The holiday season means kids are out of school, family and friends are stopping by for holiday visits, and in some cases, some out of town company is likely hanging out at your house. Give yourself a break from the holiday hustle and check out a few of these Idaho adventures to keep your time together merry and bright.

Play Time at the Discovery Center of Idaho in Boise

little girl playing with science exhibit
Play like a kid. Photo Credit: Discovery Center of Idaho.

Beat “cabin fever” over the holiday break with a visit to the Discovery Center of Idaho. The interactive science center is perfect for kids and adults alike, with dozens of hands-on exhibits. This season, put science to the test with a day playing at Mythbusters: The Explosive Exhibition, with hands-on experiments covering topics such as flight, friction, gravity, speed, and combustion.

Food Tour Fun in Downtown Boise

group of people raising glasses.
Cheers to an Indulge Boise food tour. Photo Credit: Indulge Boise/Guy Hand.

If you’re tired of cooking up a storm this holiday season, treat yourself and your holiday visitors to a food tour in downtown Boise. Indulge Boise offers three different types of food and walking tours. We’re talking happy hours, brunch experiences, or sip and sample your way through a history and cultural tour. Either way, you don’t have to cook.

A Bird’s Eye View at the World Center for Birds of Prey in Boise

World Center for Birds of Prey
American Kestrel at World Center for Birds of Prey. Photo Credit: Idaho Tourism.

Grab the whole gang and head out to the World Center for Birds of Prey. This one-of-a-kind indoor/outdoor education center allows you to meet eagles, owls, vultures, hawks, and falcons from around the world. Check out the live raptor presentations to see these amazing creatures up close or take a short stroll over to Condor Cliffs for an unobstructed view of magnificent California Condors, one of the world’s most endangered birds.

Feed Elk on a Sleigh Ride in Donnelly

Elk feeding sleigh ride.

This unique sleigh ride will get you up close and personal with Idaho’s winter wildlife. Travel along the beautiful Gold Fork River while riding on a horse-drawn sleigh. Elk come right up to the sleigh to nibble on the bales of hay, so prepare to make new friends. Be sure to bundle up and don’t forget your camera!

Ice Skate Outdoors

Sun Valley Lodge Winter Skating
Winter Skating at Sun Valley Lodge. Photo Credit: Sun Valley Resort.

Spend the afternoon gliding through the crisp Idaho air at one of several outdoor ice rinks across the state.

  • Sun Valley Resort: Skate among the stars at Sun Valley Resort’s outdoor ice rink. Open year-round, this rink is home to the Sun Valley Ice Shows and is open to the public daily. The rink offers lessons and skate rentals.
  • Christina Potters Outdoor Ice Rink, Ketchum: The largest non-refrigerated, man-made ice rink in the Pacific Northwest, Christina Potters Outdoor Ice Rink is a must-visit in the Wood River Valley. Spanning two acres in Ketchum, this outdoor ice rink is open from dawn until dusk for two months during the winter. Admission is free and the rink offers skates, helmets, hockey sticks, pucks and balance assists at no charge. Make sure to check the website or call ahead.
  • Kolter Ice Arena, Victor: Locals and visitors alike come to enjoy Kolter Ice Arena, a beautiful covered, outdoor ice rink in the Teton Valley. The rink offers skate rentals and has dedicated open skating for the public Friday through Sunday and drop-in pick-up hockey games throughout the week. Be sure to check the schedule for special events happening at the rink.
  • Salmon Ice Rink, Salmon: This outdoor ice rink is free to use and features a new Snack Shack where visitors can find concessions, bathrooms, and a warming area. Check out the schedule to catch a hockey match after a day out on the ice.

Slide Down the Tubing Hill at Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area Near Boise

Bring the family to the Pepsi Goldrush Tubing Hill.
Bring the family to the Pepsi Goldrush Tubing Hill. Photo credit: Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area.

Some of the best winter memories are made while zooming down a snowy hill. Bogus Basin’s 800-foot tubing hill is the perfect place to take the family this season –zoom down the hill, then ride the paddle tow back to the top. Due to high demand, reservations must be made online in advance. This is a perfect activity for large groups and for families.

Tube and Trek at The Activity Barn in McCall

tubing hill
Tubing at The Activity Barn. Photo Credit: Ski Idaho

Brundage Mountain’s Activity Barn is the place to be for those who want to enjoy the snow at their leisure. One of the barn’s most popular activities is the SnowTube: six 800-foot downhill lanes and a fleet of tubes that will have you cruising down the mountain, where you can catch the ‘magic carpet’ conveyor belt back up to the top. If a scenic adventure is on the agenda, head out on cross-country skis, snowshoes or a fat bike to explore the Nordic trails surrounding the barn. The Activity Barn’s newest addition, Bruno’s Bungalow, is loaded with snacks and beverages to keep you warm and energized for a full day in the snow.

Embark on a Nordic Exploration

Two people snowshoeing on a mountain.
Snowshoeing, Idaho City. Photo Credit: Idaho Tourism

One of the best ways to experience Idaho is by adventuring through the snow on snowshoes or cross-country skis. From Idaho State Parks to ski resorts, there are hundreds of trails across the Gem State. Check out the many places to snowshoe in Idaho and start planning a trip today. Be aware that accommodations such as camping, snowshoe and ski rentals, and facilities vary depending on the location, so be sure to plan accordingly.

Watch a Bald Eagle Soar

bald eagles in a tree
Bald eagles at Harriman State Park. Photo Credit: Idaho Dept. of Parks and Recreation.

Head to Hagerman Wildlife Management Area, located just south of Hagerman, to view the spectacular number of bald eagles and waterfowl that flock to the area during the winter months. In addition to getting an up-close glimpse of Idaho’s gorgeous wildlife, walking trails in the area provide a pleasant hike to panoramic views of the Snake River and Hagerman Valley. Check out this list of other great areas in the state to watch these magnificent birds.

Have a Cowboy Christmas at Western Pleasure Guest Ranch Near Sandpoint

snowy sleigh ride
Bundle up for a sleigh ride. Photo Credit: Western Pleasure Guest Ranch.

There is no shortage of winter wonder at Western Pleasure Guest Ranch. Dash through the snow in a two-horse sleigh at the base of the Cabinet Mountains with amazing winter views of the Selkirk Mountain Range. Pick your group size, with rides available for two and up to 12 passengers. If you’re just having too much fun to leave, reserve one of the ranch’s cabins or lodge rooms for a cozy stay.

Make your own Idaho adventure list by checking out all the things to do. Happy Holidays!

Visit Idaho

Published on December 19, 2017