Written by Jacque Felt, author of Levi and Elena’s Guide to Boise City Playgrounds
Here’s a little roundup of some of the best toddler-friendly parks in the Treasure Valley! You're gonna wanna bookmark this one and share it with your parent friends!
We have so many amazing parks here in the Valley; making a short list was hard. We’ve narrowed it down to a few that have toddler specific play structures and either 1) provide wonderful opportunities for imaginative play, 2) have neat water features, or 3) are just all-around great choices.
Best for Imaginative Play
Peppermint Park, Settlers Park, and Phillippi Park (Stewart Gulch Park - honorable mention)
Address: 2030 S. Sumpter Way, Boise (south of the freeway, near Overland and Columbia)
Why it’s great: Peppermint has a separate, smaller play structure specifically for kids ages 2-5, with a dinosaur theme and a climbable dinosaur skull and spine, as well as a school bus spring rider that toddlers just LOVE “driving” for hours on end. There are also swings, an art installation, and a play structure for older kids.
Address: 3245 N Meridian Rd, Meridian, ID 83646 (northwest Meridian, corner of Meridian and Ustick)
Why it’s great: Settler’s also has a smaller play structure designated for kids age 2-5, this time with a castle theme! Perfect for little princes, princesses, and knights. There’s also a play structure for older kids that is manageable for the littles due to the use of lots of ramps. Additionally you’ll find swings (including a mama/baby swing), spring riders, a music garden, and a great splash pad that has lots of tamer, in-ground fountains, and no huge knock-you-over dumping buckets.
Address: 2299 S Phillippi St, Boise, ID 83705 (Central Bench, near Orchard and the freeway)
Why it’s great: The play structure isn’t specifically designed for younger kids, although there are some lower sections, but there is the sweetest little playhouse that toddlers will enjoy, as well as an accessible merry-go-round and swings (including a mama/baby swing). The shade is also great!
Stewart Gulch Park (honorable mention)
Address: 5070 N Eyrie Way, Boise, ID 83703 (north Boise, above Hillside to Hollow Reserve)
Why it’s great: Overall this park is small, but just so cute! There are a ton of great, climbable features here that encourage all kinds of imaginative play, including a log tunnel, log stairs and steps, and rocks. The play structure is smaller and perfect for little ones. There are also swings and a teeter-totter. (Warning: there is very little shade and it can get hot, so probably best to visit in the morning or late evening).
Best with Water Features
Discovery Park, Steven C. Guerber Park, Comba Park
Address: 2121 E Lake Hazel Rd, Meridian, ID 83642 (south Meridian, near Lake Hazel and Locust Grove)
Why it’s great: Not only does this playground have a splash-pad that is smaller and tamer (featuring the cutest bear fountain), it also has a sand and water play area with concrete channels and water pumps nestled in the sand! Be prepared to get wet, even if you just stay in the sand area. Bring your sand toys, although there are usually plenty left behind for anyone to use. There is also a playground with roller slides, ziplines, and a second, smaller play structure specifically for ages 2-5.
Address: 2200 Hill Rd, Eagle, ID 83616 (Eagle, off of Hill Rd near Hwy 55)
Why it’s great: The north side of this very large splash pad features an amazing river feature with plenty of water-wheels, water-gates, and channels to keep toddlers puttering away for hours. Bring something that floats, so you can experiment with sending it down the channels! There is also a playground with winding play structures for both older and younger kids.
Address: 2995 N Five Mile Rd, Boise, ID 83704 (west Boise, near Ustick and Five Mile)
Why it’s great: This is a smaller splash-pad that is less popular due to the size, and thus a little quieter and less crowded, which makes it great for toddlers. There is also a small playground with teeter-totter and spinning toys, plus a cute walkway around a community garden with signs explaining the pollinators and gardens.
Best All-Around for Set-up
Pioneer Tot Lot, Williams Park, and Julia Davis Park (Willow Lane Park - honorable mention)
Address: 1139 W Grand Ave, Boise, ID 83702 (downtown Boise, between River St and Myrtle)
Why it’s great: This is a small park that consists of just the playground, which is completely fenced and has amazing shade! There is a separate play structure for ages 2-5 and multiple spring riders. The second play structure, while meant for kids age 5-12, is not incredibly high or large, so might be accessible for your more adventurous toddlers. (There are no bathrooms, so plan ahead there).
Address: 201 W Williams St, Boise, ID 83706 (east Boise, between Boise Ave and Park Center)
Why it’s great: There is a separate play structure for younger kids and it is one of the largest we’ve seen in the Valley! It has two fun climbing ramps and the shade is amazing.
Address: 700 S Capitol Blvd, Boise, ID 83702 (downtown Boise, off Capitol between the Boise River and Myrtle St)
Why it’s great: Who doesn’t love Boise’s oldest city park? Not only is Julia Davis right next to the Zoo Boise and the Greenbelt, it has a play structure that is a great fit for younger kids, plus swings. There is a fence around most of the playground, which helps keep runners and wanderers safe. (Warning: the squirrels here can get super bold due to having been fed too many times - they’ve even been known to crawl up people to grab a snack, so be careful with those goldfish!)
Willow Lane Park (honorable mention)
Address: 4623 Willow Ln, Boise, ID 83703
Why it’s great: The play structure includes fun climbers, a play kitchen, and lots of spinning features. The shade is great. There is no fencing, but the playground is in a quiet corner of the park and off of a neighborhood street with very little traffic.
So there you have it! Want to know more about some of the playgrounds available in the area, and which might be the best fit for your family? Check out Levi and Elena’s Guide to Boise City Playgrounds, which features all 52 Boise City playgrounds, with pictures, descriptions, equipment summaries, ratings, the lowdown from the mom perspective, and maps. There’s even an index where you can search for the best shade, water features, bathrooms, or whatever equipment your kid loves most. Want more than just Boise? Look for the Meridian/Eagle Guidebook next summer, and the Nampa/Caldwell Guidebook in 2024. Or join our Treasure Valley Playgrounds Facebook group, where parents across the Valley can share their own playground reviews or ask questions!
Do you agree with our list or do you have other parks that your toddlers and preschoolers like better? Let us know in the comments!