Home of famous Old Idaho Penitentiary State Historic Site, State Capitol, Boise River Greenbelt and lots of things to do on Memorial day in Boise. We've compiled some of the best things to do in Boise on this Memorial Day holiday.
Built in 1870 of hand-cut sandstone, the Old Idaho Penitentiary housed inmates for more than a century before reverting its status to a museum and state historic site. The Old Idaho Penitentiary, or "Old Pen," includes 30 historical structures, some of which now feature educational exhibits.
Visitors on Memorial Day can tour the facility to see jail cells, the Gallows, and the Solitary Confinement area. The Old Idaho Penitentiary also hosts events throughout the year, including paranormal investigations, cemetery tours, and a festive holiday event in October.
Within the Old Penitentiary Historic District, is the Idaho Botanical Garden. This non-profit plant space has a variety of gardens in bloom throughout much of the year.
Construction began on the Capitol Building in 1905 and was completed in 1920. The majority of the building was constructed of locally sourced sandstone with marble from Alaska, Georgia, Vermont, and Italy. The top of the dome has a five-foot-high statue of a golden eagle. In 2010, the building was rededicated following extensive restoration work.
The building features various displays and temporary exhibits. Visitors on Memorial Day are encouraged to tour the Capitol at their leisure during operating hours, and guided tours can be scheduled for groups of five or more. The manicured grounds of the Capitol are perfect for leisurely strolls.
The Boise Greenbelt, located along the Boise River, runs through the city center and links 850 acres of natural area and parks. The 25-mile Greenbelt offers a variety of cycling and walking paths, as well as wildlife-viewing opportunities. This scenic corridor is often used for both non-motorized commuting and experiencing nature.
The urban pathway also connects to other culturally significant parts of the city. The Boise State University Campus and the Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial are both along the path. Bikes, strollers, and in-line skates are welcomed on the Greenbelt, though pedestrians always have the right of way.
Accessible via the Boise River Greenbelt, Julia Davis Park has plenty of cultural attractions worth checking out during Memorial Day visit. On the grounds, visitors can discover Zoo Boise, the Boise Art Museum, and the Idaho Historical Museum, as well as the Discovery Center of Idaho, and the Idaho Black History Museum.
Julia Davis also provides a scenic backdrop to all these cultural attractions. Lagoons, rose gardens, and a duck pond define the landscape, as does the regular influx of visitors who come to enjoy the scenic space.
The Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial is located in the Boise Cultural District, behind the Boise Public Library. The memorial contains more than 60 quotes from leaders and human rights figures throughout history. A bronze statue of Anne Frank is located in the "Attic" of the Memorial.
The garden of the Human Rights Memorial features trees and flowers from around the world. The memorial also has benches and stainless-steel statues of human rights leaders. Boise Parks and Recreation and the Wassmuth Center for Human Rights maintain the memorial with a cooperative agreement.
Located on the north end of the city and at the edge of the Boise foothills, Camel's Back Park is a popular open space with a variety of things to do. Within the 11 acres of developed park, on Memorial Day visitors can use tennis courts, playground equipment, and an outdoor gym. Picnic areas and open-play areas also are popular throughout the warmer months.
One of the real appeals of this city park, however, is its access to the foothills and sprawling Ridge to Rivers trail system. The two miles of this larger trail system within Camel's Back Park climbs up to a great view of the city. Several trails venture through the Boise Foothills from Camel's Back Park, including Lower Hulls Gulch Trail, one of the best hiking trails in Boise.
The World Center for Birds of Prey propagates birds of prey for release into the wild. Falcons, condors, eagles, and various other birds call the center home. They are kept on-site for breeding and observational research.
On Memorial Day, at the facility, the Velma Morrison Interpretive Center hosts visitors, giving them the chance to meet the feathered residents and learn about the different species. Some of the most popular things to do at the Interpretive Center include viewing the educational exhibits, live raptor presentations, and a quarter-mile nature trail primed for spotting wild raptors.
Kathryn Albertson Park is a 41-acre special-use park located southwest of downtown Boise. Most of the park is wetland habitat filled with wildlife, including a variety of birds. Established walking paths wind past scenic lagoons and a decorative fountain. "Conservation Stations" next to the paved walkways provide information on the surrounding flora and fauna.
The park also features two large gazebos that are available for rent, which can be extremely popular come wedding season in Boise.
Kathryn Albertson is one of many parks linked together by the Boise River Greenbelt. Other nearby city parks include the adjacent Ann Morrison Park and Julia Davis Park across the river.
The Idaho Botanical Garden is located at what was once the #2 Yard of the Idaho State Penitentiary. Since the prison's closing, through a community effort and interest in horticulture, the Idaho Botanical Garden was established and has continued to grow since its inception in 1984.
The garden features 14 specialty gardens that vary from a contemporary English Garden to a Meditative Garden, with each landscaped space having a unique focus. The botanical garden also includes an heirloom Rose Garden, with more than 300 different roses in 107 varieties.
Special events at the Idaho Botanical Garden include a Summer Solstice celebration and a Scarecrow Stroll in autumn. Throughout December, the botanic space is illuminated by the Winter Garden aGlow event and over 500,000 holiday lights.
Hands-on exhibits at the Discovery Center of Idaho help visitors learn about science and scientific wonders. Some of the topics displayed include electricity, sound, motion, perception, and hearing. The center is geared towards all ages, making it a good outing for children and families during Memorial Day weekend.
The Discovery Center hosts a wide variety of events and programming, including summer camps and a Young Discoverers club designed for children ages three to five. The museum also hosts four Adult Nights each year for those 21 years and older who want unbridled access to play space.