My daughter had a birthday coming up, and I gave her a choice. Would she rather have an adventure, or the traditional presents & cake? She chose an adventure (of course) which is the whole purpose of this post. What she wanted (more than anything) was to visit a zoo & so we did!
First, having been to the Portland Zoo, and never having graced Boise with my presence, I elected to go there. After much thrifty research, I settled on the Motel6 in Meridian, Idaho. They were undergoing some renovations, which were needed. However, they had a good pool, with handicap-accessibility, and some folks even had small pets with them. While our room lacked mini fridge or microwave (there’s one in the lobby), it did sport a flat-screen TV, good Wifi strength, and cleanliness. Best of all, I stayed a night for under $60. Additionally, this motel is right of the interstate near a business complex with Sharis & McDonalds to name a few.
My well-laid plan was to work half a day, and leave at noon on friday, picking up the kids and arriving in time for dinner. Naturally, good plans are meant to be broken. Sparing you all the details, I took the whole day off, and hit the road at 7:30 am. I arrived to pick up the kids, only to find their chores weren’t done. Being a ‘good parent’ I made them finish, egging them on with all the fun stuff we would have to give up if we didn’t hit the road soon
The trip was a breeze! Boise is only about 30 minutes closer than Portland, but it almost felt close. I can’t help but think that the new vehicle amenities really made a difference. While I declined any movie players, I did allow the kids to bring their Nintendo DS. We listened to the radio, and played games, too, all while averaging about 38+ mpg.
We pulled off at Nampa, ID and almost checked out their air museum, but my daughter just wanted to get settled in to the hotel and “chill-ax.” In doing so, we decided not to visit the discovery museum, but to go see a movie instead. I checked to see what was playing (and how to get there). We arrived at the theater, only to realize we were in another time zone (oops), so we had an hour to kill until the next show time.
The complex was massive, larger than any we had seen before, so we checked out the local attractions. We blew a few bucks in arcades, then went in search of some cool refreshments. Alas, they weren’t any nearby, but we did find a quaint store called “All About Games.” My kids pleaded to be a patron, so I just HAD to comply We easily killed our hour here, selecting a new game called “Smash Up” where players combine factions of dinosaurs, ninjas, aliens, and more to battle over bases.
With our geek-lust satisfied, we returned in time for Percy Jackson & the Sea of Monsters, complete with popcorn, snacks, etc. Returning to the motel, we took turns operating the elevator, when we got ready to utilize the onsite pool. Unfortunately, the birthday girl forgot her swimming apparel (or any shorts), so I sat out with her while my son played in the pool.
The next day, we had a hearty breakfast and proceeded directly to the zoo. There are way too many pictures, so feel free to check out the gallery at the end. The Boise Zoo seemed like an efficient, compact use of space. Sections and habitats are well separated by natural barriers, height changes, walkways, and bridges. This allowed them to pack a large variety of animals & exhibits in a small space, but made it easy to miss something.
We explored every loop & habitat, in turn, and revisited the highlights several times. The tiger, for example, was visited 3 times. There were many kid-friendly areas where little ones could play. One of my favorites was the ground-squirrel exhibit. It has tubes through the habitat, allowing visitors to get inside and pop up inside the habitat. My son was thoroughly pleased. Now where’s my mallet? I wanna wack-a-mole!
I tried to slow them down often, pointing out informative signs, and interactive displays, but the attractions were just too epic. We tried on turtle shells, rode a carousel, played a meerkat, fed goats, had a smoothie, watched penguins, saw zebras, monkeys, lions, tigers, and a sloth-bear… oh my! The birthday girl even got to feed a giraffe! We had lunch and enjoyed jellyfish, snakes, lizards, birds, snow leopards, leemurs, porcupines, and many other creatures.
We hit the road, employing the “Interstate Bingo” I had picked up at the game store. To make things interesting, the winner got to choose our dinner venue. I won, muahahaha! On our journey, we were getting restless, so we stopped off at a rest area and learned a new game called ‘Ninja.’ Participants strike a martial arts pose, and try striking the other players with limited movements. It was fun, and gave us a stretch while I got to practice my Japanese accent.
All-in-all, it was a fantastic trip, which gave me a renewed lease on the dull-drum of my regular life. If you’re near Boise, I’d highly recommend it. Enjoy the gallery!