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5 of the Best Nature Areas in Boise (2024)

Written by Holly Horch, All Weather Adventuring


We know local families love heading outside for hikes, park days and all sorts of adventures in nature. Boise has so much to offer when it comes to outdoor adventures and we want to help families find all the best places to explore so we've put together this fun roundup of some of the amazing nature play areas to take kids to that are near Boise. We believe nature is one of the best playgrounds and have seen firsthand how entertained our kids are at these fun locations!


Big wooden cutout of three orange and brown owls with two kids in the head holes.


Highlights:

-️paved walking path, making it stroller and wagon friendly

-educational plaques 

-️a giant man-made bird nest the kids can play in

-️fish-viewing windows

-grounds open daily

-indoor center (with stuffed animals and more educational plaques) open Tuesday-Friday 10am-3pm. FREE admission (they do have a donation box which we highly recommend donating to keep the center open and operating smoothly)!


TIP: Make it a quick outing by going for a short nature walk or do that and then also pop over to the nearby Kristin Armstrong Park playground and/or for a walk along the Boise River greenbelt!


Tree fort made of branches.

️Jim Hall Foothills Learning Center


Highlights:

-story trail 

-wooden swing

-rocks to climb and play on

-tree fort

-wooden stumps to play and balance on

-sand play area

-small plaques in the garden, teaching about the different kind of plants

-educational signs about the foothills

-hiking trails galore!

-lots of open green space

-Outdoor preschool: Learn more here!


TIP: No dogs are allowed in this area but they are okay to be on the nearby trails.


Sky with clouds over small pond surrounded by green plants and yellow grass.


Highlights:

-gravel/dirt trails (somewhat stroller friendly, but probably better to have littles in child carriers)

-multiple ponds

-view of the foothills and Bogus Basin 

-educational plaques

-great place for bird watching 

-we've seen frogs and turtles here as well!


TIP: There are two parking lots - one off of McMillan and the other close to Chinden on Maple Grove. There is a year round bathroom facility at the parking lot close to Chinden.


Three kids on a dirt trail with Fall colored trees.


Highlights:

-this Ada County park is also the location of the Ada County Parks & Waterways Department headquarters

-runs along the Boise River about 5 miles southeast of downtown Boise

-a haven for over 120 species of birds and other animals like deer, beavers, raccoons and more!

-green spaces

-protected forestry and marshland

-walking trails (stroller-friendly)

-picnic tables

-event center


TIP: There is a play structure and basketball court here that are located at the west end of the park. It’s a little hidden so look at one of the posted maps (#10 on the map) to know where to go! The play structure has a unique treehouse design/feel and it has some high sections better suited for older kids and interactive features down below for younger kids. 


Three kids on a rock beach throwing rocks with blue sky in the background.

Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge️


Highlights:

-located at Lake Lowell in Nampa

-trails to explore (some paved, some dirt)

-paved paths have animal prints on them which is a fun addition!

-access to Lake Lowell

-bird-watching house with little windows to open and informational signs about the different kinds of birds in the area

-land and trails open daily during daylight hours

-Visitor Center is open Monday-Friday 8am-4pm and Saturday 10am-4pm


TIP: Dogs are allowed on a leash.


Which Boise nature area will you head to first? Don't forget to stay off muddy trails and as with all outdoor adventures, LEAVE NO TRACE!


And if you need some extra motivation or fun ideas for getting outside with your kids, check out my business All Weather Adventuring! I have created seasonal adventure kits and an Adventure Scratch-off Book which is full of great ideas for getting outside year round!


Thanks for your support!

-Holly


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