When I've asked around for great outdoor activities or spots to take our family adventuring outside in the City of Boise, the MK Nature Center always gets recommended. We finally got over there this week to check it out and I'm so glad we did! It is one of the best places to go in the Boise area for a little family trip!
We live in West Boise so we don't get over to the Nature Center area all that often. It's located next door to/beside the Idaho Fish and Game Headquarters, right up against the Boise River Greenbelt and Boise River, and next to Kristin Armstrong Park.
We got there right when the Center opened at 10:00AM and were basically the only ones there. The Center is open Tuesdays-Fridays from 10-3 but the grounds themselves are open daily. We got a great map and quick introduction from the Center employee and we were off to explore. The Center is packed with all kinds of really cool Idaho animal and landscape exhibits. We had a great time getting up close and personal with all the Idaho items on display in their natural habitats. They're sure to be interesting for the entire family.
Once we got outside the kids were off and running! All of the pathways were easy to navigate, even in the slightly muddy conditions. I had my stroller with us (even though nobody ever wanted to sit in it of course) and it was easy to get it around.
Everything was well laid out and easy for kids to access and experience. We loved climbing on the sides of the bridge and checking out the marine life below, the big huge bird's nest and all of the cool viewing windows. I can't wait to go back in the warmer months to get a glimpse of a few more animals (my friend said last time they were there they saw some deer!) and the garden area blooming (I hear it's really beautiful and full of butterflies!). We explored the loop for probably 30 minutes or so then went through the garden loop and out into Kristin Armstrong Park to play on the playground. It really is one of the best places for a perfect morning adventure for children of all ages and abilities!
There are some great downloads, activities and information on the Nature Center's Website so check it out before you go! We printed this fun downloadable picture scavenger hunt for our little kids to use as we explored. There are also scavenger hunts available for kids in 2nd grade through high school and a neat "30 Things to Do and Discover" brochure.
MK Nature Center Details:
Address: 600 South Walnut, Boise, Idaho 83712 (The MKNC is located between Municipal Park and the Boise Greenbelt. The Center is not super obvious from the road - it is behind/beside the Fish and Game Headquarters building on Walnut Street. Google Maps should take you right there without any problems.)
Hours: The Visitor Center is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m to 3 p.m. but the grounds remain open every day, from dawn to dusk.
Rates: FREE (suggested donation is "2 bucks" - see the picture below)