Thursday, July 31, 2008

Deer Flat Nature Trail and Visitor Center

We just got back from a hike on the Deer Flat Nature Trail. We saw lots of cool wildlife on our hike and afterwards enjoyed the visitors center. We got real hot, real fast, but we still had fun. My son kept asking "when are we going on the hike?" as he ran along the path. I think he was expecting to climb a mountain--something more like Camel's Back Park. My daughter enjoyed snapping pictures of the wildlife and the scenery. She said her favorite part was the time we spent in the visitors center.

Although this trip was really fun, it wasn't exactly what I was expecting. When I hear the words "nature trail," I imagine narrow-winding paths, pine trees, wild flowers, and green brush. Not so with this nature trail. It's mostly a walk in the desert with a lake nearby and birds overhead. Not to say that that can't be fun, but you need to be prepared for it. Make sure you go in the morning or on a cool day because there's not any shade. And of course, wear sunscreen, hats, socks and shoes, and bring plenty of water.

While we were there we had the whole place to ourselves. It was very quiet and I enjoyed the time we had to commune with nature. Even if it's not green nature, it's still very beautiful and peaceful. The hike is a half mile and takes the average person about 30 minutes. It took us more like an hour because we stopped and got a lot of drinks.

Although I like to think of myself as an expert on Idaho, I somehow always end up getting lost in Nampa and Caldwell. (Is it just me?) But not this time. The directions given on the website were easy to follow and it was a lot easier to find than I thought it would be. It's just about 8 miles off the freeway. Go to the Deer Flat link for directions and more info.

We will do this again sometime. ***Four out of four stars.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Another Fun Thing

Thanks to Cathy for telling me about Starlight Mountain Theatre.  It looks like a lot of fun.  

Zoo Boise

Our plan for today was Zoo Boise. I can't count how many times I've been to this zoo, but I can tell you that we always have a good time. I take that back. I just remembered one exception and I'll mention it because you'll want to know this. About three years ago, my daughter and I went on a highly anticipated trip to the zoo, only to find every daycare, preschool, and kindergarten class there too. Since then we haven't gone to the zoo during the month of May. I would suggest staying away unless you love crowds of little people.

Zoo Boise is very kid friendly. Besides seeing fun animals, you can slide down a giraffe's neck, dig for "fossils" out of the sandbox, climb on the back of a gorilla, and pop up next to a prairie dog. But best of all, at least for my kids, is the carousel. Bring some one dollar bills and look for it by the pond.

One thing to note is that our zoo here in Boise really great, but not what you might find in bigger cities. So if you're expecting a gigantic zoo with exotic animals, you will come away disappointed. But that's not to say that it is not great.

We like to go for an hour or two, look at the animals, slide on the giraffe slide, and get a popsicle. You don't have to pay a lot of money, or fight big crowds, and that's why we like it. It's really laid back and oriented to your children. My favorite animals are the meerkats and the penguins.

Next time we go, we plan to walk through the rose gardens at Julia Davis park afterwards. It's beautiful and free.

Also, check out my link to the zoo's website for special events like Boo at the Zoo. During the fall and winter they have half price Thursdays.

****Four out of four stars.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Camel's Back Park

Today we ventured to Camel's Back Park in the North End. My kids had never been there before and everybody had a fun time. The thing that makes this park so unique is the huge foothill that's accessible to climb. It's an easy hike to the top. It took us about fifteen minutes to get to the top. There's the option to go straight up or zigzag to the top. We took the zigzag up and the zigzag down. I carried the baby in my arms along with everyone's water bottles. My son took the lead and beat us all to the top. When we were finished, and resting at the bottom, he said, "Let's climb the mountain again."

Besides the "mountain" there's also a playground, a large grassy area, and lots of shade. Nearby is Hyde Park. Next time we go to this park we plan to walk through Hyde Park afterward and get a snow cone.

I would recommend wearing shoes and socks for the hike and bring a water bottle and maybe a camera. To find this park and others, click on my link to Boise City Parks.

Four out of four stars.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Roaring Springs Waterpark

Today's adventure was Roaring Springs Waterpark.

It's a great place for the whole family. There's a kiddie area, a wave pool, a lazy river, and fun slides for kids and adults. The wave pool is our family's favorite.

Hurray! After waiting three summers, my daughter is finally tall enough to ride Viper's Vortex, ie the toilet bowl ride. There's nothing like getting flushed down the drain.

Things to know before going to Roaring Springs--they are going to check your bag and throw away any and all snacks that you bring in. Many people leave lunches in coolers in their cars and go out and eat and come back in. Or they bring lots of money since the food is really pricey. Also, you can access Boondocks from RS so bring more $ and clothes to change. Also, try to get there right when they open at 11 am so you can put your bags down in a "good spot." They also have discount days and weekend events so check their website for more info.

Although Roaring Springs is really, really fun, it gets three out of four stars for bag searches and pricey foods.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Our First PLANNED Outing

Guerber Park

So after 6 weeks of summer, I think I finally have a plan. We can no longer sleep in, have a slow breakfast, do our chores, wait for the baby to wake from her morning nap, and then go somewhere or do something. What happens afterwards is complete chaos.

Usually by the time we're in the car at 1:00 with sunscreen and stroller in tow, my toddler has a meltdown because he's tired and needs a nap. My sweet little boy has turned into a monster. I make excuses for him when it really is my fault. I shouldn't be dragging him somewhere "fun" when he should be in bed asleep.

So why not just stay home, inside, where it's cool? Yeah, I'd like to know that too. i guess it's the argument from the eight year old who insists that we "can't just stay home all day." Sooner or later we end up venturing out of the house with our fingers crossed. But things rarely go well and I'm ultimately frustrated by the situation.

So after weeks of this, I decided to get my butt in gear and try and get out of the house by 10 am. Last night I made my first plan. The Reel Theatre was showing Horton Hears a Who for a dollar at 10 am. So this morning I got up before the kids, showered, and then headed to the computer where I was met by my daughter who informed me that Horton Hears a Who is a "baby" movie. So much for that. So now I had to figure out plan B. With my daughter's help, we decided to go to McDonald's for breakfast and then try a new park. I looked up the park's address and then typed it into Yahoo maps. It'd looked easy enough to find.

You'd think after living here for 32 years I would know where I'm going. I guess it helps when you put the right city into Yahoo maps. We drove to 2200 Hill Rd in Boise but found a house that looked nothing like a park. After realizing my error, we drove the 10 miles down Hill Rd to the city of Eagle (which in the past never
connected to Eagle, but now does, thanks to the "Hill Rd Parkway"--when was that constructed?) where we found the correct 2200 Hill Rd. I felt like a Rookie. (Ahh. I don't like that feeling. I'm supposed to be the expert on this town.

We were glad we stuck with it. Guerber Park is really cool. It's a lot like Settler's Park and Merrill's Park, but a lot less crowded. There's picnic tables with covered shelters, great bathrooms, pop up fountains, water buckets, swings, and wheelchair accessible playgrounds, and fake rocks to climb. My kids loved the playground and the fountains. We had a great time and even made some new friends.

We give it four out of four stars.

Things I need to bring--DVD for the car ride, hat for the baby, sunscreen, swimsuits, towels, plastic cups for fountains, picnic blanket, stroller, water bottles, and snacks.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Life's Too Short to Be Bored

I created this blog as a resource to help myself and my family to.... very simply..... not get bored in Idaho.  As an Idaho native, I love this great state, and I know there is a lot to do here.  But when I wake up in the morning and my kids ask me, "Mom, what are we doing today?" I am suddenly at a loss of words.  I don't know.  What is there to do?  I'm sure there is something we can do today, but for some reason, I have no idea what it is.  

Thinking of what to do with my kids has been a challenge, especially this summer.  So I've to created a place where the ideas and links to possible destinations are at my finger tips.  I've also added short summaries of our experience and rated the destination so we can remember if it's somewhere we'd like to come back again or not.

So here it is in one place--a bunch of links to great destinations in and around Idaho with travel summary and star rating.  

Hope this is helpful for you.  Please feel free to email me and give me suggestions of more events, places to go, or things to do in and around Idaho.  Life is too short to get bored.