25 Spring Break Activities in the Boise Area

Mothers of the Treasure Valley, Spring Break is upon us. Maybe you have a vacation planned or maybe you’ve signed your kids up for some fabulous camps (check out our list if you are still looking for those). Maybe you are sticking around and looking for ways to keep your kids busy and off of the screens. Here’s a list of fun things to do at home or out and about the Boise area.


1. The Idaho State Museum

My kids love this museum in Julia Davis Park. With rotating exhibits, cool artifacts, and historical homes to explore, it can bring the things you and your kids learned about in fourth-grade Idaho history to life. Or, if you are a transplant like me, it can give you a better grounding in the state we love to live in. And as an added bonus, it boasts a taxidermied two-headed calf known as Deja-Moo. Needless to say, that is my boys’ favorite part.

2. Old Idaho Penitentiary

For the true crime enthusiasts and curious among us, this is a great museum experience. My favorite events at the Old Pen are for Valentine’s Day, but it is a great afternoon outing with the kids too. Take their picture behind bars, learn about Dennis the Cat, and explore the historical weaponry exhibit.

25 Spring Break Activities in the Boise Area3. The Boise Depot

You’ve seen it up the hill on Capitol Blvd in Boise and maybe you have taken family pictures there or attended a wedding reception, but the Depot is one of my kids’ favorite places to visit. And it’s completely free! It is open for tours and elevator rides to the top of the bell tower on most Sundays and Mondays. Railroad artifacts are on display in the beautifully restored building. Don’t forget to check out the gorgeous beams.

I pack a picnic and a bag of frozen peas. After we explore inside, we go to the side of the building and visit Big Mike. The educational materials and videos are super interesting, especially if you have a train enthusiast. After that, we climb the rocks and feed the bag of now mushy peas to the koi fish in the garden pond. Then we picnic in the grass on a blanket.

**Of course the children’s museum and the Discovery Center are a lot of fun too, but they will be really busy with camps and kids out of school so I left them off the list.**

Library Fun

Check out the events calendars for the Meridian Library District and Boise Public Library for all the wonderful story times and activities happening over Spring Break, but here are a few highlights.

4. Improv Games

Do you have a class clown who loves the spotlight or has been bitten by the acting bug? The Bown Crossing branch is hosting an Improv Games class one morning of Spring Break for kids ages six to eleven.

5. Art Lab

The main branch of the Boise library is hosting an art lab of open-ended art projects for kids ages six to eleven. Some of our favorite art projects have been at the library.

6. PJ Storytime

Multiple branches of both the Meridian and Boise library systems have PJ storytime throughout the year. I usually find it challenging to make it on a school night. But in the summer and on Spring Break, its easier because things are a little slower and bedtime can be more flexible.

7. Cardboard Forts

The Library at Collister is hosting a Cardboard Forts activity for kids ages six to eleven. This could lead to some screen-free fun at home afterward! They can build a fort and maybe even keep it up for a few days. Don’t pretend you don’t have a pile of Amazon boxes in the garage. Or, if you really do have your life together and need some boxes, you can always go to Lowes or Home Depot and see if they have any appliance boxes they can give you.

» » »  RECOMMENDED RESOURCE: Family-Friendly Events in Boise in March  « « «

Giving Back

Spring Break is a great time to remind our kids of how fortunate we are. We can spring clean and donate winter clothes that don’t fit. We can help our community in clean-up projects. Let’s use our time to raise good citizens. Here are a few ideas.

8. Justserve.org

Justserve.org is a great place to find opportunities to give back. You can search by interest, ability, and location. You can also search for projects that are suitable for all ages. A quick search while researching this article helped me find several ongoing and current projects that could use help from even little children. Some of these projects can also be done at home and dropped off.

9. Visit a Retirement Community

Many people in retirement communities or physical rehab facilities love to see kids. You can call ahead to the place you pass every day near your house and see if your kids can come play their musical instruments or play Uno with some senior citizens. It makes a huge difference.

10. Compile Hygiene Kits

Help out refugees around the world and teach your kids about their basic needs. Take your kids shopping for the items or collect them quietly at the dollar store or Target childfree. You do you. Even the smallest helpers can fill the Ziploc bags with the items. Take the kids with you to drop them off and then talk about how helping others makes them feel.

Creature Capers

11. Zoo Boise

One of my favorite places in Boise is the zoo. It is the perfect size for little kids, and we love to pack a lunch and stay for several hours. My kids also love to take two-dollar bills and pay for themselves to ride the carousel. It might be a little busy with camps over Spring Break, but it is worth it.

12. Idaho Reptile Zoo

This place was amazing and worth every penny. My kids loved feeding and petting some of the animals. It is highly interactive and educational. Everyone who worked or volunteered there had great answers and a lot of patience for the many questions my kids asked. They have been several times with different groups and have always enjoyed it.

13. The World Center for Birds of Prey

Just outside of Boise is a world-renowned center dedicated to the conservation of birds of prey and their ecosystems. With live bird demonstrations and plenty of exhibits and birds to see, your kids will be thrilled and excited to learn more.

14. Visit a Pet Store

If you have babies and small toddlers, sometimes they just need to get out of the house (or you do) and the pet shop is perfect for their attention span. I used to take my kids on trips to the pet store to see all the fish, hamsters, birds, reptiles, and cats. They also love to peek in the window at the dogs getting their hair cut. Baby steps mama, you can do this.


15. Greenbelt

If you have been in Boise for even the shortest time, you have heard about or been on the Boise River Greenbelt. It is an iconic and integral part of Boise. Spend some time walking or biking the Greenbelt this Spring Break. Visit your favorite parts or explore somewhere you haven’t been before. Play I-spy with your kids as you walk or use one of the nature scavenger hunts linked below.

25 Spring Break Activities in the Boise Area16. Jump Creek

Feel like taking a drive out of town? Turn on your kids’ favorite music and rock out in the car or listen to a new audio book together. Jump Creek Falls is only about an hour outside of Boise, and it is a half-mile round-trip hike with a big pay-off. Pack a lunch and some water and make a day of it.

17. Shoofly Oolite

This is on my list for Spring Break this year. Oolites are also known as “egg rocks,” and this is one of the largest freshwater deposits of oolites in the world. You can see interesting rock formations and even take a few oolites home. A baggie is suggested. There are many amazing geological sites to see in our beautiful state, but this one is just about an hour outside of Boise.

18. Camel’s Back Trails

Camel’s Back Park has a variety of trails that are suitable for kids and perfect for beginner hikers. I recommend you start at the steep sandy hill. Running or sliding down it is a Boise kid’s right of passage. There is also a fun play area in the park. Sand will get in their shoes and diapers, but it is worth a trip to the car wash vacuums. Plus, if your kids are anything like mine, they LOVE to go through the car wash. Two activities in one!

» » »  RECOMMENDED RESOURCE: Family-Friendly Hot Springs Near Boise  « « «

Sweet Treats

19. Cravin’s Candy Emporium

With a location in Boise and one in Meridian, Cravin’s is bound to be near at least one thing you are doing over Spring Break. With nostalgic candies, over a dozen gelato flavors, and hand-crafted chocolates, there is something for everyone. Take grandparents along to show the kids their favorite candies from their childhood. Make some sweet memories and have dessert before dinner. Maybe even watch a Willy Wonka movie while you eat your treats.

20. Duck Donuts

My kids love to make choices about their food and feel like they are in charge. Duck Donuts in Meridian is a fun way to let them do that. Custom donuts are made to order right in front of you. They are warm and delicious. Check the hours before going though because they are significantly shorter on some week days.

21. Goody’s Soda Fountain and Candy Store

You caught me, I’m a vintage girl. You can’t talk about special treats in Boise and not mention Goody’s. They have been a part of Hyde Park for nearly 30 years, and their motto is, “Only too much is enough!” What more can I say? Enjoy the old-fashioned ice cream parlor feel. Grab a cone and stroll around Hyde Park enjoying the historic homes and beautiful trees.

Scavenger Hunts

22. Nature Scavenger Hunts

While you are out enjoying nature in true Boise fashion, why not have a scavenger hunt to keep the kids busy? We did this a lot during our daily walks during the pandemic lockdowns. Pinterest is full of free printables with illustrations for little kids. I even made my own and stuck them on a clipboard. My oldest was in charge of reading, and my middle child was in charge of checking off with a crayon. The baby was just there to look cute and get some sunshine. With nature putting on her springtime show, it is a great time to look around outside.

23. Idaho Capitol Building

Did you know that there is a children’s exhibit in the basement of the Idaho Capitol Building? Kids can learn about the legislative branch and Idaho history. They even have an exhibit on voting and your kids can cast a ballot. The election subject changes regularly and covers things like ice cream flavors and books. In addition, the link above will send you to the Idaho Capitol Scavenger Hunt. It is fun and educational.

25 Spring Break Activities in the Boise AreaHome Sweet Home

I hope that some of the activities above will inspire your kids in their play at home as well. Cardboard box forts, playing pioneers, looking for nature in the backyard, starting a rock collection, and getting books from the library. Here are just a couple of ideas for when your brain is fried.

24. Bob Ross Day

This has become a family tradition. Every time there is a longer break from school we set up a laptop on the kitchen table and pull up a Bob Ross episode to follow. We pause a lot, and we use age-appropriate paints, but the kids love it. Art shirts and paper plates or palettes are a must. I use canvas boards from the dollar store and acrylic or washable paints depending on the child’s age. We use frames from the thrift store and hang their artwork in their rooms or in the play room. They are so proud of themselves and feel so good creating.

25. Get Your Geek On

A quick Google search or a book from the library will turn any mom into a mad scientist with experiments that can be done with household items. Still intimidated? Order a science kit. Devote an afternoon to science experiments and inspire our next generation of STEM stars.

The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Boise Mom, its executive team, other contributors to the site, its sponsors or partners, or any organizations the aforementioned might be affiliated with.

Mel Swenson
Mel is a stay-at-home mom to two boys (2013, 2016) and one girl (2019). She loves all things vintage--movies, music, clothes, art, furniture. Her hobbies include thrift shopping, reading, writing, cooking, decorating for every holiday, British television, and art. She loves to do crafts and science projects with her kids and go on "food adventures" with her husband. She is a proud BYU grad and former rugby player. Go Cougs! Volunteer work, infertility, pregnancy loss, dyslexia, and ADHD are some of the issues and causes close to her heart. And, fair warning, any conversation with her will include a quote from "The Office" or "The West Wing," a Taylor Swift lyric, and/or an obscure Brit Lit reference.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here