Annual Manual » Annual Manual: Recreation

Beyond the Swingset

It's not just grass in parks these days


Parks have gotten a bit of a boring rap. Sure, they're full of grass, perfect for spreading a blanket across and reading a book, and trees provide a nice respite from UV rays. But there's the dog droppings, the geese that always seem to be threatening to bite, and—for the slightly ADD—kind of nothing to do.

But fear not, area parks are upping the level of badassery and giving patrons something other to do than suntan. Don't worry, you can still kick it with nature but have a little more fun.

For those channeling their inner William Tell, a visit to the archery range—an addition to Military Reserve Park (750 Mountain Cove Road, Boise)—may be the perfect nature venture. Unfortunately you can't shoot an apple off someone's head without violating the range rules.

The sounds of summer wouldn't be complete without crickets chirping, and Ann Morrison Park (1000 Americana Blvd., Boise) allows for a different kind of cricket noise. The sprawling outdoor fun center is home to a field dedicated to the England-born sport, which doubles as a soccer field in the fall.

If you're feeling more like Italian, check out the bocce ball courts available in Boise parks. Ann Morrison, Julia Davis (700 S. Capitol Blvd., Boise) and Municipal (500 S. Walnut St., Boise) parks all have a space for you to toss some balls around.

Catalpa Park (4516 W. Catalpa Drive, Boise) allows rec enthusiasts to enjoy the classic outdoor game of horseshoes. Rock a Stetson hat, put a little drawl in your speech and work on your tossing skills.

If you want to kick back outdoors but aren't big into reading, Settlers Park (3245 N. Meridian Road, Meridian) offers a fishing pond, and the little ones can even check out the climbing wall and splash pad.

Lakeview Park in Nampa (131 Constitution Way, Nampa) allows bike fans to kick it into gear with a BMX track.

And then, of course, there's Boise's new favorite pastime: disc golf. The sport has exploded in the past few years and courses abound in parks across the state. Grab a six-pack and your bag o' fancy Frisbees and head to Ann Morrison, Julia Davis, Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area or Settlers Park. You can download course maps online. Sure, it may be a little frustrating for newbies—just like regular golf—but it's totally worth it.

Get up, get moving and go see all the fun, quirky amenities Idaho parks have to offer. Picnics are still OK, just don't feed the geese.