Sightseeing in Idaho

Select Local Merchants

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.

2355 E Old Penitentiary Rd
Boise,
ID
US

"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.

201 Municipal Way
Nampa,
ID
US

A home garage was never going to be enough to contain The Terror's Estate. From these humble origins, the haunted house grew and eventually expanded to become what it is today: a full-scale indoor attraction complete with cinema-quality sets, professional lighting effects, and creeping fog. Groups of friends or family members can slowly inch their way through the narrow hallways and the macabre rooms featuring a variety of unsettling accent pieces, including chandeliers made of grinning skulls, walls scored with supernatural scratches, and long-overdue library books. Strobe lights and hidden scares are throughout The Terror's Estate, waiting for the perfect opportunity to startle passersby and elicit a chorus of screams. The haunted house remains open September 16 through Halloween until midnight seven days a week, providing a late-night adrenaline rush for anyone willing to brave the fright-inducing rooms.

760 E King St.
Meridian,
ID
US

Silverhawk Aviation’s owner, Catherine Rad Weber, built a school not only to teach people how to fly, but to learn to love their wings as well. Her comprehensive curriculum challenges students to fly at high altitudes, in different weather conditions, and over diverse terrain, training helicopter pilots who will be comfortable in the cockpit anywhere in the world. The program includes hands-on experience in caring for the rides, moving them in and out of hangars, and safely washing them without getting soap in their eyes.

Whether training or touring, visitors receive eyefuls of southern Idaho’s diverse geological features. The helicopters surmount rugged mountains, speed over mesas and high deserts, and ride air currents above rivers that wend their way into deep canyons. Apart from stunning the brain’s beauty receptors, this splendor provides a natural obstacle course against which more experienced pilots test their skill, zipping around rock spires or hopping the feet of their craft neatly through pristine fields of tire plants.

4505 Aviation Way
Caldwell,
ID
US

If one word had to describe Coeur d’Alene Cellars’ attitude toward winemaking, it would probably be "meticulous." During each stage of creation, from vineyard selection and harvest to bottling, winemakers carefully supervise and adjust conditions to suit their visions. They hand-harvest fruit from their eastern Washington vineyards only on days that fit specific temperature conditions. Between pickings, the vines are pruned for low yields that concentrate flavor and quality. And their syrah and viognier grapes are both hand-sorted the night of harvest before they’re pressed and fermented.

That process is carefully controlled as well. Syrah blends first ferment in open-top vessels, allowing for closer management of color and tannins. Only later do they age inside French and American oak barrels, like former daredevils bent on reliving their trip over Niagara Falls. Viognier blends, on the other hand, spend both fermentation and aging periods in small oak barrels.

The resulting well-balanced wines can claim myriad accolades from publications such as Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast. Their 2004 Sarah’s cuvée viognier, for instance, earned 89 points from Wine Enthusiast, which praised its "good balance" of "peach, apricot, sour lemon candy and even a bit of cinnamon." Current vintages include the 2007 Alder Ridge Vineyard syrah, whose smooth body supports flavors of berries, vanilla, and cinnamon that conclude in a lingering finish.

These and other wines are poured at Coeur d'Alene's onsite wine bar, Barrel Room No. 6. Inside, sleek red walls help create an upscale vibe. Glasses perch beneath pendant lighting on the bar or glitter on top of old wine barrels repurposed as tables. As customers sip, knowledgeable wait staff can suggest ways to bring out the wines' subtle flavors by nibbling aromatic cheese pairings or the hem of a neighbor’s freshly laundered shirt.

3890 North Schreiber Way
Coeur D'Alene,
ID
US

Beamers Hells Canyon Tours ferries passengers through the vacillating rapids of one of the deepest river gorges in North America. Along nearly 200 miles of majestic landscapes and American history, certified tour captains delve into detailed narratives on geological landmarks, Native American history, and how U.S. mail delivery developed from horseback to the modern-day jetpack. Wine-tasting and brunch cruises complement degustation with stunning scenes of mountain ranges, rivers, and rare glimpses of local wildlife foraging for food or preparing their tax-return forms, and fishing charters let anglers test their mettles against the river?s crafty steelhead, sturgeon, and bass.

700 Port Drive
Clarkston,
WA
US