun 11am-5pm
More Festivals: Trailing of the Sheep Festival. OCT 9, Eagle Harvest Fest, OCT 12; Boise Holiday Bazaar, Dec 7
PLACE OF INTEREST
Craters of the Moon National Monument
This is Preserve is a mammoth ocean of lava flows located in Central Idaho. Hike through caves and craters and experience scenery unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Explore this unique volcanic landscape by car or by foot and enjoy unique treks through remote parts of the expansive lava field. Plan to stay as the sun goes down and check out the out of this world night skies at Craters of the Moon. The area is a designated International Dark Sky Park, which means there will be no shortage of stars to observe.
Things to Know
- Two of the trails are handicapped accessible.
- Sunscreen and a brimmed hat are recommended and closed-toed shoes
- If planning to visit caves, you must pick up a free permit at the Visitor Center.
- A free Wilderness Permit is required to spend the night at Craters of the Moon.
- A permit is required for commercial filming or photography in the park.
- Pets on leashes are welcome in the campground, parking lots, and paved roads, but not inside the Visitor Center or on NPS Monument trails (except for service animals).
The Monument was established on May 2, 1924. In November 2000, a presidential proclamation by President Clinton greatly expanded the Monument area. The National Park Service portions of the expanded Monument were designated as Craters of the Moon National Preserve in August 2002.
The Monument and Preserve encompass three major lava fields and about 400 square miles of sagebrush steppe grasslands to cover a total area of 1,117 square miles. All three lava fields lie along the Great Rift of Idaho, with some of the best examples of open rift cracks in the world, including the deepest known on Earth at 800 feet. There are excellent examples of almost every variety of lava, as well as tree molds (cavities left by lava-incinerated trees), lava tubes and many other volcanic features.
A series of fissure vents, cinder cones, spatter cones, rafted blocks, and overlapping lava flows are accessible from the Loop Drive. Wildflowers, shrubs, trees, and wild animals can be seen by hiking on one of the many trails in the monument or by just pulling over into one of the turn-offs.
The Visitor Center is near the monument’s only entrance. Various displays and publications along with a short film about the geology of the area help to orient visitors. Ranger-led walks are available in summer and cover topics such as wildlife, flowers, plants, or geology. Self-guiding tours and displays are available year-round and are easily accessible from the Loop Drive
Cave Area is the final stop on Loop Drive and, as the name indicates, has a collection of lava tube caves. Formed from the Blue Dragon Flow, the caves are a half-mile from the parking lot and include Dewdrop, Boy Scout, Beauty Cave and Indian Tunnel. The caves are open to visitors, but flashlights are needed except in Indian Tunnel and some form of head protection is highly recommended. Lava tubes are created when the sides and surface of a lava flow hardens. If the fluid interior flows away a cave is left behind.
Craters of the Moon Campground has 51 sites – none of which can be reserved in advance. Camping facilities are basic but do include water, restrooms, charcoal grills, and trash containers. National Park Service rangers present evening programs at the campground amphitheater in the summer. Camping enables visitors to enjoy the park during the evening and morning, when the heat, glare and wind are far less.
This makes a perfect day trip coming from Boise, ID where you have numerous choices for your stay there. TravelKatz will make sure this vacation will be a wonderful experience for your family. Call us at 352-277-7300 to make it happen.
Idaho State Capital: Boise
Boise takes its name from the tree-lined Boise River, which was likely named in the 19th century by French Canadian fur trappers, using the French word for “wooded.” Popular legend has it that, after traveling through dusty flatlands all summer, French explorer B.L.E. Bonneville was so excited to find the river, and especially the forested area that surrounded it, that he exclaimed, “Les bois, les bois! Moyes les bois!”
Nature is a big part of Boise, Idaho. The snow-capped Rocky Mountains serve as a backdrop, the Boise River and its riverfront paths wind through the city and skiing is a short drive away. Boise’s varied museums include the Idaho History Museum, the Boise Art Museum, the Basque Museum and Cultural Center and the interactive Discovery Museum of Idaho. Unique attractions include Old Idaho Penitentiary and historic Pioneer Village. Old Boise offers shopping, dining, culture and nightlife.
Boise River Greenbelt: Enjoy nature and enjoy one of Boise’s Jewels. The greenbelt is a great place to get out and be with nature. The Boise River Greenbelt runs through several cities. The pathway follows the river through the city and ends at the Lucky Peak Reservoir Dam. Along the way, you pass through some of the most amazing parks where you can watch kayakers, eagles (on occasion), boaters, fishing, paddle boarding, wide variety of animals and people. You will pass a golf course and many restaurants. Over 20 miles of walking, biking, running or chasing kids. A great family place. The Boise River Greenbelt system consists of miles of paved and graveled paths. Two special paths are designated “bike free” zones and are safe for toddlers, strollers, wheel chairs and for those with walking assistance devices. Both paths are uneven and someone should assist those with poor balance. The Bethine Church path is on the south side of the Boise River in East Boise and the Nature Path is on the North side of the river just West of Boise, in Garden City, near the fair grounds.
World Center for Birds of Prey: If you care about this planet, wildlife, or simply want something new to do, visit the World Center for Birds of Prey. The Falconry Archives will blow your mind. Plus, if you like to be creeped out… Hermann Goering’s goshawk is in a back room! Never knew he was an austringer’til I saw that. The entire facility is great for kids of all ages, as long as the short set is under control. Sudden, loud noises, & erratic movements are not things that make raptors happy. Nor the staff. Lots to learn here from browsing around, enjoying a live exhibit, & there’s great stuff at the gift shop. A bit of a drive south of town, but worth the trip. Very impressed with the overall operation here. Many well-done exhibits with friendly and knowledgeable staff. An assortment of live birds on site to view up close. Several presentations each day provided more information and a chance to ask specific questions. If you love birds or just want an educational and fun distraction from your normal routine, this should be on your list.
Old Idaho Penitentiary: The old penitentiary is a historical wonder with its sandstone walls and turrets at the corners it takes you back a hundred years in a real western prison where the prisoners quarried sandstone blocks which can be seen in the construction of many of Boise’s grand old homes. Now on the property also is the botanical gardens. We were there for the annual “Winter Garden Aglow” which is a fabulous display of Christmas lights, fun snacks, hot cocoa and apple cider. But it doesn’t end there. Each season brings a multitude of events like outdoor concerts by noted international stars and many a wedding or garden event. There is always something to look forward to at the Old Pen and the Botanical Gardens. First and foremost, in my mind is that people should tip the tour guide. the guy we had did 90 minutes of the most entertaining, informative and interesting discussion of this prison. no one tipped him. we gave him 20$ and he was worth way more than that. The prison itself as a self-guided tour would probably have been ok. the prison with the tour was unbelievable. seriously. there were details, there were anecdotes, there were demonstrations. if your guide forgets, make sure they tell you about Dennis the cat. This is probably one of the best guided tours we’ve been on (and we’ve been on a lot of them).
Idaho Candy Company Store and Factory: Fun Candy Store where they make their own candy! The Toffee & Idaho Spud is our favorite! You can buy an entire bag of Idaho Spuds without the wrappers for $5! Quaint little store near the Grove. They have samples so you can taste the products before buying and folders telling the factory’s history and facts. A very nice vintage décor inside matches perfectly with downtown. Lots of great pictures and memorabilia to take in while chomping down the goods. People who have never been here love them and they are a fun gift. Try their huckleberry marshmallow filled chocolates for a real treat.
Boise Brew Bus: Took the bus tour on our last trip to Boise. I think there were about 7 of us total. When we got there Rich (our tour guide and driver) explained the tour and mentioned that the brews we were tasting were potent so we would probably feel the effects by the end of the night. The pubs we went to were all unique in their own way and the people we met on the bus were local horse trainers and ranchers that invited us to come watch them do their thing which was so nice. At the end of the night Rich was kind enough to drop us off a few blocks from his parking lot at our hotel so we wouldn’t need a cab. All in all, a fun night with a group of nice people. You can rent the Boise Brew Bus to take a group of friends out to the Idaho wine country for a wine tasting. This way you all get to sample and have fun. Rich was fant-freakin-tastic! and was super accommodating. He was a few minutes early to pick us up and was very patient taking us winery to winery.
Boise Art Glass: This was a pretty fun class. We were able to get hands on and blow our own glass! The instructor was helpful and willing to answer any questions we had. Took a glass bowing class with my husband. Interesting & fun. We made two beautiful pieces to take home. (Lotion/soap dispenser & bowl. The shop has some outstanding pieces made by the local craftsmen. Highly recommend both the classes & the gift shop. Thumbs up! Wow! This workshop was unbelievable, and not to be missed! Felip (owner and instructor of the Boise Art Glass studio) guided my family through all stages of the glass blowing and shaping process. His patience and care empowered us all to feel the potential and power of this art form–the blasting fire in the furnace, the fluidity of molten glass, the use of gravity to gracefully shape our pieces. A wonderful bucket list experience for all ages (we were from age 12 to 75)! All the instructors are kind and patient. Felip has a deep love for the art form and has worked with Dale Chihuly. Use the Groupon, and reserve your spot through their website. Could work as a family outing, date night, or girls/guys’ night out. Follow up with a visit/drink/meal to Barbacoa, where you can see Felip’s glass works on a larger scale.
Idaho Shakespeare Festival: Not only is the atmosphere of the theater wonderful, but the talent of the cast is as well. It’s a great night out, with friends, family or a date. This is an outdoor theater so weather is a consideration.
IDAHO VACATION PACKAGE MADE EASY
Another option for our Idaho Vacation Package is the Natural Wonder. See our selection of choice below to see if it fancies your style. Please don’t hesitate in contacting us with any questions or concerns.
IDAHO Natural Wonder: The Fire Rainbow
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