Nestled among the Rocky Mountains in the Snake River Plain, Idaho Falls is the largest city in the Southeastern Idaho. Located in Bonneville County, it is the “gateway to Yellowstone” because of its proximity to the national park.
Idaho Falls is surrounded by rolling plains, rugged mountains, and winding rivers. That is, you will find many outdoor activities. In addition, this is the perfect lodging option for your Idaho / Wyoming adventures.
Interactive Map of 25 Things to Do in Idaho Falls (ID)
1. Idaho Falls River Walk – Greenbelt Trail
The Snake River is the soul of Idaho Falls, and it is there, along its margins, where everything happens in the city. The Greenbelt Trail is composed by two 5-mile paved trails running on each side of the river. This River Walk connects several parks and the downtown, not to mention the Snake River Falls itself, from which the city gets its name.
The River Walk is where most of Idaho Falls’ gatherings happen every year. Among them there are events such as the Idaho Falls Duck Race, the Snake River Roaring Youth Jam and celebrations of the 4th of July.
2. Idaho Falls Zoo at Tautphaus Park
Offering a very up-close experience, the Tautphaus Park is a beautifully organized small zoo in Idaho Falls. Their great selection of international animals is displayed in natural exhibitions, providing easy viewing of the animals. Some of the most famous residents of Tautphaus Park are the penguins, sloth bear, snow leopard, red pandas, and flamingos.
Besides the animals’ exhibition, the zoo also houses a petting zoo and a bird aviary. It usually takes about an hour and a half to explore the zoo, which also hosts multiple events for both children and adults.
3. Museum of Idaho
Established in 2003, the Museum of Idaho is a kid-friendly activity with interactive learning experiences for all ages. With guided and hand-on activities, the museum focuses on science and regional history. Their goal is to educate its visitors through informative exhibitions by catching their attention with a very clever lighting atmosphere. In addition, it houses several important documents and archives. The most popular displays are the Dinosaur and the Darwin exhibitions.
Their most sought-after program is the Downtown Idaho Falls historic building Scavenger Hunt. By using your phone or a printed game form you can go searching for 10 sites around Idaho Falls, based on the tips provided. At the end you get a discount off your admission fee to the museum.
4. Yellowstone National Park
Two hours away from Idaho Falls, there’s the world renowned Yellowstone National Park, which was established in 1872 so that people could enjoy the unique hydrothermal and geologic wonders of the area. With limitless biodiversity, this is a place that in just a few hours gives you the chance to see wild animals like bears and bison roaming freely, as well as geysers.
Along with vibrant colors, the Grand Prismatic Pool enchants everyone who visits it. Other attractions of the park are the Old Faithful Geyser gushing gallons of water and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone with its yellowish colors cut out by the Yellowstone waterfall. So, whether you go hiking or kayaking along the Yellowstone Lake you will certainly be amazed. This is definitely a place worth visiting for a few days.
5. Grand Teton National Park
The Grand Teton National Park is filled with rich and extraordinary wildlife, pristine lakes and alpine landscape. With over two hundred miles of trails and incredible floating and rafting opportunities along the Snake River, this park is remembered by its visitors as tranquil and remarkable. The hiking trails at Grand Teton vary in lengths to accommodate hikers of all levels and families as well. It also provides well paved bike trails for easy peddling.
Make sure to look out for grizzly bears at Oxbow Bend, bison off the main highway, black bears and moose on Moose Wilson road. And if you happen to be there during fall, pay attention to the golden aspens and red hawthorns which give color to the roads and lakes.
6. Yellowstone Bear World
No trip to the Yellowstone region is complete without visiting the drive-thru wildlife tour of Yellowstone Bear World. Located 25 minutes by car from Idaho Falls and open from April to October, the park is filled with attractions. The main attractions include the amusement park, with roller coasters for kids, and the petting zoo, with public feeding times.
But the highlight of Yellowstone Bear World is of course to drive your own vehicle through the park. You will be surrounded by animals including elks, deer, goats, moose and bears. And yes, you can spot both the American Black Bear and the famous Grizzly Bear there. Just make sure to book your visit in advance.
7. Heise Hot Springs Inc
Located half an hour from Idaho Falls, the Heise Hot Springs is a traditional resort with all the facilities you could ask for. From a huge swimming pool to a 350-ft water slide. But the highlight is the 104 degree natural mineral hot spring.
This is the perfect place for the entire family. Their full-service pizza restaurant is the perfect ending for a fun day at the resort. In addition, on-site camping is available as well as zip-lining during summer, golfing and fishing on the Snake River, among many other exciting activities.
8. East Idaho Aquarium
Founded in 2003, the East Idaho Aquarium is a non-profit organization which depends on its volunteers to stay afloat. With innovative, hands-on displays and educational programs, the East Idaho Aquarium seeks to broaden its public’s awareness of the natural environment.
Even though their focus is on aquatic animals, they also exhibit some land ones, such as porcupines. The aquarium offers many unique activities like petting stingrays, letting shrimps clean your hands, feeding porcupines and birds. This is a fantastic interactive experience for the entire family.
9. Idaho Potato Museum & Potato Station Cafe
Peculiar and informative are two great words to describe the Idaho Potato Museum. Yes, this is a museum entirely dedicated to the history of the potato and its effect on the world. The exhibitions explore every single aspect of the potato farming in a relatively small museum. The Potato Museum is well-maintained and even provides interactive activities for kids.
On site there is also a gift shop and Potato Station Cafe, where you can order anything you can think of involving potatoes. From simple French fries and baked potatoes to a delicious huckleberry cheesecake potato ice cream, you will find it all. Before leaving, make sure to take a photo in front with the giant potato outside.
10. Reed’s Dairy
Reed’s Dairy Inc. is the place to go in Idaho Falls for local farm fresh milk, cheese, and homemade ice cream. Their most famous products include cheese curds, creamy ice cream and their famous grilled cheese accompanied by tomato soup. With both indoor and outdoor seating areas, Reed’s Dairy can have long queues sometimes, but they usually move quite fast.
This local owned business has a farm in the back which kids love to visit and pet the animals. Besides dairy products and desserts, you can also purchase fertilizer produced by their own cows.
11. Blast Off
Blast Off is Idaho Falls’ indoor playground and family fun center with activities for all ages. They offer many options of games and activities. From laser tag to mini golf, from climbing wall to an arcade and ball pits. The establishment takes the kids’ safety very seriously and they have dedicated staff in all areas.
In addition, Blast Off provides delicious food including pizza and appetizers. They have special deals to make it more affordable even though the prices are already reasonable. A suggestion: try asking for the Date Night Package.
12. Japanese Friendship Garden
Snake River cuts through the city of Idaho Falls, and the Japanese Friendship Garden is an island in the middle of the river. Near the Broadway Bridge, there are footbridges providing access from both sides of the river to the island. Even though it is right next to a busy road, this is a surprisingly beautiful and quiet hidden spot in Idaho Falls.
Part of the Idaho Falls Greenbelt, many people refer to the Japanese Friendship Garden as the Sportsman Park because of the fish hatchery built in the 1950s. Interestingly, the Garden, which is ranked as the fourth most popular attraction in Idaho Falls, recently got a Japanese Pavilion.
13. Civic Center for the Performing Arts
The “Civic”, as called by the locals, is the main performance hall in Idaho Falls. The building from 1952 just went through a major renovation. So now, the acoustics system makes you feel you are in an elegant concert hall. The ushers are all very professional and help you find your seat in the great 1892-seating area.
They host a wide range of concerts including opera, symphony, ballet, dance concerts and religious services. Besides the Idaho Falls Symphony and Community Concerts, they also host the school musicals since the “Civic” is connected to a high school building.
14. St. Anthony Sand Dunes
The natural attraction of St. Anthony Sand Dunes is a 40 minute drive from Idaho Falls, and it is composed of 10,600 acres of clear, shifting, white quartz sand. Reaching 400-ft tall, these high dunes are the ultimate paradise for off-road vehicle fans. You can find all the equipment you need to rent at Saint Anthony. With easy access to the dunes and next to off-road rental stores, stay at the Sand Hills Resort.
But be aware that most of the dunes are closed during the winter for wildlife migration. This area is also home to the largest herd of elks in the US.
15. Blacktail Day Use Park
The Blacktail reservoir is a popular recreation area which offers swimming and fishing for the entire family. Besides picnic tables and fire rings, the area offers boat launch areas, mooring slips, and fishing docks. The whole area is very big, with enough room to go boating and waterskiing. There is also an area reserved only for swimming.
If you want you can camp at the Juniper campground, but not at the Blacktail Park itself. In addition, there are two other parks around the reservoir with fewer facilities, the Benchland Park and Willow Point Park. Remember to take all your trash with you when you leave!
16. ARTitorium on Broadway
Located in downtown Idaho Falls, the Artitorium on Broadway is your ultimate interactive adventure through art experiences. Their main focus is to offer fun and imaginative ways to introduce kids to art. But their infrastructure will certainly please the entire family. You can play around at the green screen studio, the stop-motion animation stations, or even the art-making software.
In addition, the 136-seat theater located on site hosts a wide range of performances, from music concerts to movie streaming. Their idea is to present local and national artists to the community of Idaho Falls.
17. Pinecrest Golf Course
Pinecrest Golf Course is a longtime golf course offering 18 holes, miniature golf, many uphill greens, tournaments, and a pro shop. It does not matter if you are an amateur or experienced golfer, the staff will do anything in their power to provide you with a great day.
After you finish your game, take a break at the local Bar & Grill. The food is great, and the beer is always cold. Finish off your day at the Elk Club, where you can make new friends or meet old ones.
18. The Art Museum of Eastern Idaho
The contemporary Art Museum of Eastern Idaho displays both local and international artists. The exhibitions include paintings, photographs, sculptures, and other types of art. Given that the exhibits rotate throughout the year, visiting the museum will always surprise you!
This is a family-friend small museum with a Kid’s Studio, where the little ones can have a blast with all the different types of arts and crafts. Besides a gift shop, they also host a monthly art walk, which is definitely worth checking out.
19. Actors’ Repertory Theatre of Idaho
The Actors Repertory Theatre of Idaho (ARTI) is more than a professional quality theatre, it is a dinner theatre. Located in downtown Idaho Falls, the theater is a non-profit organization which depends on its volunteers to stay afloat. The ARTI is a member of the American Association of Community Theatre. That means it provides groundbreaking and award-winning productions besides a great theatre experience.
However, ARTI offers performances for adult audiences only, so perhaps this is not the place to take your kids. For instance, they host the Idaho Falls Drag Queen bingo.
20. Becker Pond
Located in Ryder Park, Becker Pond is the place where all the kids from Idaho Falls go to learn to fish. The space is open enough to learn to fly fish or to practice other fishing methods. But keep in mind that your chances of actually catching a fish are much higher from April to October. In addition, there are several trailheads to go hiking around Ryder Park.
Even though Becker Pond is a place for beginners there are still rules to follow. For instance, there is a restriction of two fish per person. It is also extremely forbidden to go swimming in the pond or to have boats and motors around it.
21. Collectors Corner Museum
Visiting the Collectors Corner Museum is like traveling back in time where you can admire over 100 unique antique items. The exhibition area changes every 3 months and there is always something for everyone, both children and grown-ups.
The items displayed include toys, metal cars, dolls, figurines, war memorabilia, stamps, coins and much more. Some of the highlights are the Barbie room and the old Coca Cola cash register, which you can ask the owner to show you how it works. So, take some time to explore all the items and look through the handled drawers.
22. Wilderness Ridge Trail Llamas
The Baty family founded the Wilderness Ridge Trail Llamas in 2010, intending to add a magical detail to their hiking guided tours of the Rocky Mountains. This family owned and operated business is also a sustainable travel agency which uses Llamas to carry some of the load during their hikes. But the Llamas are also a great companion for their trails adding joy and diversity. They offer all sorts of hikes, even long 8-day trails.
Nowadays, they have a growing herd of Ccara Pack Llamas in Idaho Falls. These types of Llamas are known to carry heavy loads. The Baty’s also offer Llama rentals, ranch tours, and pack equipment’s for sales.
23. Willard Arts Center
The restored old building where the Willard Arts Center is established is the place to go for live events in Idaho Falls. Besides being a beautiful venue with some traces of its past in the décor, they also have an art gallery with great rotating public exhibitions. Ranging from classical music to ballet, from comedy to Celtic dance, you are in for a treat with tons of entertainments.
The building includes specific areas. Among them are the Carr and Hall art galleries, the WAC artist studios, and the Colonial Theater. And if you visit Idaho Falls during spring, be sure to check out the Juried Art Show.
24. Hell’s Half Acre Lava Field
Half an hour away from Idaho Falls you can visit the geological site of Hell’s Half Acre, a lava field with a very tricky trail. It can be a bit hard to find the actual trailhead so head to Lava Hiking Trail parking lot on Highway 20.
The trail itself is a 1.5-mile loop with no elevation. However, this is a very technical and difficult hike because of the lack of cement path. Lava rocks, caves, crevices, and deadwood trees compose the trail. In addition, the poles that mark the trail are not easy to find and the path is hard to see. So, pay attention and wear sturdy shoes!
25. Villa Coffeehouse
If you are looking for a tasty coffee, you should definitely visit the relaxing Villa Coffeehouse. This nice little coffee shop has an original setting with cozy couches, free board games and even a private room. No matter if you are looking for a place to get some work done or just chill for a bit, Villa has an amazing customer service and an inviting atmosphere.
The secret to their coffee is the origin. They get their freshly roasted coffee once a week from a local farm. Their pride and joy is the cold brew coffee. So, make sure to try it with a delicious Don Diego bagel sandwich.