"The eyes on those marines were something to remember, because they had really been through it. And they were laughing and talking and smiling, but their eyes didn't smile. They were just fierce." These are the words Ceil Dennis—a lieutenant colonel in the Army Air Corps during World War II—used to describe his encounter with off-duty marines when he first landed on Iwo Jima. They wanted to sit in Dennis's P-51 airplane, a welcome sight for the troops spending three days on and three days off fighting for control of the Japanese stronghold. Their eyes told the story of men who, according to Dennis, "earned that island the hard way."
The recorded interview is part of the Veterans History Project, a collaboration between the Warhawk Air Museum and the Library of Congress, that is designed to preserve the voices of the past for future generations. It's just one of several ways that the museum honors the lives and sacrifices of military personnel.
Museum President John Paul and his wife, Sue, cofounded the 40,000-square-foot nonprofit museum at the Nampa Municipal Airport to house the ever-growing collection of planes and war memorabilia, including wartime sweetheart pillows, ration books, and some of Rosie the Riveter's actual elbow grease. Paul's passion for historical aircraft and wartime artifacts began in 1950, when he was 8 years old. He ran from his classroom to see the source of a deafening roar over the school, discovering the blue underbellies of two WWII F4U Navy Corsair fighter planes and the hobby that would become his vocation. Over the years, Paul's love for vintage fighter planes has led him on scavenger hunts and rescue missions, salvaging historic aircraft that would otherwise have been abandoned as scrap metal.
They run the nonprofit organization along with their son, John-Curtiss Paul, who was named after the Curtiss P-40 WWII Warhawk. The family aims to educate visitors about the technology, cultural, and social changes that North America has seen since World War I. Guests can schedule a tour of the museum, visit the gift shop, or even request a sponsorship ride in a restored P-40 aircraft.
Parker Arrien grew up rafting through whitewater rapids on the Snake and Salmon Rivers with his family, feeling the crash of waves and the force of the water pulling him forward. As an adult, he knew it would be impossible to ignore his desire to seek outdoor adventures, so he founded America's Rafting Company with his wife, Becky, to share this exhilarating experience with others. His adventures take people whitewater rafting down canyons, fishing for steelhead in the winter, backpacking in the immense wilderness of the Seven Devils Mountains, and making excursions on the Idaho rivers. Participants can expect enthusiastic and knowledgeable guides on all adventures.
Throughout the year, Promote Idaho’s staff oversees expos that showcase local vendors that cater to events such as weddings and holiday parties. In the spring, the business partners with the U.S. Army to host the Treasure Valley Man Show, where guests listen to live music and mingle among muscle cars before entering duck, goose, and turkey-calling competitions.
The mission of the Idaho Botanical Garden has remained the same since its founding more than 25 years ago: to foster community appreciation and understanding of horticulture and natural conservation. Nestled in the Boise foothills, the facility's 33 acres house more than 14 themed gardens. Some feature carnivorous plants, native flora, or colorful and aromatic herbs, whereas others focus on rose varieties, succulents, peonies, and water-conserving plants. Garden staff use adjacent foothills for nature hikes and environmental education.
A day at the gardens may also include a snack at the Tea House or a trip to admire plantings on the roof of the Gathering Place gazebo. Pathways lined with Table Rock sandstone wander through the four quadrants of the green Celtic labyrinth, each representing one of the four seasons. In a separate Children's Adventure Garden, smaller visitors frolic in a colorful tree house and watch the ripple of fins at a koi pond. For self-guided family tours, the staff provide backpacks containing suggestions for things to see and do, as well as scavenger-hunt items, a magnifying lens, and binoculars so children can check whether that's really a Bubo virginianus slinking through the trees.
Piloted by a professional driving staff, Boise Party Bus's fleet whisks between 16 and 24 clientele away on celebratory jaunts customized for special occasions and tours. Each non-smoking ride arrives equipped with a full bar, hardwood dance floor, and miniature water park built into the tire rims as a driver accommodates requests you make throughout the trip.
Alongside services for private parties, Boise Party Bus's passengers charter the fleet for the Best of the Northwest Wine Tour or Snake River Valley Vineyard Tour to sample boutique wines at five local destinations. Guests on The Great Idaho Brew Tour make pit stops at up to six of the state's best brewers for pours of craft brew on a voyage that Boise Weekly lauds as "a genius idea."
Newly built with a fleet of educational exhibits, the nonprofit Idaho Public Aquarium brims with underwater wildlife that scuttles, swims, and frolics, overseen by staff members and dedicated volunteers. Families peruse exhibits that give insight into a slice of aquatic life and emphasize its continuance, such as stingray touch tank and the shark nursery, where guests can witness baby sharks peeking out of their eggs while crooning peaceful lullabies or playing peekaboo. Added to the list are new exhibits, such as the 17,000-gallon sea turtle tank and the North Pacific cold water tank. Sea-resident enthusiasts can also participate in birthday parties with private tours and a nighttime animal feeding.