Garden City Is For Kids
Your next kid-friendly weekend adventure will take you to four square miles of outdoor fun, indoor play, and enough pizza and sugar to satisfy even the most discerning 9-year-old. Garden City is packed with fun destinations for children, including can’t miss summer events and year-round entertainment. Plus, the whole family can play safe: most Garden City businesses require masks for entry. No need to plot your course — we’ve done the work for you!
Breakfast at Pastry Perfection
Time to fuel up for a day of fun! Bakers fill Pastry Perfection’s shiny glass cases with trays upon trays of frosted donuts, iced cinnamon rolls, fresh-baked breads, and fruit-filled danishes every morning. Plus, you’ll find plenty of hot coffee on tap for mom and dad. For some of the most craveable coffee cakes, muffins, and scones you’ll ever eat, check out the stylish Coffee House at Wildflour Bakery, where they churn out the sweets that line specialty grocery stores throughout the Valley.
Asana Climbing Gym
Now that the kiddos are on a sugar high, let them climb the walls! Asana Climbing Gym offers indoor climbing and bouldering in a supportive environment, with routes for newbies and more experienced climbers alike. Good news for parents: kids ages 9-17 climb at a discounted rate. Have the kids test their creative skills at the Reuseum, where they can learn how to build their own hovercrafts, explore magnetism, craft simple circuit boards, or even create a robot! Classes are on hold due to the pandemic, but check the Reuseum’s website for the reopening of its STEM-friendly classes.
Parks, Parks, and More Parks
Garden City boasts a series of beautiful parks, many of them linked by the riverside Greenbelt path that winds through the city. Depending on the time of year, the kids might enjoy swimming at Esther Simplot Park, playing at River Pointe Park, climbing the playground equipment at Riverfront Park, fishing at Riverside Park, tackling the jungle gym at Mystic Cove Park, or watching the surfers (or giving river sports a try themselves) at Boise Whitewater Park.
When you enter the Garden City Public Library, you immediately notice that it’s not your typical hushed-voice hall of books — its slogan is “Not a Quiet Library.” The library’s children’s programming is second to none: Expect crafts, themed story times (yoga, trucks, hummingbirds, and plenty of other kid-friendly topics) music circles, movie-watching parties, movement classes … the list goes on and on. These events have been virtual during the pandemic, but will be in-person as soon as its safe. Check the Garden City Public Library’s website before your visit for an up-to-date schedule and full list of things to do.
Photo provided by the City of Garden City.
Bowling at Westy’s Garden Lanes
Since 1959, Westy’s has been the go-to spot for families who don’t mind a little friendly competition. Kids will love trying to knock down a few pins, and parents will like the price ($18-$20 per hour, plus shoe rentals) … and perhaps the very grown-up drink specials, too.
Bonus Summer Activities
Summer just doesn’t seem complete without a lazy, warm evening watching baseball or hitting the rides at the fair. Luckily for us, you can do both in Garden City!
The Boise Hawks are the Treasure Valley’s own — and only — baseball team, and their longtime home at Memorial Stadium on Glenwood is where generations of kids have developed their love of America’s pastime. It helps that the Hawks make games super kid-friendly. There are on-field competitions geared for children between innings, including the famous round-the-bases race between three kids chosen from the stands — one dressed as a French fry, one as a tater tot, and another as baked potato (how Idaho is that?). All kids get the opportunity to take the field after the game, and they’ll thrill at the post-game fireworks (be sure to check the Hawks’ schedule to make sure they’re planned for the night you attend).
The Western Idaho Fair is as classic as it comes: scream-inducing rides, livestock and food competitions, and all the “what-the-heck-it’s-the-fair” dishes you just won’t get anywhere else. It’s a huge event — the largest in the state — and draws a quarter of a million attendees every year. The 2021 fair is scheduled for August 20-29, 2021, after forgoing 2020’s event due to the pandemic.
Of course, there’s no need to pack all that fun into one day! Make it an adventure weekend by booking a room at the Riverside Hotel, a sprawling resort-like property that backs up to the Boise River. You’ll gain access to a whole host of family fun — a kids’ splash pad at the outdoor pool, music at the Sandbar patio (the Sandbar also offers poolside delivery if Mom and Dad feel like lounging), and bike rental so you can cycle just a few feet and hop on the Greenbelt. No need to leave the fam’s best friend behind, either: the Riverside offers select pet-friendly rooms.