Boise, ID: Great Family Fun & Educational Too!

I’m blogging at 6 am, quite unheard of for me, but I woke at 4 to watch Grady and Brody compete at the 3rd and final Freestyle (kayaking) World Cup in Sort, Spain.  And, then I started freaking out about things like are the kids brushing their teeth enough and why do I have dull kidney pain?  Could this be cancer?   LOL, I was keeping Dan awake with all my anxiety laden musings and so here I am.

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And where is “here”?  Well, we are in Boise, ID actually boondocking in the Idaho River Sports parking lot.  Yes, with permission. In fact, by invitation. Why would you ask … OK, yeah, I would ask us to.

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Stan and all the guys and gals at Idaho River Sports are really super cool, helpful, knowlegeable and so eager to get people on the river having fun.  They rent every type of river craft from SUP’s (they have an entire fleet of Glide Boards at your disposal) to kayaks and they are conveniently located on Quinn’s Pond which appears to be the HOT spot to go to SUP, kayak, raft, swim, jump off rocks, rope swing, party, Play King of the SUP, snorkel, fish, hang out, sun, wear your kids out before bedtime and to just have a really great time.  I can vouch for it’s fun component!!  And it’s hopping all day long.  In fact, people start arriving around 9 am and don’t leave until well after 10, which explains why Idaho River Sports is open until 9 pm!!   It’s the IN place here in Boise, for sure!  I even ran into a friend here at Quinn’s!!

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Now it also happens that Quinn’s Pond is right next to the Boise Whitewater Park!  SCORE!  We were shocked by how popular the WW Park even was.  All three days it was packed full of both surfers and kayakers, all sharing the feature, cheering each other on and having a really awesome time.  River people are so freakin cool!!

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The feature is actually a wave shaper so the powers that be can control the wave depending on water levels and even the days of the week.  And because demand is so high for both surfers and kayakers, the city alternates days gearing the feature to prefer one or the other.  The schedule, as explained to us is Mon, Wed, Fri are surf days and Tues, Thurs are kayak days.  Of course, you are welcome all days of the week, but just so you know the feature is at it’s best for your sport of choice on those particular days.

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And lest you think Boise is only about water and watersports, we did venture out to do a few things on dryland, all of which were free, btw!  Just Google Boise with kids and you’ll pull up places like the Greenbelt, the Fountain in the Grove, & Kathryn Albertson Park, where bike trails and acres and acres of nature await.  The shade from the huge trees is very welcoming on a hot hot day in July.  (Do you listen to Raffi?)  🙂  And oh yes, that is a river.

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We did, however, visit the Old Idaho Penitentiary.  When we were home I had a slight addiction to the show Locked UP and so I’m slightly fascinated with all things Prison related.  How people live, how they cope, what they must deal with … it’s a real life human interest story.  We were able to walk into the actual cell house and see actual graffiti written on the walls of the cell by real life inmates.  We were able to feel the emptiness and the despair that lingered in the air.    I was slightly unnerved as we walked into the Maximum Security cell house and walked upstairs to where both the Gallows and Death Row were.  Dan pointed out the calendar on the wall of a cell that clearly marked the countdown to an inmates execution.  I hate the death penalty, I hate abortion, I value all life, the innocent and the non-innocent.  It saddens me to think of a countdown, to think of a last meal, the goodbyes, the fear, but most of all the absence of hope.

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It’s amazing what a walk through an old prison will do for a bunch of juvenile delinquents like my crew!!  LOL, of course I’m kidding, but they were really really interested in the life of the inmates and how they could stand to bunk with 4 to a cell when the cells were no larger than our RV bedroom!  Kenny, Dally and Kady were extremely affected by the stories and pictures of the people who were executed.  I gather it had quite an impact, on par with the impact a report on Sacco and Vanzetti had on me in the 3rd grade.  It framed my stance on Capital Punishment for sure.

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You can find more information about the Old Idaho Penitentiary here:  http://history.idaho.gov/old-idaho-penitentiary

At the Pen you’ll also find the J. Curtis Earl Memorial Exhibit.  What the heck is the J. Curtis Earl Memorial Exhibit you ask?  Only the nation’s largest collection of historic arms and military memorabilia.   Maddy and I walked through a World War I trench exhibit detailing the incredibly hard times our soldiers had on the front lines, often not being relieved for weeks on end!  It is important that the next generation understand the difficulties soldiers faced during that conflict, less they take the pain and suffering and loss of life for granted.

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The collection includes ancient Luristan bronzes, medieval arms and armor, Revolutionary War firearms and swords, Civil War artifacts, and an 1883 Gatling gun on its original carriage. Pistols, rifles, machine guns, mortars, and cannons from many of the countries involved in World Wars I and II are also featured.  This was a really great educational mini WWI & WWII museum of sorts.

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I’m really floored at how much there is to do here in Boise!  Free, fun, things for families and kids of all ages are not the easiest to find in most cities, but it’s in abundance here in Boise. We were only here for 3 days, one of which was spent at Costco and a car parts store … our break lights on our RV were out due to some wiring short.  That’s a long story in and of itself, so I’ll spare you, but I think you could spend a few weeks here in Boise and not get bored.  Shoot, a few weeks here at Quinn’s and the WW Park would keep even the hardest to entertain having fun!!

And don’t miss out on the video!  It’s fun!!!!

7 Comments

    • As always, loved meeting up with you guys!! Would have stayed much longer but we had a date with a Capoeira stud!!! 🙂

  • Loved your take on our city. Props for mentioning the J. Curtis Earl Memorial Exhibit–so often overlooked and vastly underappreciated IMO.

    • We only had 2 days, next time we’ll do sooo much more, including the waterpark and the Fountain and the in-town hike!! 🙂 Grrreat city and the J Curtis Memorial Exhibit was top notch, the kids learned a TON about Tranch life and WWII!!!!

  • I’m so glad you had a great time here in our wonderful state. I’ve lived other places, but, manage to come back, because I love it here so much. And, yes, I’m a native Idahoan. Thank you for you kind words about Boise and how much there is to offer. Too bad it’s not football season, because then Boise would really be hopping. Thanks again for visiting!!!

  • Wow looks like you guys are having fun. I wish I could go there. It makes me laugh to look at the kids in the jail cell.

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