Aquarium of Boise

The other day I read and posted an article about the problems the Aquarium of Boise was having with its roof. Despite several visits to Boise I had never heard of the aquarium before.  Last week during a snowy afternoon I decided to fix this oversight and I was very pleasantly surprised. Below is my review of the Aquarium of Boise:

Where can you watch a stingray ballet, pet one of their marine cousins, observe a crocodile, enjoy an aviary of exotic birds, stick your hand into a tide pool – and do it all indoors? The Aquarium of Boise, of course!

This zoological gem of unique animal exhibits is located in downtown Boise, Idaho just off the Highway 84 Cole Road exit and is open every day of the year except Thanksgiving and Christmas. Encompassing 10,000 totally indoor square feet the aquarium, as the name implies, primarily focuses on ichthylogical species from marine and freshwater environments. But visitors are in for a pleasant surprise thanks to the imagination and vision of the aquarium staff. In addition to aquatic species the aquarium features a reptile exhibit, an aviary, educational posters, and hands on lectures with live animals. It is truly a mini zoo.

These photos do not adequately relay the scope of the aquarium. Go here for more:  Aquarium of Boise

Several of the aquatic exhibits encourage physical contact with the animals but the most unique is the bat ray exhibit. Bat rays, Myliobatis californica, are members of the ray fish family but are distinguished by a far more prominent head. This feature combined with the outstretched fins of the animal give it a bat like appearance, hence its common name. The Aquarium of Boise has a number of these fascinating animals in a large, waist high enclosure. Stand close to the side of the tank and the rays will swim right up to you and pop their unique heads out of the water like puppies waiting to be petted. And you can pet them, too! It is an amazing experience.

There are numerous other aquatic exhibits from tide pools to enormous aquariums bursting with brilliant color. Reptile enclosures feature a variety of snakes and lizards plus a dwarf caiman crocodile, a species not normally encountered in any zoo. The aviary is alive with the sound of lorikeets, small vividly colored parrots. Every single exhibit is generously spacious for the animal and immaculately clean. Every animal is in vibrant health and obviously well cared for. Staff members are not only extraordinarily knowledgeable about the creatures in their care they are very present and eager to talk about them.

With its indoor setting the Aquarium of Boise is truly unique yet it is spacious enough for children and adults to comfortably walk about and explore its numerous zoological features. And there is more to offer still. Lectures are provided for school and outreach programs, and the aquarium is open for special events from “weddings to corporate parties, graduations, to community gatherings.”

I’ve seen many other small city aquariums but none compare to the Aquarium of Boise. During your next trip to the city I highly recommend a visit to this beautiful facility. In fact, you ought to go to Boise just to see it.

Aquarium of Boise

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