Fun & Interesting Idaho Facts for Kids

Idaho is a fascinating place for kids to learn about. Known for its famous potatoes, this northwestern state also boasts stunning mountain landscapes and vast areas of protected wilderness. Idaho is the 14th largest state in the United States but one of the least populated, making it a unique destination with plenty of space to explore.

Let’s dive into some fun and exciting facts about Idaho you can share with your family and friends!

Idaho map surrounded by state symbols: potato, gemstone, trout. Sun sets over mountains

One prominent feature of Idaho is its outdoor recreation opportunities. The Boise River is a favored spot for fishing and rafting, providing lots of fun for adventurous families. With miles of hiking trails, kids can discover the Mountain Bluebird, Idaho’s state bird, along the many scenic paths.

In addition to nature, Idaho has some interesting cultural attractions. For example, the Idaho Potato Museum in Blackfoot offers a quirky, tuber-themed experience that children will find both fun and educational. These varied elements combined make Idaho an intriguing state full of surprises for kids to uncover.

Geography and Nature

Rolling hills, lush forests, and winding rivers fill the landscape of Idaho. Snow-capped mountains tower in the distance, while wildlife roams freely

Idaho is known for its stunning landscapes and diverse natural features. From towering mountains and deep river canyons to unique wildlife and plant species, the state offers a rich array of natural wonders.

Mountains and Landscapes

Idaho is home to parts of the Rocky Mountains, with rugged peaks and vast wilderness areas. Borah Peak, at 12,662 feet, is the highest point in Idaho. The Craters of the Moon National Monument features a unique volcanic landscape with extensive lava fields.

Hells Canyon, the deepest river gorge in North America, extends along the border with Oregon. This impressive canyon reaches depths of 7,900 feet, offering dramatic views and challenging hiking trails. The state’s varied terrain includes everything from high desert plains to dense forests.

Rivers and Water Features

The Snake River is one of Idaho’s most important waterways, cutting through much of the state. It provides vital water resources and recreation opportunities such as fishing and boating. Shoshone Falls, located on the Snake River, is often called the “Niagara of the West” and plunges 45 feet more than Niagara Falls.

Idaho boasts over 3,100 miles of rivers, more than any other state in the contiguous United States. These rivers and numerous lakes offer habitats for fish, birds, and other wildlife, as well as activities like rafting and swimming.

Flora and Fauna

Idaho’s diverse ecosystems support a variety of plants and animals. The state bird, the Mountain Bluebird, is frequently seen in open areas and forests. Idaho’s state tree, the White Pine, stands tall in many of the state’s forests, providing habitat for wildlife.

Large mammals like moose roam the forests and wetlands. Idaho is also home to many smaller animals, birds, and plants that thrive in its varied environments. The state’s natural beauty and resources make it a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.

History and Culture

Idaho's iconic landmarks and symbols, such as the potato, state bird, and state flower, are surrounded by beautiful natural landscapes, including mountains, rivers, and forests

Idaho has a rich history and culture shaped by its Native American roots, statehood journey, and notable residents. These elements illustrate the unique heritage and development of the state.

Native American Heritage

Idaho has a deep Native American history, with tribes like the Shoshone, Kootenai, and Nez Perce living in the area for thousands of years. These tribes were known for their rich traditions and their knowledge of the land. They hunted, fished, and gathered plants, developing a deep connection with nature. The Lewis and Clark Expedition met several of these tribes, whose help was essential to their journey. Native American culture remains a key part of Idaho’s identity today.

Statehood and Development

Idaho became the 43rd state of the United States on July 3, 1890. Before statehood, it was explored by Europeans including fur traders and settlers looking for mining opportunities. The area’s development accelerated after treaties like the Oregon Treaty of 1846, which settled land disputes.

When President Benjamin Harrison signed the statehood law, Idaho’s population was around 88,548. Boise became the capital, and George L. Shoup served briefly as the first governor. The state’s rural and mining economy slowly grew into agriculture and industry, shaping its modern landscape.

Notable Idahoans

Several notable people have called Idaho home. Ernest Hemingway, the famous author, spent his final years in Ketchum, Idaho, where he wrote some of his last works. Joe Albertson, who founded the Albertsons grocery store chain, was another key figure.

Historical figures like George M. Willing, who named the state, also played significant roles. These individuals contributed to Idaho’s cultural and economic growth, making lasting impacts on the community.

Economy and Agriculture

Vast fields of potatoes stretch across the Idaho landscape, with farmers working diligently to harvest the crop. Tractors and machinery are busy at work, while the sun shines brightly overhead

Idaho’s economy features diverse industries with a strong focus on agriculture, especially potato farming, and mining of precious stones. The state is also involved in other industries, contributing to its unique economic landscape.

Potato Farming

Idaho is famous for its potato farming, producing nearly one-third of the potatoes grown in the United States. The state’s rich volcanic soil, ideal climate, and advanced farming techniques contribute to high-quality potato crops.

In towns like Blackfoot, visitors can explore the Idaho Potato Museum and learn about the history and impact of potato farming in the region. The museum even features a giant baked potato statue. Potatoes from Idaho are exported across the country and prized for their taste and quality.

Mining and Gems

Idaho is known as the Gem State, boasting various precious stones and minerals. One of the most famous is the Star Garnet, found mainly in Idaho and India. Silver City, once a bustling mining town, is rich in history and silver mining heritage.

Besides silver, Idaho has valuable gold deposits. The state is also known for mining other minerals like phosphate and molybdenum. The mining industry plays a significant role in Idaho’s economy, providing jobs and contributing to the state’s wealth.

Other Industries

While agriculture and mining are key, Idaho’s economy also thrives on other industries. The state has a growing tech sector in cities like Boise, attracting companies and startups. Food processing, lumber, and manufacturing are also important, supporting the local economy.

Additionally, Idaho’s natural beauty boosts tourism, with fishing, hiking, and protected wilderness areas attracting visitors. These diverse industries help Idaho maintain a balanced and robust economy, ensuring economic stability and growth for its residents.

Recreation and Tourism

Idaho's diverse landscape: mountains, rivers, and forests. Tourists hiking, fishing, and camping. Famous landmarks like Shoshone Falls and Craters of the Moon

Idaho is a treasure trove of recreational activities and exciting destinations, perfect for kids and families to explore. From thrilling outdoor adventures to historical landmarks, there’s something for everyone.

Outdoor Activities

Idaho’s natural landscapes offer plenty of outdoor activities that can inspire kids to get outside and explore. Hiking is popular, with trails that wind through the Sawtooth Wilderness and the stunning Silver City.

Fishing and rafting on the Boise River provide exciting water-based activities. Hiking enthusiasts will also find inspiration along trails in Twin Falls, featuring breathtaking waterfalls and scenic views.

In Sun Valley, families can enjoy activities like skiing in winter and mountain biking or horseback riding in summer. The area around Coeur D’Alene boasts beautiful forests and Lake Coeur D’Alene, perfect for boating and fishing. Nature lovers will appreciate the abundant wildlife and opportunities for bird watching.

Points of Interest

Idaho is home to several points of interest that captivate young minds. Idaho Falls offers a mix of culture and outdoor fun with its parks and the interactive Museum of Idaho.

Silver City, a well-preserved ghost town, invites children to imagine life during the gold rush era. The Zions Bank Building, the tallest in Idaho, stands as a notable architectural attraction in Boise.

Another must-visit destination is the Sun Valley Resort, known for its excellent amenities and year-round family activities. This resort offers everything from winter sports to summer concerts. The city of Coeur D’Alene is not to be missed, with its historic downtown, art galleries, and the beautiful lake that provides a scenic backdrop for many activities.

State Symbols and Icons

Idaho state flag flying over scenic mountains and a flowing river, with a potato field in the background

Idaho, known as the “Gem State,” boasts a variety of unique state symbols and popular cultural icons. These elements highlight the natural beauty and cultural heritage of the state.

Official State Emblems

Idaho’s state emblems represent its rich natural resources and heritage. The Mountain Bluebird is the state bird, known for its vibrant blue color. The Star Garnet, the state gem, is a rare and beautiful gemstone found mainly in Idaho and India.

The state tree is the Western White Pine, appreciated for its height and strong wood. The Lewis’s Mock Orange is Idaho’s state flower, named after the famous explorer Meriwether Lewis. These symbols reflect Idaho’s nickname, the “Gem of the Mountains.”

Idaho in Popular Culture

Idaho has some quirky and fun cultural icons. The Idaho Spud, a candy bar made of chocolate and marshmallow, is a classic treat. There’s also the ice cream potatoes, a dessert that looks like a baked potato but is made of vanilla ice cream, cocoa, and whipped cream.

The Smurf Turf at Boise State University, famous for its blue color, is another notable icon. These symbols contribute to Idaho’s unique identity and charm. Whether it’s the natural landmarks or fun food items, Idaho’s culture is rich with interesting symbols that kids will find fascinating.

Unique Idaho Trivia

Idaho landmarks like Shoshone Falls and Craters of the Moon. Potatoes, mining, and wildlife. Idaho map with state flag

Idaho, known as “The Gem State,” lives up to its nickname. Nearly all types of gemstones have been found here, including the largest diamond ever discovered in the United States.

With a population of about 1.9 million, Idaho has Boise as its largest city. Boise is a hub of culture and activity, making it a notable spot in the state.

The Shoshone Falls, often called the “Niagara of the West,” is a stunning natural feature. It’s even higher than the famous Niagara Falls!

Idaho produces about one-third of the potatoes grown in the United States. That’s around 27 billion potatoes each year!

Fun Facts:

  • The Salmon River is the longest free-flowing river that flows entirely within a single U.S. state.
  • Bruneau Dunes State Park has North America’s tallest single-structured sand dune.
  • The State Bird is the Mountain Bluebird, often seen on Idaho’s beautiful hiking trails.

Archaeologists have discovered ancient artifacts in Idaho, showing human activity in the area for thousands of years. The state is rich in history and culture.

Idaho shares a border with Canada, offering cross-border experiences between the two countries.

In the winter, visitors can enjoy one of the world’s longest single-stage chairlifts found at the ski areas. This makes Idaho a popular destination for snow lovers.

The Appaloosa horse, embraced by the Nez Perce tribe, is the state animal and an important part of local heritage.

Stephanie Creek