All Sun and Games: Your Guide to an Unforgettable Family Weekend in Meridian

Do your summer travel plans include a trip to the largest waterpark in the Northwest? Are you content to let the kids play on their iPads from June to August? If not, it’s time to add a weekend to Meridian, Idaho to your bucket list.

Dubbed “The Center of the Treasure Valley,” Meridian is home to many gems, including Roaring Springs Waterpark and Wahooz Family Fun Zone. Both attractions are located next door to one another and promise a memorable two days for the entire family.

Ready to plan your trip? Here’s our play-by-play for an unforgettable getaway in Meridian.


Day 1: Arrived! Let the Adventure Begin

Meridian is a doable drive or direct flight from many major Northwest cities, so you can take your time getting here and still have time to explore.

After arriving in Meridian, check in at one of many hotels located a short distance away from Roaring Springs and Wahooz. If you choose to check out the city, there are plenty of indoor and outdoor activities to keep the little ones occupied, along with a variety of dining options to make mealtimes a breeze.

Day 2: A Million Gallons of Thrills at Roaring Springs Waterpark

Pack your (beach) bags for a fun-filled day in the sun and surf! Roaring Springs, now one of the largest waterparks in the entire U.S. after a major expansion in 2023, provides action for adventure seekers young and old(er). If relaxation is what you’re after, lounge in one of 16 luxury cabanas while the kids splash down more than 20 water attractions.

Hot Tip: Bring sunscreen, goggles, bathing suits, towels, water shoes/flip flops, reusable water bottles (no glass), and towels.

MAKE A SPLASH FASTER

Roaring Springs opens at 11 a.m., and if you buy your tickets in advance at www.roaringsprings.com, you can skip the ticket line, get your bags checked, and go right through the turnstile. If you have kids close to the 48” height requirement, stop at Guest Relations for a handy bracelet to skip height checks for kids 48” and taller at each attraction.

Once inside, claim a spot to serve as your family’s home base. Better yet, reserve a cabana in advance and you’ll have your own shaded oasis for the entire day. Booking a cabana comes with an additional perk: attentive servers ready to take your food and drink orders while you unwind. (Yes, please.) 

Hot Tip: Our ticket pick is the Triple the Fun Pass, which gets you a full day admission at Roaring Springs and a Wahooz Ultimate Unlimited Fun Pass for a discounted rate.

SLIDE INTO SUMMER

Once you’ve gotten settled, it’s time to show the kids how it’s done — by dominating one (or all!) of Roaring Springs’ 20 water slides and attractions. Whether you’re riding single, double, or as a family, there’s a slide for everyone, ranging in intensity from mellow to exhilarating.

Adrenaline junkies will love Roaring Springs’ two family raft rides, including Mammoth Canyon, with banking curve after curve (in the dark!) and Thunder Falls, where you’ll catch air on three big drops. Easy riders can take a relaxing float around the meandering Endless River, with a refreshing waterfall along the way.

SIPS AND SNACKS

When you’re ready to recharge, eight food carts and restaurants onsite serve a variety of grub to satisfy even the pickiest eaters. We recommend sitting down for lunch at the newly built Geyser Grill and Bar — or order right from your cabana. There’s something for everyone, too, from tasty rice bowls and fried potstickers to kid favorites like pizza, burgers, shredded beef nachos, and mac-and-cheese bites. For those 21 and older, Idaho-inspired craft beers and signature cocktails are also available.

Hot Tip: Hot summer days call for a splurge on Dippin’ Dots (or, parents can sip on a Meridian Mule — our indulgence of choice when the craving for an adult beverage strikes).

DUNK (OR GET DUNKED)

Mosey over to the new Critter Crossing for a rousing match of water basketball, or navigate the adventure pool and its forest themed floating features. Another new kid-friendly attraction is Roaring Springs’ Camp IdaH20, a massive, wilderness-themed play structure with seven junior slides, over 80 interactive features, a shallow lagoon, and Tippin’ Tater, a 650-gallon potato tipping bucket.

RIVER RUN

Next, grab a kickboard and head to Class 5 Canyon to ride the waves of Idaho’s first action river. This is a whitewater experience for all ages, with life jackets available for less experienced swimmers. Also not to be missed: a head-to-head race down the four-lane Racing Ridge…the kids will love beating dad to the checkered flag.

TURN IN

As the sun sets on your first full day in Meridian, you’ll return to your hotel room with exhausted (but happy) kids, full tummies, and great memories. Success!

Day 3: Play All Day at Wahooz Family Fun Zone

Next, you’ll level up your weekend at Wahooz — Idaho’s largest family entertainment center. Here you’ll find 15 indoor and outdoor attractions, including miniature golf, bumper boats, go-karts, a ropes course, Twister ride, bowling, and over 80 indoor arcade games.

Hot Tip: As with Roaring Springs, you can purchase passes to Wahooz in advance online. Wahooz and Roaring Springs both offer Pay ’n Play cashless wristbands for easy transactions for parents, and kids.

 

TEE OFF

Start your day on the green with a lively round of miniature golf. Kids of all ages can put their putting skills to the test on two elaborately designed, 18-hole courses, Hillbilly Hollow and Caverns Mill. Now’s the time to show your competitive streak — there’s a surprise waiting if you sink a hole in one.

START YOUR ENGINES

Next, put your pedal to the metal and make some fast laps on the go-kart tracks. There are three options depending on age and skill level: rookie go-karts for young riders, a two-person ride around a two-level, eight figure track, and slick track for peel-outs and fishtails to the finish. As the day warms up, cool off with a water fight on the Blaster Boats.

GAME ON

Strike up a little fun at Pinz Bowling Center, located inside Wahooz. With 24 lanes and a dedicated dining area, there’s plenty of room to stretch your legs (and your bellies). Enjoy appetizers, entrees, and desserts served right at your lane, along with cocktails for the grownups.

Hot Tip: For dessert, order the Wahzookie Cookie. This shareable treat consists of a massive chocolate chip cookie served with cookie dough ice cream and a drizzle of caramel and chocolate sauce.

MISSION: POSSIBLE

Whether your family prefers the playground or the battleground, you’ll find several exciting skills-based attractions at Wahooz. A recently remodeled laser tag arena features full LED-illumination and enhanced sound, and laser mazes let you navigate the beams and test your spy skills.

For those wanting to swing, slide, and climb, check out the ropes course, climbing wall, and Ballocity, a four-level play structure with tubes, slides, bridges, and other obstacles.

RIDE ON

Continue the thrills with the indoor rides at Wahooz. Get a head start assessing your kiddos’ driving skills via bumper cars, or choose your own adventure with The Twister, which allows riders to spin their four swinging capsules to create the ride they want. XD Dark Ride, an eight-seat, full motion, 7D interactive experience allows you to compete with other riders in six different mini-movie adventures.

BEAT THE HIGH SCORE

Arcade enthusiasts will find games galore at Wahooz. Settle a sibling rivalry at the air hockey table, or have a friendly family pinball championship. Many of the games award top performers with points stored on your wristband to trade in at the end of your visit for prizes.

WIND DOWN

After three days of sun and games in Meridian, you’ll finally be able to check “unforgettable weekend with the kids” off your summer bucket list. Even better, everyone in the family will return home with memories to last a lifetime.

Your Meridian Summer ’24 Checklist

The days are still chilly and the kids are still hopping on the school bus every morning — which makes this the perfect time to start dreaming up your family’s super-fun summer vacation. We’ve put together a list of can’t-miss activities (both indoor and outdoor) so you can maximize every moment of your sunny stay. You can even start booking now!

Create a Splash at Roaring Springs

The largest water park in the Northwest is back for the season and bigger than ever! In 2023, Roaring Springs completed a huge expansion — three new super-fun attractions, 16 shady cabanas, and a brand new bar and grill. And that’s on top of the more than 20 kid-friendly attractions that have made Roaring Springs an essential summer stop for visitors and locals alike. Children (naturally) love it, but there are also plenty of ways for adults to join the splashy fun, like the park’s luxury cabanas. You’ll snag a guaranteed spot in the shade, cushioned seating for lounging, and food and alcohol service for up to 16 people.

To Do Now: It’s not too early to book your cabana and purchase your passes. You can save $23 with a Triple the Fun pass, which will unlock full-day admission to Roaring Springs or its sister park, Wahooz (read more about Wahooz below). And you can split it! Enjoy both parks in one day or visit separately any time during the season, which runs from May 11-Sept. 15.

Go Wild at Wahooz!

This insanely popular year-round extravaganza of fun next to Roaring Springs is loaded with 15 indoor and outdoor attractions. Your kids will discover all of their favorites here: Mini golf. Kid-friendly bowling. A massive arcade. Go-karts. Bumper boats. Laser tag. Even a ropes course and climbing wall! Wahooz is ideal for birthday parties, family reunions, or just an afternoon of excitement so the kids hit the hay on time. You don’t even need to leave for lunch — Wahooz has it covered with the Stargazer Grill and Z Bar and Grill. Be sure to purchase the Triple the Fun pass so the fam can experience Roaring Springs, too.

To Do Now: If you’re planning for a group, book your room before you leave for your trip to Meridian. Wahooz offers several group packages to make your visit an event.

Have Some Good Old Idaho Fun

It doesn’t get more Idaho than Dairy Days, Meridian’s annual celebration of its ag roots. But don’t worry — there’s no farm experience required to have a blast at this annual event, which takes place from June 27-29. Arrive hungry for a classic pancake breakfast, watch the parade make its way through Downtown Meridian, check out ag competitions, or cheer on this year’s Dairy Princess. Of course, Dairy Days will have a full carnival on site, complete with thrilling rides and your favorite fair foods. Come see why this event has been a beloved tradition for nearly 100 years!

To Do Now: Book your hotel room now. Dairy Days is based in Downtown Meridian, so if you’d like to leave the car in the hotel parking lot and walk to the action, choose lodging close to the center of town. And don’t forget to make restaurant reservations!

Practice Your Swing While Having a Ball

Meridian’s Topgolf location is the perfect place to perfect your game … and no need to take a long walk while doing it. Instead, you can lounge to your heart’s content in one of the 60 all-weather bays, watch TV on one of the 100+ screens (including a 22-foot video wall), and have ice-cold beers delivered to take the edge off a hot summer’s day. Topgolf is one of the most popular spots in the Treasure Valley — especially in the summer — so it’s a good idea to book your reservation before you arrive.

To Do Now: Mark your calendar to secure your reservation. A bay can be booked up to seven days in advance.

Satisfy Your Need for Speed

If you’re a speed fanatic, nothing says summer like the smell of hot pavement and the squeal of tires at Meridian Speedway. This longtime fixture of the racing circuit is a favorite of parents and kids alike, and there’s enough variety to tempt both experienced speedway fans and newbies. This season will include several nights of NASCAR Trucks action — mark your calendars for the Aug. 9-10 doubleheader.

To Do Now: Check out the summer schedule so you can plan your visit (if you want some extra action, choose days when the Speedway will also host fireworks displays). You can purchase tickets online in advance.

Picnic in the Parks

Meridian’s many parks offer options on a fine summer’s day: Will you go fishing at Fuller Park’s stocked pond? Take the kids for a dip in the Meridian Pool at Storey Park? Break out the skateboard for a stint at the Tully Park skatepark? Or maybe simply people watch at the urban Generations Plaza? With 25 parks to choose from, the city is your oyster.

To Do Now: Reserve a park facility, such as a shelter, for your outing. Reservations for the summer season open in February and the Meridian Parks Department has a handy guide with frequently asked questions here.

Take a Break From Reality

New worlds appear when you pop on a pair of VR goggles. At VR1 Arcade, which specializes in multiplayer experiences, you can choose your game from 14 different categories and immerse yourself in a virtual universe. It’s the perfect place for a group of kids (and adults!) — not to mention a fantastic air-conditioned option when the temps climb. Be sure to book your spot in advance, though, because VR1 is in demand.

To Do Now: Book your session at the arcade — the venue is already accepting reservations for the summer season.

Head to The Village

You don’t go to The Village simply to shop. You go to have an experience: some browsing, some buying, a good meal, a cold drink, even a movie or an evening of games at Big Al’s. It’s easy to spend an entire day at this palatial outdoor mall packed with national brands and local favorites. You’ll find plenty of great sit-down dining experiences, as well as a brand-new In-N-Out Burger that made national news for the crowds that lined up in excitement for its opening day. (Yes, folks really did wait eight hours!)

To Do Now: Keep tabs on the Happenings page of The Village’s website. Your visit might coincide with additional can’t-miss fun.

Sip in the Sunshine

Meridian is just a short drive away from Idaho’s wine trail, but you don’t have to miss out if you’re not able to make it to the Sunnyslope grape growing region. Maddie’s Wine and Whiskey, Bodovino, Vintage 61 Wine Bar and A New Vintage Wine Shop can introduce you to wines from Idaho and beyond. No matter where you go, be sure to pick up a bottle to take home and sip in the sun.

To Do Now: Give yourself a crash course in Idaho wines — and if you’re interested in visiting Vintage 61, please note that reservations are always recommended.

Savor Something Sweet

Meridian’s homegrown ice cream shops dole out scoops, cups, and sundaes to add a little sweetness to your summer day. You won’t want to miss the homemade Huckleberry Cheesecake flavor at Reed’s Dairy, the Malted Milk Chipper at Lovejoy’s Real Ice Cream, the Cake Batter at Stella’s Ice Cream, the Pecan Ball Sundae at Delsa’s, or the Boston Shake (your choice of milkshake flavor topped with your choice of ice cream sundae on top) at Fanci Freez.

To Do Now: Visit each website to check out new seasonal flavors. Some locations, like Lovejoy’s, change week to week.

You’ll find even more ideas to fuel your summer fun on our trip itineraries page! You can plan your entire trip,  including lodging and restaurants, on our website. Remember to book tickets to events and reserve your spot at popular places like Topgolf in advance — they fill up fast!

 

 

Get Cozy! These Winter Destinations Supply the Fun but Skip the Cold

With more than 210 days of sun a year, heading outside is always Plan A for visitors to Meridian. But when wintry weather gets in the way — or you just need a change of pace — it’s time for Plan B. We’ve put together some of the best destinations for maximum coziness, comfort, and downright fun.

Get the Wiggles Out
Just because the kids are inside doesn’t mean they need to feel cooped up! Meridian boasts some of the top family-friendly spots in Southwestern Idaho — even your most energetic kiddo will sleep tight after a visit to one of these dynamic destinations.

Big Al’s
We’re filing this under destinations for kids, but here’s a not-so-secret bit of info: Adults flock to this sprawling funtime palace, too. With 66,000 square feet, we’re pretty sure everyone in the family will find something to do: upscale bowling, an arcade packed with games, a sports bar with every big game on TV. Don’t forget to check out the Daily Deals page of the Big Al’s website before you go — you could score more fun for less.

The Children’s Museum of Idaho
For once, your kids don’t have to keep their hands off the exhibits! This engaging learning museum is geared for children 2-8 and features interactive displays designed to spur their curiosity. They’ll love playing on the museum’s pirate ship, learning about science through playful crafts and activities, or exploring the cave full of live creatures (don’t worry, the critters are behind glass). Check the museum’s website before planning your trip, because you won’t want the kids to miss their special classes, theme days, or group activities. Traveling with a crowd or celebrating a birthday? Book your special event in advance and make it one to remember.

Jump Time
If your kids are bouncing off the walls (literally), make Jump Time your next stop. They’ll be wowed by trampolines galore, extreme dodgeball, a ninja warrior course, a laser maze, VR headsets, and slam dunk basketball. If it’s too cold to skate outside, they can even “skate” indoors on a synthetic ice rink. Be sure to pack grippy socks, because the kids will need them to participate.

Meridian Lanes
This classic bowling lane has been a family fun favorite for decades, and it’s easy to see why: You can’t beat the combination of knocking down pins, cold beverages, hot snacks like street tacos and Angus beef burgers, and reasonable rates. Even on Friday and Saturday nights, you won’t spend more than $30 per hour for a lane and shoe rentals are less than $4.

Wahooz Family Fun Zone
Roaring Springs may be closed for the season, but its neighboring sister arcade, Wahooz, serves up the fun all winter long. The kids can test their skills in the all-new laser tag arena, catch a thrilling movie-inspired adventure on the XD Dark Ride, smash into each other with bumper cars, or swing themselves silly on the Twister … and that’s just for starters. Check out the Wahooz site for a full list of activities and specials, including unlimited indoor attractions for $30 on Thursdays.

Indulge a Little
Whether you’re in Meridian for a girls’ weekend, to hang out with your best buds for high school, or simply to explore the area, it’s always good to plan a little indulgence or two.

Bodovino
Bodovino is a fresh take on wine tasting. Whether you’ve been dying to try a lavishly expensive Bordeaux or a smooth cabernet from Idaho’s own Snake River Valley, you can sip to your heart’s content at Bodovino in The Village. This unique wine bar/eatery has 56 Wine Emotion machines that dispense small tastes or generous pours of wines from around the world.

Lovejoy’s Real Ice Cream
This family owned-and-operated ice cream shop serves up a boggling array of flavors. Try a scoop of blueberry cream, savor a cup of banana cream pie, or even sample something out of the ordinary — ever had black licorice ice cream? If you can’t decide, don’t worry: You can order a flight and taste several. Everything is made in small batches from scratch in house.

Maddie’s Wine and Whiskey
This place will leave you in fine spirits (pun fully intended) with playful cocktails like the Mad-Hattan (Piggy Back Rye, Averna, and chocolate bitters), the Woo Girl (Party Animal Vodka, strawberry, basil, citrus, simple, and soda) and the Empress of Bainbridge (Empress 1908 Gin, Soho Lychee, dry rosé, lemon, agave, and soda). If you’re only in town for the weekend, pop in Sunday for a bite and $5 bloody marys and $4 mimosas.

A New Vintage Wine Shop
Sit down to one of the coziest wine experiences you’ll ever have at A New Vintage. Their wine bar features a rotating selection of handpicked wines from around the world, all available by the glass. After a glass or two, browse the shop, where you’ll find accessories for wine lovers — think convenient wine coolers, hilarious signs for your kitchen, and bar accessories.

Who Says It’s Too Cold to Golf?
Golf is never out of season in Meridian. Even when our courses are closed, you’ll still find plenty of ways to perfect your game so you can be in top form once spring rolls around.

Top Golf
One of the country’s newest Top Golf destinations stays open all year long, so you can practice your swing when the temperatures dip (don’t worry, the bays are climate controlled). Bring your own clubs or rent them for free at the venue, then settle in for fun: sip on a craft cocktail, nosh on bite-size snacks or pizza between swings, and let the high-tech balls keep score for you. Plan some time before or after your session to enjoy the bar and high-def TVs — what’s better than playing golf and watching your favorite team in the same afternoon?

PGA Tour Superstore
Stock up on your favorite gear now so you’re ready to hit the links when the weather warms up. Meridian’s PGA Tour Superstore is a bonanza of brand-name clothing, accessories, and gear. Why not gift yourself a putting mat, a new Ping driver, or a kicky skort? Be sure to check out the sales section — the deals are killer.

Treat Yourself
No need to let your New Year’s resolutions slip while you’re visiting Meridian. The city’s ever-growing health and wellness options can take you to new levels of stress-free, healthy living.

Body Calm Studio
This popular yoga-and-spa destination has been named one of the top three such establishments in the state. Try a beginner’s class, stretch into a yoga flow class, or try a candlelight yin yoga class for a gentle wind-down to an action-packed day. Feel free to make an afternoon of it with a massage or a sweat-inducing session in a high-tech infrared sauna. Check Body Calm’s website for one-off events like sound baths, kids’ yoga classes, or self-care workshops.

Hideaway House
It may look like a cute little house on the outside, but inside this facial spa you’ll find nothing but pure relaxation. Book a Hideaway Facial using all-natural Eminence Organics products from Hungary or a relaxing Sculptural Facial Treatment featuring incredible massage techniques. High-tech therapies are an option, too — their microchanneling service is known to increase collagen for plumper, firmer skin.

ReJuv MedSpa
Does your body need a bit of fine tuning after the holidays? Head to this longtime med spa for top-of-the-line treatments to blast away bumps and bulges. Or, if something a bit more relaxing is what you’re after, book a deluxe mani-pedi, a professional spray tan, or a full face of Jane Iredale makeup. Whatever you need to feel your best, you’ll be able to find it at this full-service salon and spa.

Play, Stay, and Play Some More
Booking your stay in Meridian puts you in the center of the action. Meridian is just minutes away from Boise, Idaho’s wine country, and popular winter attractions like Bogus Basin. Discover your next getaway by checking out our lodging page.

5 Awesome Reasons to Make Meridian Your Wintry Basecamp

When the temps drop and the Boise Foothills become a winter wonderland, Meridian heats up with a slate of cool activities. Whether you’re visiting for a weekend or a week, this is your chance to sample some of Southwestern Idaho’s best snowsports while still enjoying creature comforts like craft beer, boutique shopping, and even a few rounds of golf. 

And the best part? Meridian is at the center of the action. With skiing and snowboarding less than an hour away, a huge selection of fantastic restaurants to power your search for powder, and a host of local venues to enjoy an aprés-ski nightcap, Meridian is the ideal wintry basecamp. Here’s how to make the most of it. 

No. 1: Snow sports are a stone’s throw away. Although Meridian doesn’t receive a lot of snow (and what does fall usually melts within a day or two), the city still offers easy access to a fantastic range of snowsport experiences. Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area, the Treasure Valley’s closest ski area, is less than an hour away. This large non-profit ski area can accommodate everyone from downhill experts to Nordic newbies on its 90 named runs, but it’s especially great for families with kids. If they’re not up for a ski day — or you aren’t — try the 800-foot-long tubing hill instead. Public transportation to Bogus Basin is available on weekends for $10 per person, in cash. 

If you’re looking for a slower-paced experience, try one of the four state Park N’ Ski locations north of Idaho City, just an hour from Meridian. You’ll discover both groomed and ungroomed Nordic and snowshoeing trails — and a three-day pass for non-residents is just $7.50. 

No. 2: Plenty of shopping for the holidays (and beyond). Searching for the perfect Christmas present or hoping to refresh your home or closet for the New Year? If you’re a shopper, Meridian is downright heavenly. You’ll find all of your favorite brands at The Village in Meridian, where there’s enough shopping, dining, activities, and movies to keep you entertained for an hour or an entire weekend. 

Meridian’s boutiques are ideal for shoppers who love the thrill of discovering new and unique treasures. Head to Sevoy Furniture Gallery, the largest supplier of mid-century modern furniture in the Northwest, for sleek furnishings and hard-to-find art, or 44 East Boutique for adorable housewares and casually chic clothing. 

Ash & Jack Supply Co. has a well-edited collection of jewelry, stationery, accessories, and home goods like scented candles and dried flowers. And the best part? Everything in the store is made by women or minority-owned makers. Sought + Found Boutique offers its own spin on boutique shopping with faith-friendly clothing, accessories, and home goods. 

Or, for a truly personal spin, head to The Happy Hour Homemaker, a DIY craft bar inside Wood & Root Bar. Sip craft cocktails or your favorite full-bodied red while making your own sign to display in your home or learning how to create a stunning terrarium filled with plants. 

No. 3: Indulge your taste buds. Meridian’s locally-owned restaurants feature everything from upscale wine tasting experiences to sushi made with fresh fish flown in daily — and after a day on the slopes or hitting the town, you’ll be ready to sample it all! 

Jaker’s, a longtime steakhouse, hits the spot with massive burgers, perfectly cooked ribeyes, and always-popular prime rib. (Don’t worry, vegetarians and pescatarians will find a list of menu items to enjoy, too.) 

The sushi at Lucky Fins is made with fresh-off-the-boat fish that is flown in every day. But it’s what the chefs at Lucky Fins do with their daily catch that has made this restaurant a Treasure Valley seafood staple. Try the lobster tater tots or their fish and chips, which come in three different varieties (salmon, cod, or halibut). 

Gramercy Park Pub & Grill hangs its hat on comfort food, craft beer, and whiskey — and for good reason. Try the El Capitan sandwich, a take on classic Buffalo-style hot wings, or pillowy Gramercy Bites of puffy pizza dough coated with garlic parmesan and served with a side of marinara or ranch. Don’t forget to order one of the 12 rotating beers on tap or a glass of one of Gramercy’s well-curated whiskey picks. 

There’s a reason Sa-Wad-Dee has been such a mainstay in Meridian: Everything on this Thai restaurant’s menu is freshly prepared and bursting with classic flavors such as citrusy kaffir, savory curry, and sweet coconut milk. Leave room for the F.B.I., a fried banana wrapped in wonton skin and served with Sa-Wad-Dee’s homemade coconut ice cream. 

Or, if you’re looking for a great glass of wine, check out Bodovino. Their 56 Art Wine Emotion machines dispense tastes or pours of some of the world’s most-loved wines, as well as some of the most rare and expensive. Once you’ve made your selection, sit down to a meal featuring Italian classics such as calamari, scampi, ribeye, and flatbreads. 

No. 4: Nightlife that’s just the right speed. Meridian’s nightlife selection is heavy on craft beer, craft cocktails, and enough snacks to keep the party vibe flowing. Classic cocktail enthusiasts flock to The Roosevelt in Downtown, which specializes in smooth whiskey and updated takes on classic drinks. You won’t want to miss the rare whiskeys list — you might find your unicorn. 

If beer is more your speed, Idaho is the perfect place to discover your new favorite brew. The Growler Guys lets you explore glass by glass, then buy a growler to fill and share with your buddies back home. Or try Heritage Hop Haus, which offers a fantastic selection of Idaho beer or a cocktail experience in its lounge. 

830 Common has earned a rep for both its inventive dishes (hello, truffled cheesy tots) and drinks like the Sweater Weather, made with bourbon, lemon, and persimmon. Or, if beer and karaoke is more your vibe, check out the Construction Zone Bar and Grill. You’ll find solid drinks and enough fun activities to create the perfect ending to your wintry day. 

No. 5: Golf that lasts all the way through sweater weather. Thanks to 210+ sunny days per year and plenty of local enthusiasts, Southwestern Idaho is a regional golf destination — minus the sky-high greens fees and crowds. 

Stock up on gifts for your loved ones (or yourself!) at one of the newest PGA Tour Superstores in the country. Meridian’s PGA store opened in 2023 and features everything you need to hit the links, from crisp capris and comfy cleats to top-of-the-line drivers and irons. Don’t forget to make a reservation for an in-store lesson or fitting to help you make the most of your new purchase. 

If snow or rain prevents you from testing your skills at the public Lakeview Golf Club — or you just want even more chances to test your skills — head to Topgolf. Their climate-controlled hitting bays are great for solo exhibitions or full-on parties, but be sure to book before you arrive: Since Meridian’s Topgolf opened in late 2022, it has proven to be one of the most popular attractions in the region. 

Ready to try a new adventure this winter? For even more ideas on how to spend your time in Meridian, including even more restaurants and a truly massive list of things to do, check out our trip itineraries.

Autumn is Awesome in Meridian. Here’s Why.

Think the end of summer means the end of Southern Idaho adventures? Meridian is here to prove you wrong. Autumn is an amazing time to visit — the temps cool but the skies stay sunny, kid-friendly activities are a bit easier to access without summer crowds, and local farms fairly burst with fresh produce and attractions (not to mention pretty, Instagrammable backdrops).

And then there are the events. Meridian is the ideal basecamp for the always-popular Boise Open, which this year will feature concerts by some of the most enduring names in rock. But you don’t have to leave town for fun — last year’s first-ever Oktoberfest was such a hit that it’s back for another round in Downtown Meridian.

Use these ideas for inspiration, then start planning your autumn escape by visiting choosemeridian.us or visitidaho.org.

Oktoberfest Is Back!

Last year’s inaugural Oktoberfest event transformed Downtown Meridian into an extravaganza of games, music, lederhosen, traditional German fare, and — of course — plenty of beer. Over 9,000 people attended, and this year’s event should be even bigger.

The fun starts at 10 a.m. October 7 and runs through 10 p.m. in Downtown Meridian (Idaho Street, Second Street, and Broadway Avenue will be closed for the duration of the event so attendees and move about freely). Here’s what you can expect during this action-packed festival.

Live music. No Oktoberfest is complete without a soundtrack of traditional “oompah” music; this year’s music will be provided by the Boise Edelweiss Band, which has been playing authentic German tunes for more than 35 years. At mid-day, longtime favorites The Moody Jews will take over with their high-energy klezmer compositions. Stick around for an evening classic rock performance by Redstone, a band that consistently tops “Best of Treasure Valley” lists.

Fun activities: Cornhole enthusiasts, this is your chance to prove your dominance! This year’s tournament promises to be fun for all ages. Prefer to stick to the sidelines? You’ll want to check out the amateur boxing lineup. Last year’s boxing event was a huge draw, and this year is expected to bring even more out-of-nowhere left hooks, uppercuts, and thrilling KOs.

Traditional Bavarian contests: Five super fun contests will keep you on your toes and test your mettle! Don your favorite dirndl for the costume contest, prove your strength during the stein-holding event, or scarf a record amount of pastry at the strudel eating contest.

Or, if you’re up for the challenge, you can participate in one of two more obscure games. Gelande quaffing has been dubbed “the most athletic drinking game in the world,” and it’s a ton of sloshy fun: A stein of beer is launched across a table at high speed toward the contestant, who must catch it and drink it before it falls on the ground. Hammerschlagen is a traditional Bavarian game that involves quickly hammering nails into a tree stump. Does it sound hilarious? Yes. Is it a surefire good time? You bet.

Beer, beer, and more beer: This year, Heritage Hop Haus, Loose Screw Brewery, and 127 Saloon will keep the brews flowing in the biergarten.

This one-day-only event is sure to be popular, so get your tickets ASAP!

Pick a Perfect Pumpkin and Scare Yourself Silly

Thanks to Southern Idaho’s gorgeous four seasons, autumn is golden and mild and laden with ready-to-pick crops. And, if you know where to go, it can be a frighteningly good time, too.

Will people be able to purchase a ticket and/or a stein? If so, what do they get in return (unlimited refills, one refill and keep the glass, etc.)?

Where can they get tickets in advance, and for how much? Also, what is the price of admission at the door? Is there a discount for kids?

Lowe Family Farmstead

If you need a one-stop destination for fall fun, Lowe Family Farmstead is your best bet. This sprawling farm in nearby Kuna features a u-pick flower field (always popular with Instagrammers), a pumpkin patch with more than 55 varieties of jack-o-lantern worthy pumpkins and gourds, hayrides running throughout the day and night, a “beach” made out of corn, farmyard animals, and fun one-off events all autumn. Of course, no trip to Lowe’s would be complete without wandering through the famous 18-acre corn MAiZE. The MAiZE is divided into two sections; try the mini version with the kids or brave the big maze yourself.

Berry Ranch

The Berry Ranch is just a few miles away from Meridian in nearby Nampa, but you might feel as if you’ve gone back to a simpler time. This working farm opens to the public to share its bounty — and fall is one of the best times to visit! Depending on when you visit, you might pick your favorite late-summer items like corn or berries … or load up on plump orange pumpkins and ready-for-dinner squash. The Berry Ranch also has a selection of grass-fed lamb and beef, as well as chickens, for sale.

Haunted World

Haunted World bills itself as the largest and scariest haunted house in Idaho, and we dare you to find out for yourself! For more than 20 years, this attraction in nearby Caldwell has been frightening folks with its intense scenes of murder and mayhem. (Although there is no age limit for admission, you might want to consider your child’s tolerance for scary situations.) Check Haunted World’s website for this year’s opening dates; tickets go on sale at dusk.

Let the Kids Bounce Off the Walls (In a Good Way!)

Are your children buzzing with back-to-school energy? These interactive, immersive experiences are the perfect solution!

Roaring Springs and Wahooz

The Northwest’s largest water park has been buzzing this year thanks to a massive — and massively popular — new addition. And with temps in no apparent danger of cooling any time soon, there are still plenty of chances to check it out! The new Camp IdaH2O features seven kids’ slides and the Tippin’ Tater potato tipping bucket, Class 5 Canyon action river, and Critter Crossing adventure pool. And that’s not even counting more than 20 additional water attractions, ranging from mild to wild.

Make it a weekend getaway with a second day at Wahooz Family Fun Zone right next door. Challenge the kids (or your partner!) to a game of mini golf, a laser tag session, bowling, or one of the dozens of arcade games inside. You can save $20 with a Triple the Fun ticket that gets you Roaring Springs full-day admission and a Wahooz Unlimited Fun Pass. Enjoy both parks in one day, or separately by Sept 17, 2023.

Children’s Museum of Idaho

Whether you’re traveling with a grab-everything toddler or a science-obsessed third-grader, you’ll find plenty to keep them occupied for an afternoon at the Children’s Museum of Idaho. This hands-on learning museum includes a pirate ship, toddler-friendly play spaces, and even a cave full of live creatures (safely behind glass, of course).

The museum’s classes and events, such as their “Let’s Get Messy” crafts and activities sessions or Monday Morning Legos, are the perfect bite-size activities for children. Be sure to check the museum’s website while you’re planning your trip — recent events have included a Space Day complete with actual astronauts!

Jump Time

Expect the kids to have so! much! energy! after their travels? Add Jump Time to your schedule. Not only can they bounce to their hearts’ content on a series of trampolines, they can don a virtual reality headset and explore action-packed worlds, test themselves on the Extreme Ninja Course, or work their way through the Lazer Maze. Be sure to bring grip socks — all kids need them to play at Jump Time.

Meridian Lanes

For more than 60 years, Meridian Lanes has been the go-to spot for family fun — it’s a classic old-school bowling alley featuring bumper lanes for kids and cold beverages (or boozy milkshakes) for their parents. Head there Monday-Thursday for $6 games, or reserve a lane Friday-Sunday nights for $30 per hour per lane. Be sure to check out the Bullseye Sports Bar & Kitchen, too, for their huge burgers.

Big Al’s

The entire family can spend all day (or all evening) at Big Al’s. Really! There’s just so much to do: Bowling, arcade games, a sports bar, great eats, and a massive beer and cocktail menu. And if you’re looking to save a little cash while your family is tearing through their own personal air hockey tournament, check out the daily deals page of Big Al’s website before you visit.

Ready to find the perfect place to stay for your autumn adventure? Check out our lodging list and make your reservation. Be sure to browse our trip itineraries, too — they are loaded with tons of additional action-packed ideas for your stay in Meridian.

Feast Your Way Through Meridian With This Roundup of Local Eateries

Kicked-up comfort food, delicacies from Argentina, out-of-this-world breakfasts, gourmet seasonal fare — when you’re in Meridian, just about any food you’re craving is minutes away. We’ve rounded up a sampling of some of the city’s most-loved restaurants and nightlife options, but there’s so much more to explore!

The real question is: How will you fit all this deliciousness into one trip? 

Lucky Fins

Yes, Idaho is several hours from the nearest ocean — but thanks to daily flown-in deliveries, you can enjoy sushi with fish that came out of the sea hours before. The dishes the Lucky Fins team whips up with those super-fresh ingredients have earned plenty of accolades, including an unbroken streak as the Treasure Valley’s top seafood restaurant in Boise’s Weekly’s annual “Best Of” awards. Have a bite of the lobster tater tots or the paella de Veracruz and you’ll discover why. 

Must-try dish: The decadent Lobster Mac and Cheese is the stuff of legend. 

Vintage ’61 Wine Bar and Kitchen

This cozy spot is a favorite of wine lovers and foodies alike, with a menu that features upscale takes on classics like prawns sauteed in Calabrian chiles, wine, and butter or a petite Angus tenderloin accompanied by Gorgonzola mashed potatoes. The wine selection includes carefully curated bottles from top growing regions around the world. 

Must-try dish: Splurge on the tasting menu that is offered every Wednesday (you’ll want to make a reservation). 

Louie’s Pizza and Italian Restaurant

This old-school Italian joint has been an Idaho mainstay for generations. Dig into comfort food like spaghetti with house-made bolognese, chicken parm, baked manicotti, or pizzas layered with olive oil and fresh garlic. You won’t walk away hungry. 

Must-try dish: The limoncello crab ravioli is stuffed with fresh crab, ricotta cheese, and dressed with a sauce made with the famous Italian lemon liqueur. 

Tango’s Empanadas

Empanadas — savory Argentinian hand pies — are the ultimate on-the-go meal. At Tango’s, a casual, family-friendly restaurant, they come stuffed with a huge variety of fillings: pulled pork, chicken, cheese, potatoes, poblano peppers … the list goes on and on. They are then deep-fried to golden perfection right before they’re served. Monica Bremmer, the chef and co-owner, hails from Argentina and introduced empanadas to the Treasure Valley back in 2006. Locals have been going crazy for them ever since. The Food Network show “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives” featured Tango’s in spring 2023. 

Must-try dish: Tango’s also has a number of dessert empanadas. The Cafemello is laden with sweet dulce de leche laced with coffee. 

Jaker’s Bar and Grill

If you’re in the mood for beef, Jaker’s is hard to beat. This longtime steakhouse is known for its massive burgers, tender ribeyes, and prime rib served with your choice of add-ons like garlic shrimp sauce or black pepper demi-glace. But that’s just the start of Jaker’s huge menu — vegetarians and pescatarians will also find plenty to love here. Bonus: There’s a full bar with an equally gargantuan number of drinks. 

Must-try dish: The Prime Rib French Dip features hand-carved slices of the restaurant’s famous prime rib smothered with Swiss and served with homemade au jus. 

The Griddle

If you have to feed a hungry family, head to the Griddle. The breakfasts and lunches at this from-scratch restaurant are big enough to satisfy even growing teenagers, and the menu is deep enough to impress the pickiest member of your party. You’ll find classics like hot cakes, eggs benedict, and Quiche Lorraine, as well as not-so-traditional dishes like quinoa, chorizo, and egg tostadas. 

Must-try dish: The biscuit and gravy is a single, giant house-made biscuit topped with sausage gravy. Back that up with a beermosa made from beer and orange juice. 

Sa-Wa-Dee

This is your chance to break free of your pad Thai rut. Explore flavors such as seafood hor muk in coconut — a mix of mussels, scallops, shrimp, salmon, and squid steamed in a coconut — or how about SWD fried chicken sprinkled with fruits and nuts? No matter what you choose, you can’t go wrong. 

Must-try dish: The colorfully named shrimp in the mud features stir-fried shrimp cooked with celery, ginger, other vegetables and egg dunked into a velvety curry. 

Twig’s Bistro and Martini Bar

After an afternoon shopping at The Village, wander over to this ever-popular restaurant where kids are welcome in the dining room. Nosh on poke nachos, fries dusted with cayenne and basil and topped with Gorgonzola fondue, or truffle penne. The restaurant’s takes on traditional cocktails, like the huckleberry lemon drop and key lime martini, will round off any rough edges. 

Must-try dish: The weekend-only brunch menu includes the crab lemon benedict: blue crab, tomato confit, and poached eggs on a classic English muffin and smothered in lemony hollandaise. 

Sid’s Garage

Sid’s Garage is casual, irreverent, and sure to pique your culinary curiosity. You can order milkshakes laced with whiskey or rum, truffle parmesan fries, Nashville hot chicken, or flash-fried tempura green beans — not to mention an impressive drinks menu. 

Must-try dish: Where else can you get a mimosa flight featuring four flavors of this classic breakfast drink? 

The Capri/Delsa’s

The Capri is a traditional diner featuring your favorite breakfast and lunch dishes like corned beef hash, pork chops and hash brownsust , and patty melts. You’ll want to leave room for dessert, though, so you can visit sister restaurant Delsa’s next door. Delsa’s homemade ice cream was voted the best in Idaho by USA Today — and we heartily agree. (Delsa’s also serves a full diner menu.)

Must-try dish: The Capri’s homemade cinnamon rolls are massive, pillowy, and can be ordered with maple frosting and a smattering of crispy, salty bacon. 

How About a Nightcap? 

There’s no need to end your evening with dinner. There are so many locations in Meridian to grab a beer, catch a live band, or try a new cocktail! 

The Roosevelt

Craft cocktail lovers will enjoy this downtown watering hole that specializes in whiskey and fun takes on classic drinks. Ask your bartender about their selection of rare whiskeys and prepare to indulge in a one-in-a-lifetime sip.

Heritage Hop Haus

This establishment delivers two experiences in one location. Will you head for a carefully mixed-and-shaken drink at The Lounge or indulge in a local brew at Hop Haus? Either way, you can add a side of house-made sushi from the on-site Sushi Shack. 

The Growler Guys

Idaho is known for its ever-growing selection of craft beers, and The Growler Guys is the place to explore them glass by glass. Just pop into this super-casual location and sample — then fill up your own growler to take home as a souvenir. 

Construction Zone Bar and Grill

Beer, horseshoe pits, and karaoke. If you’re looking to do more than just sit and sip, the Construction Zone is a good bet for a laid-back-yet-fun evening. 

If you’re ready to start planning your trip, head to our Where to Stay page for a list of great ideas for your Idaho base camp. (Don’t forget to make restaurant reservations while you’re at it!) If you’re craving even more inspiration for your Idaho adventure, visit the Southwestern Idaho Travel Association and Idaho Tourism for plenty of ideas. 

Choose Your Adventure: 9 Ways to Amp Up the Fun This Summer

Summer is one of the busiest — and best — times to adventure through Southwestern Idaho. And with Meridian as your basecamp, everything is within reach! Mix and match these easy, family-friendly ideas to suit your merry band of vacationers. Every one of them is within 30 minutes of Meridian, so you’ll spend more time enjoying yourself and less time worrying about getting to your next destination on time.

The Adventure: Roaring Springs Waterpark

Age range: All ages

What you need to know: Roaring Springs’ big new expansion makes it one of the largest waterparks in the country. Adventure awaits on the new Camp IdaH2O with seven kids’ slides and the Tippin’ Tater potato tipping bucket, Class 5 Canyon action river, and Critter Crossing adventure pool — plus more than 20 more water attractions, ranging from relaxing to thrilling. Make it a weekend getaway with a second day at Wahooz Family Fun Zone right next door.

Pro tip: Save $20 with a Triple the Fun ticket that gets you Roaring Springs full-day admission and a Wahooz Unlimited Fun Pass. Enjoy both parks in one day, or separately by Sept 17, 2023.

 

The Adventure: The Village at Meridian

Age range: All ages

What you need to know: We know it’s cliche to say there’s something for everyone at this uber-popular outdoor mall. But in this case, it’s true! The hardcore shoppers in your group will find all of their favorite stores, plus local favorites — and when they’re ready for a break, they can pop into M. Vincé Nail Salon for a pedicure or Panache Hair Studio & Day Spa for a sleek blowout or soothing facial.

Shopping is just one of the perks of The Village, though. Settle into the Village Cinema’s plush seats and take in the latest summer blockbuster, lounge on the patio at one of The Village’s many restaurants, or even perfect your bowling game at Big Al’s. The Village also has great options for smaller children, such as “Story Time with Jesse the Theater Kid,” an interactive storytime that runs from 10:15-10:55 a.m. every Monday through July.

Pro tip: Be sure to check The Village’s events page before you head out to catch late-breaking events and sales.

 

The Adventure: Children’s Museum of Idaho

Age range: 2-8

What you need to know: Little kids adore the Children’s Museum of Idaho, where they can explore to their hearts’ content and learn at the same time. This highly interactive space includes a pirate ship, toddler-friendly play spaces, and even a cave full of live creatures (behind glass, of course).

The museum’s classes and events, such as their “Let’s Get Messy” crafts and activities sessions or Monday Morning Legos, are the perfect bite-size activities for children. If you’re traveling in July, consider enrolling your child in the three-day Dinosaur Camp from July 18-20 — you’ll love hearing about their newfound dino knowledge when camp ends in the afternoon.

Pro tip: Bring the baby! Kids under 24 months enjoy free admission.

 

The Adventure: Meridian Parks and Recreation

Age range: All ages

What you need to know: Meridian counts an astounding 24 parks within its borders, ranging from dog-friendly Storey Bark Park to sporty Settlers Park to sprawling Julius M. Kleiner Memorial Park. Whether you’re searching for the perfect pathway for your morning walk, ready to challenge the fam to a game of soccer, or simply looking for a shade-filled al fresco dining spot, there’s a Meridian park to fit the bill.

Golfers, take note: The highly affordable Lakeview Golf Club is part of the city’s parks and rec system — and it’s open seven days a week. And when the summer sun is at its peak, you and the kids can cool off at the open-to-the-public Meridian Pool.

Pro tip: Challenge the family to a pickleball game at the Meridian Homecourt, a community center with four basketball courts, 14 pickleball courts, and seven volleyball courts. A day pass is just $4 for non-residents.

The Adventure: Zoo Boise

Age range: All ages

What you need to know: Some of the world’s most extraordinary animals are just a 20-minute drive away from Meridian. Zoo Boise, located in the heart of leafy Julia Davis Park in Boise, is a longtime favorite of curious adults and kids alike.

For decades, this ever-popular zoo has been introducing people to animals from all over the world, from giraffes to meerkats to crocodiles and gila monsters. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to get up close and personal with these animals; try your hand at feeding mealworms to a sloth bear or pile into a solar-powered boat and spot patas monkeys lurking around the zoo’s lagoon. You’ll be doing good, too: in 2007, Zoo Boise pioneered the idea of including a conservation fee in the admission price. Since then, millions of dollars have poured from Idaho to conservation efforts around the world.

Pro tip: You can schedule a private, behind-the-scenes animal experience with a tamarin, tiger, sand cat — even a lion! You must book your visit at least a week in advance, though.

The Adventure: Boutique and independent shopping

Age range: 10+

What you need to know: When you don’t want to dress yourself (or your home!) like everyone else, boutiques are the answer. Meridian has a plethora of places that offer unique, handmade, and creative options. Check out women’s clothing stores such as Blue Fringe Boutique, Hope Ave Boutique, I Beni Boutique, and 44 East.

If you’re hoping to find the perfect piece for your house — or a memorable gift for an upcoming birthday — you’ll find something to love at independent shops that are just a short drive away. Antique World Mall and Annex and LA Junk Antiques in Boise, as well as Sweet Tea Living in Eagle, serve up a mind-boggling array of treasures.

Pro tip: You can browse a number of independent boutiques, listen to live music, and grab a delicious bite to eat every first Tuesday of the month in Downtown Meridian. First Tuesday events run from May-September and are a great way to explore the city’s charming and historic downtown.

 

The Adventure: Floating the Boise River

Age range: 5+

What you need to know: A leisurely float on the Boise River is an iconic Southwestern Idaho summer experience. On hot days, the clear and cold water of the Boise River is the best tonic — and it’s a ton of fun for both kids and adults.

It takes about two to three hours to float from the put-in at Barber Park to the take-out at Ann Morrison Park six miles away. You’ll need a few pieces of equipment besides your swimsuit to get started; you can bring your own raft or inner tubes, or you can rent equipment at Boise River Raft and Tube. (Don’t forget the life vests! By law, children 14 and under must wear them.) You can also skip the hassle of bringing two vehicles by hopping on the shuttle bus that travels in a loop from Barber Park to Ann Morrison Park.

For a full floating primer, visit Ada County’s handy online guide.

Pro tip: It is perfectly legal for kids to jump from bridges into the river below, so watch out — or join the fun!

 

The Adventure: Hiking and biking trails

Age range: All ages

What you need to know: Some of the best, most accessible outdoor spaces in Southwestern Idaho are just 25 minutes away from Meridian. The Ridge to Rivers Trail System is an absolute gem: 210 miles of trails that are open to the public for walking, running, mountain biking, and horseback riding. From the Foothills, you’ll enjoy unbelievable panoramic views of the valley below.

Challenge yourself with a hike up Table Rock Trail behind the Old Idaho Penitentiary (a favorite of early-morning hikers in the summer), take the kids through the easy loops behind Camel’s Back Park, or turn your legs to jelly by mountain biking Polecat Loop.

The Ridge to Rivers system is multi-use; some walking trails are closed to bikers, some allow dogs on leashes, and some do not. It’s best to consult the interactive trail map before planning your trip. If you happen to visit during a rare rainy week, stay off the trails altogether — using them while they’re wet can damage the paths and endanger fragile vegetation like sagebrush.

Pro tip: You’ll need to cool off after all that exercise. Good thing Meridian’s Roaring Springs has expanded its super-popular waterpark! Get your full guide to the expansion here.

 

The Adventure: Snake River Stampede

Age range: All ages 

What you need to know: One of the top 10 pro rodeos in the United States takes place in neighboring Nampa every July. The Snake River Stampede must be seen to be believed: Thousands upon thousands of folks pack the air-conditioned Idaho Center for four days billed as “the wildest, fastest show on Earth.”

We’re talking about everything you’d want in a rodeo and more — breakneck barrel racing, heart-pounding bronc riding, fast-and-furious roping, daredevil rodeo clowns, and beautifully talented rodeo queens. Of course, no top-tier pro rodeo would be complete without bull riding. Visit the Stampede and you’ll discover why it’s billed as “the most dangerous eight seconds in sports.”

Whether you attend for one day or all four, you’ll want to snag your tickets and hotel early — rodeo fans travel from all over the West to see the Stampede.

Pro tip: Get up early to attend the Buckaroo Breakfast, a pancake feed that benefits the Canyon County 4-H Endowment.

Which adventures will you choose this summer? Book your stay now and browse through our itineraries for even more ideas.

Your All-Ages Guide to Splashy Summer Fun at Roaring Springs and Wahooz

Your All-Ages Guide to Splashy Summer Fun at Roaring Springs and Wahooz
One of the largest waterparks in the country is about to get even more epic.

After an intense period of construction, Meridian’s Roaring Springs will unveil its eagerly awaited massive new expansion to the public on May 31. This expansion is phase one of a seven-phase plan to increase the Northwest’s largest waterpark by an astounding 40 percent over the next 10 years — and Roaring Springs is really kicking things off with a bang. Visitors can enjoy a seven-slide interactive play structure, a new wave action river, an adventure pool, luxury cabanas, and plenty of new dining options, including a bar.

There’s so much to see and do at Roaring Springs and its sister playland Wahooz that we created a guide! No matter the ages of your kids (or yourself), you can find endless entertainment options to double your fun and even make it a weekend getaway.

Kids 5 and Younger: Splashy Fun

Even the littlest kids can enjoy a sunny day of swimming and splashing at Roaring Springs. In fact, children ages 2 and under enjoy free entry into the waterpark. Once you’ve arrived, head to Bearfoot Bay — this area is limited to children 54 inches and under and is ideal for kids who want the thrills of the waterpark on a smaller scale. Check out the animal-themed play features, the extensive shallow wading pool, and a shaded sitting ledge so parents can safely watch while the kiddos are in the pool.

Of course, no Roaring Springs experience is complete without slides! Bearfoot Bay delivers with six slides that range from slow and leisurely to just fast enough to thrill younger ones. Parents, don’t miss your chance to book one of the six cabanas in this area so you can set up a shade-covered poolside home base during your visit.

The fun doesn’t stop there! Next door at Wahooz Family Fun Zone, smaller kids flock to Ballocity, a four-level play structure laced with climbing tubes, bridges, slides, and obstacles — and, of course, tons of squishy foam balls. Vacuums and blasters propel the balls for hours of interactive fun. If your child is a climber, head to the Tykes Course, a mini version of the three-story Sky Trail Ropes Course.

If that isn’t enough for your little thrill-seeker, check out the Frog Hopper. This seated ride lifts kids 16 feet into the air and then bounces them down for big fun with a big payoff. Who knows? All that excitement might even spur a nap on the way home.

Kids Ages 5 to 10: High-Energy Skills and Thrills

Critter Crossing, one of the features that will be unveiled at Roaring Springs on May 31, is a watery skills course that challenges kids to make it across the pool while jumping on lily pads that tip and dip. It’s open to adults, too, so this is your chance to see if you still have the balance of a kid! (Don’t worry, there are overhead ropes to help guide you and the kids along.) You’ll find three in-pool basketball hoops in this area for one-on-one and team challenges.

For even bigger fun, head over to the new Camp IdaH2O Wilderness Playground. This incredible, Idaho-themed area includes seven intermediate slides — keep an eye out

for the Idaho critters perched throughout — that are perfect for kids who aren’t quite ready for the more intense slide experiences. You’ll also discover 80 interactive features that are great for smaller children.

But the crowning glory of Camp IdaH2O is the world’s first-ever potato-themed tipping bucket. Tippin’ Tater is a 1,500-pound bucket that splashes an astounding 650 gallons of water down a chute into the pool below. Sounds like an awesome way to spend a hot day, right?

 

Or, grab a few float tubes and head to the Whitewater Bay Wave Pool or the Endless River with the kids — but watch out, because the rhythmic flow of these areas can be super addictive, and there’s plenty more fun to be had next door at Wahooz. You and the kids can make your own thrills on the Wahooz Twister: Just load the family into a swinging capsule, grab the steering wheel in the center, and spin to your heart’s content. Or let the kids immerse themselves in the XD Dark Ride, which pits riders against other riders as they journey through six different movie adventures.

Pre-Teens and Teens: No-Limit Excitement

Have a bored teen? With tons of heart-racing, stomach-dropping activities at Roaring Springs, you can bet they’ll forget about their phones for a few hours. Take, for example, the brand-new Class 5 Canyon: It’s Idaho’s first action river and it provides non-stop whitewater waves — like the most exciting parts of a rafting trip without all the paddling! In fact, all they’ll need is the provided kickboard.

Or challenge them to the award-winning Snake River Run — just load into a two-person raft (single rafts are available, too) and prepare to blast off! The slide launches into a dizzying double corkscrew, then drops into not one, but two “flying saucers” that boomerang riders through dueling 180-degree turns to a splashy finish below.

Once they’ve caught their breath, it’s time for Corkscrew Cavern, the first 360-degree looping waterslide in the Northwest. The anticipation builds as soon as they drop into the launching capsule and wait for a few heart-pumping moments — and then splash! The trap door drops into a narrow tunnel that ramps up the speed immediately. It’s fun and it’s fast: 38 feet per second, to be exact. For similar thrills without the loops, have them check out Cliffhanger, a six-story almost-vertical plunge, or Avalanche, which glides riders into a giant half-pipe.

Even if they’re not quite road-ready yet, pre-teens and teens can test their mettle at Wahooz on the Slick Track Go-Karts. This isn’t a clunky, old-school go-kart ride — thanks to the slippery track, it’s fast enough to let the kids play out their “Fast and Furious” fantasies.

Adults: Lazy-Day Luxury and Super Fun Games

Who says the kids get all the fun? Plenty of adults love to get competitive with their kids at Wahooz, where they can hit their targets at laser tag, crack a new level at the arcade, or sip a beer while bowling with the kids at the Pinz 24-lane bowling center. But Roaring Springs also puts a premium on simply relaxing. The new expansion includes 16 luxury cabanas with shaded, cushioned sectionals and full wait service. Don’t sleep on booking one of these beauties — they’ll go quickly, and it’s a good idea to reserve yours as soon as you can. Even if you miss out on a cabana, you’ll discover plenty of places to lounge poolside throughout the waterpark.

Roaring Springs has extended its upgrades to its new Asian-inspired menus at the brand-new Geyser Grill and Bar. Why not nosh on the Nom Nom Pork Bowl and snack on potstickers poolside? Of course, you can always opt for classic Roaring Springs options like their famous gourmet Corn Dog Cart (try the Spicy Jack option loaded with bacon, pickled jalapenos, and cheese sauce), funnel cakes, and refreshing hot-weather treats like Dippin’ Dots or Pineapple Dole Whip soft-serve. And, new this year, Roaring Springs will begin serving adult beverages at its first bar — so you can upgrade your visit with a chilled poolside beer or margarita.

It’s Not Too Early to Plan Ahead!

You could opt to visit just Roaring Springs or Wahooz, but why limit the good times to just one day? With the Triple the Fun ticket, the family can enjoy Roaring Springs one day and Wahooz the next. Triple the Fun tickets are $74.99 — a $20 savings. If you have time for only one location, don’t worry; the pass is valid throughout the season, so you can schedule more fun next time you’re in town. Roaring Springs and Wahooz offer many other deals, as well, so choose what works best for you and your thrill seekers.

Before you arrive, make sure you have what you need to maximize your fun:

  • Towels
  • Sunblock
  • Flip flops
  • Sunglasses
  • Bottled water (no glass bottles)
  • Your favorite summer read

Ready to plan your watery adventure? Wahooz is open year-round and Roaring Springs begins its 2023 season on May 6. The new waterpark expansion will welcome its first visitors on May 31. Skip the line and buy your tickets now (and those cabanas) on the Roaring Springs website. For plenty of other summer fun ideas, as well as a full list of lodging options, head to our Trip Itineraries and Where to Stay pages.

The Massive Meridian Things to Do List

Searching for the top 10 things to do in Meridian this summer? We have that — and so much more! Whether you’re using Meridian as a basecamp for your Southwestern Idaho visit, traveling with the family for a sporting tournament, or simply looking for some inspiration, you’ll discover it here.

Help Your Kids Make Summer Memories

Meridian is one of the most family-friendly cities in Idaho, with plenty of activities that will keep everyone — even the teenagers! — happy.

Roaring Springs Waterpark: It’s already the Northwest’s largest waterpark, and with a new expansion opening May 31, Roaring Springs is now one of the largest waterparks in the country! Trust us, you’ll want to plan your visit now so the kids can splash through Camp IdaH2O, a Gem State-themed interactive water playground featuring seven slides, multiple play features, Idaho animals and birds, and (of course) the 650-gallon Tippin’ Tater potato tipping bucket. Plus, navigate the whitewater of Class 5 Canyon action river and take on the challenges of Critter Crossing adventure pool. Treat your family to a VIP experience in one of 16 new luxury cabanas with wait service from the new Geyser Grill and Bar.

Wahooz Family Fun Zone: Make it a weekend getaway with a second day at Wahooz, conveniently connected to Roaring Springs. Wahooz is super popular year-round thanks to 15 indoor and outdoor attractions, including its newly remodeled mini golf course, kid-friendly bowling center, always entertaining go-kart tracks, an arcade and so much more, with enough attractions to keep everyone from the littles to the teens happy. This summer, buy discounted Triple the Fun tickets and spend one day at Roaring Springs and the next at Wahooz.

Children’s Museum of Idaho: If your little explorer loves to touch every exhibit they come across, the Children’s Museum is about to become their new favorite destination. This highly interactive space helps children learn about dinosaurs, outer space, machines, and so much more through play. They’ll pick up new information and unique experiences every step of the way.

Meridian Speedway: Loud, fast, and full of action, the Meridian Speedway is ideal for car-obsessed kids and their parents. Buckle up this summer and check out sprint cars, trucks, mini stocks, street stocks and so much more. For an extra dose of fun, choose a date that features a summertime fireworks display as part of the night’s events.

Non-Stop Shopping: From charming boutiques to sprawling emporiums, you’ll discover a shopper’s paradise in Meridian.

The Village at Meridian: This outdoor mall is more than a place to shop. It’s an entertainment extravaganza! After scoring new pieces for your summer wardrobe at top-tier chains like Anthropologie and Lululemon, relax in the cushy seats at Village Cinema or grab a margarita at The Matador. Be sure to check The Village’s website for special summer events, too.

Antiquing: Here’s a little secret: Meridian is one of the best places to find your next antique treasures. Two large specialty stores should be on the itinerary for every antique lover: Sevoy Furniture Gallery is a haven for mid-century modern lovers and Cherry’s Consignment Home Furnishings stocks high-quality furnishings from any era. With so many finds available, you might need to clear out extra space in your vehicle for the ride home!

Savor Every Bite of the Season: You’ll discover all of your favorite restaurants in Meridian, but these beloved local eateries offer out-of-the-ordinary experiences.

Epi’s: You might enter this cozy bungalow hungry, but we guarantee you’ll leave full and happy. Epi’s serves traditional Basque food such as red bean and chorizo soup, marinated pork loin topped with roasted red peppers, and the restaurant’s famous garlic chicken. It’s a true Idaho experience.

Eight Thirty Common: This popular watering hole and restaurant dishes out grown-up pub fare, handcrafted cocktails, and 12 rotating beer taps to satiate your taste buds. Book a weekend brunch reservation and tuck into savory dishes like carnitas hash or sweet treats such as cinnamon roll French toast.

Bodovino Ristorante: Bodovino has a unique setup: 56 Art Wine Emotion machines dispense tastes or pours of some of the world’s most-loved wines. Grab your glass and settle into the patio lounge for a meal featuring Italian classics such as calamari, scampi, ribeye, and flatbreads.

Big Jud’s: Big Jud’s burgers are so impressive that they’ve been featured on the Food Network. The Meridian outpost of this longtime local favorite serves up juicy burgers and fresh-cut Idaho fries, as well as its most famous offering, the intimidating one-pound Big Jud cheeseburger.

Discover Fresh Inspiration: Whether you’re just enjoying stunning visual artworks or looking for the next painting to grace your home, Meridian has beauty to offer.

Initial Point Gallery: This carefully curated gallery is located within Meridian’s City Hall and hosted by the Meridian Arts Commission. Exhibits rotate every month and feature works by local artists, often with Idaho themes.

Idaho Art Gallery: Enchanted by Idaho landscapes? You can find a gorgeous souvenir at Idaho Art Gallery, which features a number of paintings that center on landmarks like Shoshone Falls, dancing aspen groves, and life along the Boise River.

Get Outside: Southwestern Idaho is revered for its easy access to nature, and Meridian provides the perfect base camp to see it in all its summer glory!

The Peregrine Fund’s World Center for Birds of Prey: This corner of Idaho is one of the best places in the world to see magnificent birds of prey such as eagles, hawks, and owls. But if you’d like to skip the bird hunt and see these natural wonders close up, the World Center for Birds of Prey is ready to provide a once-in-a-lifetime experience. See how many of their Avian Ambassadors you can check off your must-see list.

City of Meridian Parks: You don’t need to get out of town to get outside! Meander through sprawling Julius M. Kleiner Memorial Park, dog-and-kid-friendly Storey Park, activity-filled Settlers Park, or cast a line at Fuller Park’s stocked fishing pond.

 

Prepare to Party: Meridian’s calendar is crammed full of summer and early autumn events. Why not pencil in a festival while you’re here?

Far West Regional Championships: Hundreds of the best young soccer players in the country will flock to nearby Boise in late June 2023 — and Meridian is the perfect place to make yourbasecamp during all the excitement! Both boys and girls will compete at the Far West RegionalChampionships for a chance to play the nationals in July.

Dairy Days: Meridian’s oldest festival, a celebration of its agricultural roots, has been a community staple for nearly 100 years. This old-fashioned fest includes a carnival, diet-busting fair treats, animal shows, and the crowning of this year’s Dairy Princess.

Meridian Lions Rodeo: Let ’er buck! If you’ve never been to a rodeo, this is your chance to see real cowboys test their mettle against bucking broncos and tricky barrel courses. All proceeds help fund Lions Club projects.

Snake River Stampede: The Snake River Stampede is one of the biggest events in Southwestern Idaho, attracting thousands of onlookers to this rodeo that bills itself as “the wildest fastest show on Earth.” The Stampede is one of the top 10 rodeos in the country, so be sure to get your tickets early! (Bonus: It takes place in the air-conditioned Ford Idaho Center.)

Gowen Thunder Air Show: In late August, the skies over the Treasure Valley fill with military and civilian air performers who thrill the packed crowds below. Expect spine-tingling air stunts and soul-stirring patriotic moments all weekend long.

Oktoberfest: The inaugural Oktoberfest was such a hit that it’s now a permanent part of Meridian’s fall schedule! Enjoy live music, amateur boxing, food trucks, and (obviously) plenty of beer. All the action will be located in Meridian’s historic downtown.

For even more trip ideas, lodging information, restaurant suggestions, and things to do in Southwestern Idaho, visit the Meridian Chamber of Commerce, the Southwestern Idaho Travel Association, and Idaho Tourism.

 

Fall Into Fun 

You might be busy soaking up the last days of summer, but fall fun is just around the corner — and Meridian is ready to serve it up! Enjoy warm days and cool nights while exploring Southwestern Idaho’s epic local beers, wines, and foodie delights.

Tour the Wine Trail

Southwestern Idaho has steadily been building a reputation for excellent wines. Chalk that up to the region’s lush volcanic soil, perfect elevation, and low humidity, and hot days and cool nights. Idaho’s most celebrated wine region is just 30 minutes away from Meridian, which makes it the perfect day trip for curious experimenters and serious oenophiles. Hit the Sunnyslope Wine Trail and explore 17 Snake River Valley AVA wineries during the peak of harvest season, which typically runs from September through October (and sometimes even November). Please be sure to use a designated driver or enlist the services of a company like Meridian’s own Idaho Wine Tours. 

 

Brew Up Some Fun

There’s no shortage of great beer in Meridian. Whether you prefer an easy-sipping pilsner, a thick and full stout, a super-hoppy IPA, or a tried-and-true lager, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to indulge this autumn. 

Oktoberfest: Get ready to raise your stein and practice your “prost!” On October 1, more than 12 bars and restaurants will band together to transform Downtown Meridian into a supersized biergarten during the city’s inaugural Oktoberfest celebration. This daylong party, presented by sponsor First Federal Savings Bank and hosted by the Meridian Chamber of Commerce, will take place from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. 

The city will block off part of downtown to automobile traffic during this free-flowing event, with the center of the action at the corner of West Second Street and West Idaho Avenue. Grab a commemorative beer stein for $15 and meander through participating vendors, including Heritage Hop Hause, 830 Commons, Deja Brew Bistro, The Roosevelt, Pauly’s Bar Room, The Vault, and more. Nosh on bratwurst and other bites, test your skills at a cornhole tournament, enjoy exhibitions, and dance your way through the day with live music from RJ McGuinness, Broken Tip Jar, Red Light Challenge, and headliner Pilot Error. 

Expect family-centered fun earlier in the day and traditional beer drinking games like Hammerschlagen as the evening progresses. There’s no admission fee for Oktoberfest, which promises to be the first of many new downtown-oriented festivals and events hosted by the Meridian Chamber of Commerce. For more information, visit the chamber’s events section. 

Loose Screw: The folks at Loose Screw make it easy to have a good time. This easygoing, pet-friendly haven has quickly become a Meridian favorite for cranking out concoctions such as the sessionable Modest Freak IPA, tasty Blonde Bombshell Blonde Ale, and the off-the-wall Wacko Mango, which is flavored with — you guessed it — over 150 pounds of mango. Loose Screw also serves up beers from around the West and has plenty of games on hand. 

Ram Restaurant and Brewery: When you want plenty of room, a slice or a burger, and fun beers, the Ram is the place to go. The Ram serves its own beers, including the fruity Fun in the Suds IPA, Big Horn Hefeweizen, and Disorder Porter. Bonus: It’s kid-friendly. 

 

Feed Your Inner Foodie

Meridian has no shortage of fantastic restaurants, but these independent eateries have become favorites of both locals and visitors alike. Round out your day of wine tasting or beer sipping at these cozy restaurants. 

Kahootz Steak and Alehouse: Kahootz may have a funny name, but it’s seriously delicious. For 20 years, this Downtown Meridian steakhouse has been serving up classics made with fresh ingredients — thick and juicy ribeye steaks, crisp wedge salads topped with homemade dressing, and huge slices of caramel-apple bread pudding, just to name a few. FYI: Kahootz is first-come, first-served. 

Epi’s: A Basque Restaurant: For more than 20 years, ravenous diners have been stepping into the front door of Epi’s — located in a cute old bungalow — and walking out stuffed to the brim with classic Basque specialties. Whether you tuck into sizzling garlic shrimp, lamb chops, ink fish, or more, each dish will be accompanied by more side dishes than the average human can reasonably handle. Be sure to make reservations, because this place fills up fast. 

Il Sugo: This family-friendly intimate restaurant is high on comfort food and low on pretension. 

At Il Sugo, you choose your pasta and your sauce for a completely customizable experience — and when the experience includes fresh pasta made by local experts Ferranti Pasta, you can’t go wrong! 

Vintage ’61 Wine Bar and Kitchen: Vintage ’61 is based on a farm-to-table philosophy: super-fresh ingredients, prepared well, and served with some of the best wines in the world (including those from Idaho). Its location in a former house is cozy and makes it a great choice for date night. 

Ramen House: When the weather starts to cool, there’s no better way to warm up than ramen. This family-owned restaurant serves up six different kinds — and if you walk away hungry, it’s your own fault. 

Of course, there are hundreds more opportunities to feast your way through Meridian! For even more Meridian fun, check out the Events tab of our website. 

 

While You’re Here … 

Balance all that wonderful indulgence with some activity! There’s no shortage of things to do in Meridian, no matter the season. 

  • Top Golf is coming! This uber-popular entertainment venue is under construction just off I-84 and is one of the most anticipated openings in the Treasure Valley — well, ever! The venue’s famous hitting bays are set to open by the end of the year. 
  • The Village is a one-stop shop for dining, shopping, and entertainment — it’s not unusual to find you’ve spent the whole day there! From the on-site movie theater to dinner outside by the fountain, you’ll find plenty of ways to take leisure time to the next level. 
  • Both kids and adults will find something to love at Big Al’s. How could they not? With a wall of TVs broadcasting sports, a bowling alley, an arcade, and a full menu of food and adult beverages, Big Al’s is the perfect addition to a laid-back weekend.