Spring is springing! With gardening and spring cleaning vying for your weekend attention, family activities can fall by the wayside unless you make a plan. And you don’t want to miss getting out in Southwest Idaho this time of year, no matter what the weather’s like. Read on…and then get going!

Rainy-day fun

1. PLAYLive McCall. McCall’s hottest gaming spot. Open seven days a week, you can’t go wrong with 3D HD TVs, hundreds of the newest XBOX 360 games, weekly tournaments, family tournaments, and space for birthday parties and private events.

2. Museum of Natural History. Tucked away on Caldwell’s College of Idaho campus is the only natural history museum in southwest Idaho. Plan ahead: the museum’s open on Friday afternoons and one Saturday a month. Among its holdings you’ll find Idaho’s largest collection of modern fish, one of the world’s largest collection of Baja California insects, an impressive array of fossils, Native American artifacts and more. 

3. Discovery Center. The Discovery Center’s always a hit with kids, and its new SuperStruct exhibit is beyond cool. Try out the gravity racers, the impact test tower, and plan to spend some quality time at the design and build station and the deconstruction depot. 

4. Gold Fork Hot Springs. So it’s rainy outside but you’re itching for physical activity? Jump in the water at Gold Fork Hot Springs, near Donnelly. You’ll have six pools to choose from, at different temperatures. The natural setting makes this site as beautiful as it is therapeutic. 

Sunny-day adventures

1. Emu-Z-Um Museum. Sixty miles southeast of Boise, this unique place is open March through September. The owners turned their emu ranch (get the name now?) into a replica of an 1860s town. A dozen buildings—a general store, barbershop, jail, saloon and school house, and more—are fully furnished with antique furniture, cameras, clocks, dolls, army uniforms, dishes and much more.

2. Owyhee River. If you’re ready for an adventure, head out to explore the Owyhee River, with its remote canyons and spectacular sand castle rock formations. Camp, hike, fish--and keep a look out for river otters, bighorn sheep and golden eagles. 

3. Bruneau Sand Dunes State Park. What’s not to love about the tallest single-structure sand dunes in North America? Take a hike or rent a sand board, and don’t miss the observatory that opens to the public in early April. The dunes can get hot and bug-ridden in summer, so spring is an ideal time to take the kids.4. Seven Devils Lodge. Just a few miles from Hells Canyon lies one of Idaho’s few working guest ranches. Take a horseback ride, go fishing, or take a deep dive into cowboy life through the Real Cowboy College program. The Lodge has a range of family-sized suites. Make reservations now; it opens in May. 

5. Idaho Botanical Garden. A great way to expose even the littlest ones to the wonders of nature. The Children’s Adventure Garden sports carnivorous plants, a koi pond and a treehouse where kids can spy on the world. Relax on the Garden Swing, nap in the Meditation Garden—and let the older kids roam free in the 15 acres of specialty gardens. 

6. MK Nature Center. Just a few steps off the Boise Greenbelt, follow the popular StreamWalk, complete with a beaver dam, egg window and butterfly garden. There’s fun inside the Visitor Center too: visit the taxidermy bear and bald eagle, touch antlers and skulls, and make animal tracks in the sand.