Craters of the Moon
Craters of the Moon is a part of Snake River Plain in central Idaho, about 130 miles west of Idaho Falls. The amazing natural structure was formed between 15,000 and 20,000 years ago during a series of eight volcanic eruption periods. These eruptions caused lava to spread and cover over 600 square miles. It's been about 2,000 years since the last eruption in the Craters of the Moon Lava Field, but the geology of the area constantly changes in subtle ways.
The area has several hiking trails of varying difficulties that you can explore. If you want to take just a short walk, you can take the North Crater Flow Trail to see an interesting pahoehoe flow. You can also take the Devil's Orchard Trail, which passes through an area of cinder beds. For a longer hike, try the North Crater Trail, which enters the mouth of the North Crater.
You can also explore several different lava tubes, which are natural, cave-like structures that form from flowing lava. If you plan to visit the lava tubes, make sure to wear long pants and sturdy shoes and bring a helmet and a source of lighting.
Museum of Idaho
The Museum of Idaho is located right in downtown Idaho Falls. It has several exhibits on Idaho's history and natural science. The Local Idaho History area is full of historical artifacts, including many American Indian artifacts, a 1/6th scale reproduction of Lewis and Clark's boat, and the Andrew Henry Rock, which has the earliest known writing to be found in the state. You can also visit the Children's Discovery Room with your kids to see interactive and hands-on activities like crawling through a bear cave and exploring a pioneer log cabin.
The museum is usually open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. from Wednesdays to Saturdays and from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays. Admission is nine dollars for adults and seven dollars for children.
Bruneau Dunes is located about 80 miles southeast of Nampa, Idaho. The park is home to North America's tallest sand dune, which rises 470 feet above the desert floor. The park has a six mile hiking trail that follows a circular path and passes the park's dunes and campgrounds. You can explore the park's dunes and even go dune skiing. Many families choose to camp out at Bruneau Dunes in a rented cabin, RV, or tent.
You and your family can visit the Bruneau Dunes Observatory to see the beautiful sunset and the night sky. For a small fee, you can stargaze through the observatory's telescopes. The observatory is open to the public on Friday and Saturday nights from April to October.