Nestled between the banks of the Boise River and the foot of the Rocky Mountains, Boise offers student travel groups an exciting outdoor experience. The aptly named City of Trees is a recreational paradise, complete with miles of hiking trails and outdoor adventures any school trip can enjoy. Boise also boasts cultural and historical offerings spread throughout the city.
Student Travel Attractions in Boise
While it may be nicknamed the City of Trees, Boise could take on another name: City of Birds. It is home to two bird conservation groups, World Center for Birds of Prey and Idaho Bird Observatory (IBO). The World Center for Birds of Prey houses the Peregrine Fund, a non-profit founded on the concern that the peregrine falcon could go extinct. Your student tour can partake in their education programs and see falcons, eagles and condors firsthand. The Idaho Bird Observatory invites school field trips to lectures, training courses and IBO locations where they can watch the migratory habits of birds.
A little known fact that your student trip may not know about Boise is that it is home to the largest concentration of Basque people in the United States. Originally from the Spanish Basque region, this group of immigrants settled in Boise, setting up a haven where their culture could thrive. Today the Basque Museum and Cultural Center, the only such center in the United States, offers student tours a glimpse at Basque heritage.
For a sample of local history, you can bring your school trip to the Old Idaho Territorial Penitentiary, or the Old Pen. It is one of only four territorial penitentiaries still standing today, giving student tours a rare opportunity to see what prison life was like in the old days. “A visit to the Old Pen can begin with a video presentation recalling prison history, notorious inmates and daily prison life,” says Laurie McConnell, communications manager for the Boise Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Once inside the Yard, visitors can imagine life in the foreboding sandstone cellhouses, see the contrasting beauty of the historic rose gardens and view the effects of the 1973 riot. [You can] visit Solitary Confinement, known as ‘Siberia,’ as well as Death Row and the Gallows.”
If your school trip prefers mining tools to prison cells, the Idaho Museum of Mining and Geology is right next door. This museum is dedicated to Boise’s mining history, taking visitors back to the Gold Rush days. A fresh mix of history and nature can be found at the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial, located on the Boise River. A facility built to embrace the Boise environment, the memorial features two reflective ponds, three waterfalls, a reading circle, an amphitheater and a life-size, bronze sculpture of Anne Frank. Just a step outside of the memorial is the Boise Greenbelt, a 16-mile stretch of green that runs along the river, connecting most of Boise’s public parks. Your student tour will enjoy walking along the paths, and many of the parks offer ideal spots for lunch.
Trolley or Train:Boise Sightseeing for Student Travel Groups
You can take your student tour on a city trolley with Boise Trolley Tours, which offers a 60-minute historic expedition through Boise’s downtown district. The company’s season runs from May to September, so if your school trip is visiting in the off-season, you’ll need to make a special reservation.
Boise’s Gold Rush and mining history can best be seen from the train tracks. Just north of Boise, the Thunder Mountain Line takes student tours through the mountains and along the Payette River. Riders can enjoy the wilderness from an open-air car as they roll on the same tracks that served early settlers.
Student Travel Groups Can Put on a Show in Boise
Boise offers locations where performing student travel programs can showcase their talents. Apart from the many public parks that offer facilities, Boise is home to the largest university in Idaho: Boise State University. The massive campus has venues at the Student Union, the University Square and the Amphitheatre. You will have to contact someone from the Communications and Marketing department.
Serving Up the Best Student Dining in Boise
With Boise’s diverse culture, there are plenty of dining options for your student travel group. The Basque community has a market downtown where student tours can venture for a quick bite. The market sells freshly made sandwiches and soups as well as Spanish-style tapas.
Boise offers a range of cuisines, so every palate—no matter how picky—can be satisfied. Take your school trip over to Brick Oven Bistro for classic American fare at a decent price, or head to Casanova Pizzeria, where your crew can dive into a wood-fired pie. But for a taste of original Boise, you need to get your students a plate of finger steaks. Two restaurants claiming to have the best finger steaks are O’Michaels and Sockeye Brewpub. Whichever one you choose, these greasy delicacies are sure to add a memorable dining experience to a school trip.
Student Accommodations in Boise
With almost 70 hotels in Boise, there are plenty of good options for student accommodations within the city. Your best bet is to start with Best Western Northwest Lodge. While it is a chain hotel, this location incorporates a feel of Idaho with its lodge décor, and your student travel group will be pleased with the complimentary breakfast. Safari Inn has a prime location near the Basque Cultural Center and the Capital Building, along with decent rates and free breakfast. Another option that may be well suited for student tours is Candlewood Suites. The hotel is close to Boise Town Square Mall, where students can enjoy a casual shopping experience, and room prices are economical for a school trip. You can also look in the neighboring towns of Meridian and Nampa for more hotel options.
With its mixture of culture and recreation, Boise is the perfect city for your next student trip. Your student travel group will thrive in the picturesque setting.