Winter is a busy time in Idaho. Even when there is a whole lot of snow on the ground and the roads are all iced up, people still come from all over the world to ski on the snowy slopes of Idaho’s mountains and to take part in all of the other winter activities that are available. There are moments where the state can be quite literally shut down because of a particularly bad winter storm or some other winter phenomenon, but anything milder than a blizzard is not going to do much to stop people from getting into the state and enjoying skiing (Along with all of the other Idaho winter activities that you know and love). The Treasure Valley can become something of a base camp that allows people to range out and try the different mountains and hills that are within driving distance while also enjoying winter in the city. However, this is not to say that Idaho is a graveyard for the rest of the year. When people think of Idaho they certainly think of skiing, but they also think of the summer and the different activities there are to do in that time. Boise itself becomes a place to go for fun rather than a place that is good for going to Bogus Basin. What kind of fun things might you do in the Treasure Valley during the summer? Here are some of the best of the best opportunities for your recommended dose of summer.
If you have not been to the World Center for Birds of Prey yet, Boise in the summer is an excellent time to do so. During the winter, the birds there are not as likely to be active. If you have never even heard of the World Center for Birds of Prey, it is basically an institution dedicated to the replenishment of endangered Bird species. They breed these endangered species and release the birds they breed into the wild so that they can help bolster the existing wild populations. However, they also have a number of birds in captivity. For the most part, these are birds that have suffered some kind of trauma in the wild (Either natural or human-caused) and are not really fit anymore to return to the wild. That means they spend their lives with the people at the center and you can visit them and see them in their human-made habitats. The World Center also puts on different demonstrations for the different birds. They might show you how a particular species of falcon flies and responds to commands or they might show you how intelligent a crow can be by making it solve puzzles to earn a snack. There is a lot to learn about raptors at the World Center for Birds of Prey and seeing the raptors themselves is very cool.
Idaho is a state that is firmly entrenched in its identity as a cowboy/ cowgirl state. Its main economic powerhouse is agricultural in nature and so there are quite a few people in Idaho who know a lot about agricultural matters. For many, that means they know a lot about animals. What this means as that Idaho tends to have quite a few rodeos and some of those are going to be going on this summer in the Treasure Valley (Or any summer after this summer until the end of time). The most obvious candidate you might be interested in here is the Snake River Stampede, located at the Idaho Center in Nampa, Idaho which has been coming around for the last 100 years. Few other rodeos on the planet, let alone the state come close to matching the excitement of this rodeo. And what is there to do? A rodeo might have any number of activities. Of course, there will be animal wrangling of some kind. There will probably be bull riding and a general demonstration of the skill and experience the animal handlers have developed. It can be very cool to see just how expertly someone can calm an animal down or control it when it so desperately wants to be out of control. There also tends to be good food at most rodeos, different carnival/ festival attractions, and a general atmosphere of fun. A rodeo is one of the quintessential Idaho experiences and no amount of time spent in Idaho without visiting one is complete. They tend to happen every week somewhere in the state and one might be close to where you are living or visiting.
Summer is also a great time to go up to north Boise and visit the Old Idaho Penitentiary. This was an Idaho prison that was in service until 1973, actually quite recently in the grand scheme of things (It ran for just over 100 years). You might think that visiting an old prison is both boring and creepy, but I can assure you the Old Idaho Penitentiary is not boring and is creepy enough to be worth a visit. In fact, there are a fair number of ghost stories surrounding the place. There is quite a bit of history that comes with the prison. Naturally, it held its fair share of criminals with their different stories and there were a number of executions there for prisoners that were unlucky enough to warrant such things but there were also several exciting escape attempts and some of them were even successful. You can learn all about these events with a visit to the penitentiary. All of the buildings that made up the prison are still there and most of them are open to tourism. You can check out the cells where the inmates were kept, the rooms where they ate and worked out, and the parts of the prison where a ghost is said to wander. I would say the ghost probably is not real, but that is not as exciting as the alternative.