Mar 312015

We love exploring America’s back roads and small towns and finding overlooked gems that the tourist brochures never cover. In a series of weekly blog posts we will be sharing some of America’s lesser-known small town museums, historic sites, and oddball attractions, on a state-by-state basis. We don’t have room to cover each and every attraction in every state, but hope to give you some ideas for places to see your travels.

Boise: You can see the cells where some of Idaho’s most desperate desperados were held on a tour of the Old Idaho Penitentiary here.

Boise: Mining artifacts, photographs, and mineral specimens help tell the story of Idaho’s mining heritage at the Idaho Museum of Mining and Geology.

Boise: More than 200 falcons and condors are housed for breeding purposes at the World Center for Birds of Prey, which has raised and released over 4,000 peregrine falcons into the wild. Visitors can tour the center and learn about raptors and their place in the world of nature.

Boise: The Basque Museum and Cultural Center tells the story of the Basque people who helped settle Idaho.

Boise: Located on the campus of Boise State University, the Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame celebrates all that is good in sport and honors those special athletes who go beyond the game through their efforts in their communities. Whether it’s providing a safe haven and scholarships for troubled youth, mentoring programs in the community, or helping war victims; each of the athletes honored has used their athletic success to help others.

Boise: The Idaho Black History Museum tells the story of the struggles and triumphs of African Americans in Idaho from the Great Depression through World War II and the Civil Rights movement.

Boise: The Idaho Military History Museum tells the story of the contributions citizens of the state have made to America’s wars from the Philippine Insurrection to today’s battles in the Mideast.

Special Forces

Coeur d’Alene: The history of northern Idaho is recorded at the Museum of North Idaho with exhibits on early explorers, pioneers, loggers, railroads, steamships, and Native Americans.

Hagerman: Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument contains the largest concentration of Hagerman Horse fossils in North America. The Monument protects the world’s richest known fossil deposits from a time period called the late Pliocene epoch, about 3-4 million years ago. Over 200 species of plants and animals have been found at the monument, representing the last glimpse of time that existed before the Ice Age and the earliest appearances of modern flora and fauna.

Montpelier: The National Oregon/California Trail Center offers visitors a unique and entertaining adventure – simulating an actual wagon train experience of the 1850s, featuring historically accurate interpretive areas and live actors, and an extensive collection of displays and exhibits.

Moscow: The history of the Appaloosa horse, the spotted steed that is Idaho’s official state horse, is explored at the Appaloosa Museum and Heritage Center.

Nampa: The Warhawk Air Museum preserves World War II history from the home front to the war front, and aviation history from the advent of flight through the space age. Exhibits include historic aircraft, antique automobiles, artifacts and memorabilia.

Parma: A replica of the old Hudson Bay Company fur trading post, Fort Boise displays artifacts and exhibits on territorial history.

Pocatello: Fort Hall is a replica of the historic trading post that served pioneer travelers along the Oregon Trail. Visitors can enter the massive wooden gates and wander through the Company Hall, Frontier Room, Indian Room, Factor’s Quarter, Blacksmith, and Carpenter’s Room.

Rigby: The Jefferson County TV and Pioneer Museum honors the achievements of hometown boy Philo T. Farnsworth, who never finished high school, yet is credited with inventing television, the baby incubator, and held over 300 patents in his lifetime.

Spalding: At the Nez Perce National Historical Park, a video and museum tells the story of the Nez Perce Indians, known for their prowess with horses.

Head dress

Wallace: While in Wallace you can tour the Oasis Bordello Museum, a former brothel.


Wallace: Visitors can descend underground to see what life was like for hard rock silver miners on the Sierra Silver Mine Tour.

Weiser: The National OldTime Fiddlers Contest is held here every year, and a visit will have your toes tapping before you know it.

Thought For The Day – I don’t understand your specific brand of crazy, but I do admire your total commitment to it.

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Nick Russell

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  2 Responses to “Overlooked America – Idaho”

  1. I’m enjoying your Overlooked America series – lots of great ideas of places to visit one day! We’ve spent a bit of time in northern Idaho over the years and there are a lot of fascinating places there. Wallace is a fun town to explore – haven’t been to the Bordello Museum that you mentioned, but have always enjoyed checking out the shops etc. when we’re there. Murray is another great old mining town to visit. The Sprague Pole Museum there is really interesting and you can get a drink and bite to eat in the bar next door. Looking forward to seeing what you have for the other states.

  2. I’m enjoying these Overlooked America posts you do, as well. I’m a soon to be full-time solo RVer, of the Canadian variety, and am looking forward to seeing the less well-known parts of your fair country as well as such places in my own.

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