Located in Bonneville County in the eastern side of Idaho, Idaho Falls is one of the state's biggest cities. It's actually the largest city in Idaho to be situated outside of the Boise metropolitan area and is home to around 60,000 people, with over 133,000 in the full metro area of Idaho Falls. This city is the main cultural and commercial center for the eastern part of Idaho and even acts as a key commercial hub for people in the neighboring states of Montana and Wyoming too. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
2.Snake River RV Park
3.South Tourist Park
4.Shady Rest Campground
3 Best Idaho Falls RV Parks
- Overview, Photo: a40757se/stock.adobe.com
- Snake River RV Park, Photo: Michael Zech/stock.adobe.com
- South Tourist Park, Photo: Tomasz Zajda/stock.adobe.com
- Shady Rest Campground, Photo: Tomasz Zajda/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: arinahabich/stock.adobe.com
Attraction Spotlight: Museum of Idaho
With more than 100,000 visitors on a yearly basis (significantly higher than the national average), the Museum of Idaho brings history and science to life in a fun and educational way. Visitors to this museum will find interesting perspectives with a local focus. The mission of the museum is to educate, enlighten and engage adults and children alike by making use of informal educational opportunities, collections, and exhibits that teach the sciences and humanities.
The root of the current museum can be traced back to 1979 and it has grown steadily since then. In fact, in 2003, it tripled in size and reopened under its current name, becoming the largest museum in the entire state of Idaho. It has welcomed over a million guests through its front doors. The museum has plans to double yet again by the year 2019. It is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, independent organization that keeps its doors open through donors and grants.
The Museum of Idaho prides itself on its wide, diverse variety of exhibitions that stay at the museum on a temporary basis. Featuring everything from Dinosaurs in Motion, Bodies: The Exhibition, and Discover Steampunk, the museum tries to keep itself on top of current knowledge, science, and fun. However, the museum is also home to many different permanent exhibits. The permanent exhibits feature thousands of unique artifacts that tell the complex and interesting story of the different fauna, flora, and other forces that have shaped the native Idaho region.
? Native American History - This interactive exhibit lets guests literally walk through a Native American village that has been designed with the help of members of the local Shoshone and Bannock tribes. View the authentic teepees, different tools, and other unique remnants of the original inhabitants of the Idaho Falls region.
? Eagle Rock, USA - Guests can take a look into a mock one room schoolhouse, as well as ten other businesses. They have been designed with historical accuracy to what they would have looked like in the later part of the 19th century (as a frontier town struggling to define itself).
? Exploration and Migration - This exhibit explores the trek that Lewis and Clark took on the exploration and expedition of the area, as well as more information about some of the other people who helped shape the region.
? Atomic Advances - Guests will learn the history of how Idaho ended up being the very first state that produced usable nuclear energy, as well as how it continues to maintain its status as one of the frontrunners of nuclear technology advancement.
? Andrew Henry Rock - This display focuses on the earliest recorded English writing artifact that was found in Idaho, which dates back to 1810.
? Children’s Discovery Room - Built just for child guests, the Discovery Room was designed as an interactive exhibit that teaches children about natural history and early Idaho settlers through hands-on displays.
The museum is also home to a significant research and archival collection, numbering over 25,000 different artifacts. It continues to seek out and accrue other artifacts as well. One of the most important parts of the archive is the focus on “oral history,” which allows natives (especially those in the older generation) to tell their stories and have them documented for posterity. The archive (specifically the reference and reading room) is open to the general public, however researchers will need to make an appointment to make sure the information they plan to access is available.
Admission is required for access to the museum, although discounts are provided for seniors, youth and students, Idaho residents, active duty military personnel, and family passes. Group discounts are also available. The museum is open Monday and Friday from 10 am to 8 pm, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm, and Sunday from 1 pm to 5 pm.
The museum is very well known for their field trips and educational opportunities for students (hosting roughly three times the amount of field trips as other museums in Idaho). Field trips can be booked online and last for at least an hour. Educators will have access to the large resource database on the website, which allows them to plan ahead for both permanent and temporary/traveling exhibits. Field trips can also be customized for each class, and the education director at the museum is always more than happy to talk directly with teachers to help plan ahead. One chaperone must be provided for every 10 student guests and discounted admission fees are provided. Once tours are booked, staff from the museum will contact teachers with additional information about where to park buses, museum etiquette and guidelines, and to answer any questions prior to a visit.
For teachers who unable to provide their students a trip to the actual museum, there are “discovery trunks” available to check out that allows teachers to bring the museum to the classroom. With a variety of themes including space, adaptations, GPS and compass, conservation, Idaho Falls History, and DIY, teachers can have a full museum, educational experience without having to leave the school. This makes for a great, interactive program for schools who might not be able to afford the field trip.
The museum offers special events that fall into three different categories - those for kids, museum events held after dark, and special events just for museum members. The museum is also available to rent out for other special events like birthday parties. Birthday parties include admission to the museum and a private room, and last for two hours.
Both camps and classes are offered for kids - allowing opportunities for longer and more in-depth adventures (offered mostly during longer school breaks) or smaller, hour long classes (on a variety of topics and designed for all ages) that can also be done with their parents present. All camps and classes have been designed by educators so that they are fun as well as educational and can be reserved by using the museum website.
Also offered are “museum club” events, each with their own special themes. The Museum Club is meant for “engaged” citizens over the age of 55. Each event features discussions lasting between 15 and 30 minutes in length (depending on the theme, which is related to the sciences, humanities, or current affairs) and may occasionally include behind the scenes tours.
Also, during the holidays, the museum features holiday and seasonal events like the “Olde Fashioned Christmas” and “Winter Festivals” exhibits and craft events that happen during December.
Dining and Shopping
There are no official dining options available at the museum, but the museum is located in a busy downtown area with multiple restaurants surrounding the area. There is a small gift shop available at the museum with a selection of products that relate to the exhibitions that can be seen inside. Dinosaur toys, apparel with the museum logo, and smaller gifts like postcards and keychains are up for sale at the museum gift shop. The museum updates their wares regularly, but there is always a souvenir for every budget.
Museum of Idaho, 200 N. Eastern Ave, Idaho Falls, ID, 83402, Phone: 208-522-1400
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Attraction Spotlight: Idaho Potato Museum
The Idaho Potato Museum, located in Blackfoot, was designed to display the sometimes-winding path that the potato took while establishing itself as the food staple it is in North America. Most visitors find that the route isn’t nearly as linear as they might think. The potato museum opened as a trial in 1988, attended by a massive group of over two thousand guests.
Although it did not contain any actual exhibits or displays, the museum was considered a “hit” and led to the increased financial contributions necessary to making the museum a reality. They have continued to seek out authentic artifacts for display, like a 1600-year-old Peruvian vessel that is believed to be the very first potato specific storage container. They have also accepted donations from companies like Procter and Gamble as well as Pringles. Although technically a museum, the building is officially considered an “exposition” to make sure it appealed to as many people as possible.
The museum is loaded with fast facts to give guests quick access to information is small, palatable bites. For instance, although the potato was seen in Europe as early as the 1570s, it didn’t truly become a staple of their diets until the late 1600s/early 1700s. The potato was introduced to other countries by explorers in the 1600s as well (places like India, Russia, China, etc), but didn’t come to North America until 1621 with the first recorded planting in the US happening in 1719 in New Hampshire.
One of the exhibits at the potato museum focuses on how the potato helps contribute to world food security. Before the potato was established as a food option, the majority of farmers only used about half of their available land to plant grain and wheat while leaving the other half of their fields to “rest.” With the potato, those same farmers were able to rotate their crops and keep their fields active all year long - which leads to healthier soil and less pests and disease.
Another exhibit walks guests through the cultivation and harvesting process. Starting with some of the technology that was developed in the late 1800s (for instance, the potato digger was a massive labor and time saver), the exhibit shows how farmers did the work before the modern farm machines were designed.
One of the fan favorites in the museum is the Potato Lab section. The aptly named exhibit, located in a former freight platform, teaches guests by making use of fun potato-based experiments. There are also races with Mr. Potato Head and computer games that have been designed by the Idaho Potato Commission.
Visitors should also make sure to catch at least one of the four short movies that focus on the potato industry in Idaho and other related topics.
There is a small admission fee for adults to enter the potato museum, with a small discount for seniors, servicemembers, and AAA card carriers. Children ages 5 to 12 are also admitted with a discount, and children under the age of 4 are free.
The museum is open Mondays through Saturdays from 9am to 5pm September through May, and Mondays through Saturdays June, July, and August from 9:30am to 7pm. They are closed Sundays and major holidays.
The potato museum offers a fun, educational experience for students of all ages by designing field trips for them to teach them the history in a way that speaks to them on their level. Teachers who are interested in bringing this experience to their classroom should contact the staff at the museum by phone to schedule. Classrooms that have more than 15 students are entitled to a group discount. Tours of the museum will be led by trained and educated potato museum staff and can end with a trip to either the gift shop, the cafe, or both. Students will especially appreciate the Potato Lab, where they can try some hands-on experiment that make use of some of the lessons they may be learning in school - science, math, history, even art. They’ll also love the world’s largest potato chip, a Guinness Book of World Records winner. The museum is the perfect way to make learning fun.
Dining and Shopping
Guests who get hungry while visiting the potato museum (and, who wouldn’t), can stop at the cafe for a full potato dining experience - potatoes are served in salads, baked, in bread, and even chocolate dipped. Also, stop by the Spud Seller and pick up a variety of potato themed offerings. The shop sells potato soup mix to potato soap, the gift shop is the perfect way to take a little bit of the museum home.
Idaho Potato Museum, 130 Northwest Main Street, Blackfoot, ID 82331, Phone: 208-785-2517
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