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9 Things to Do with Kids in Kellogg & Wallace Idaho + Where to Stay & Eat!

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9 Things to do with Kids in Wallace & Kellogg Idaho

9 Things to Do with Kids in Kellogg  & Wallace Idaho

Whether you are headed for a vacation to northern Idaho to enjoy all that this beautiful area has to offer or you are driving through on highway 90 on your way to Montana, Wyoming or beyond, Kellogg & Wallace, Idaho, definitely should be a stop for a few days on your itinerary. These small towns in northern Idaho’s panhandle are part of the Silver Valley, which produced over 1/2 of the US’s silver during the 1970’s. It is now a destination for outdoor lovers, for ski resorts in the Bitterroot Mountains during the winter & gorgeous hiking & mountain biking scenery in the summer.

The town of Wallace has had quite a storied past as a large part of the town was destroyed by fire in 1891 & again in 1910. In 1979, the entire town of Wallace was placed on the national Historic Register as the highway was expanding & the I90 highway was set to run right through the middle of the town. But the town worked hard to get it placed on the Historic Register, so instead the highway had to be redesigned to go up & around the town, which you’ll see clearly as you drive through the town.

These two towns are filled with so much history from their mining days & it’s a great location to learn more about this important industry that was located here, while also enjoying all of the beauty of the Bitterroot mountains, part of the Rocky Mountains, with these 2 towns nestled deep in this Silver Valley. They are a great location for day trips to Couer d’Alene & Silverwood too!

We are sharing our favorite family-friendly activities in the Silver Valley as well as the best places to eat & stay when visiting!

Be sure to check out our posts on:

Activities:

Silver Rapids Water Park

Silver Rapids Water Park

If you are planning a vacation to the Silver Valley or stopping over for a night or two along I-90, your kids will love to burn some energy at the Silver Rapids water park. This water park is on the grounds of the Silver Mountain resort in Kellogg and it’s Idaho’s largest indoor water park. When you stay at the Silver Mountain resort, you get 2 days at the water park for every night you stay (so arrive early to head to the park & stay longer after checkout).

This 42,000 square foot water park is very family-friendly with activities for toddlers on up to the teens. Water is no deeper than 4 feet anywhere in the park so it’s perfect for swimmers & non-swimmers alike. Thrill seekers will love the Flow Rider ride, a chance to surf or body board on a continuous wave. Adults will love lounging in the lazy river, while kids will love the multi-person raft ride.

This water park is primarily for guests at Silver Mountain resort (check out our full review of the resort & water park – we highly recommend staying here!) – but they do offer a limited number of day use tickets for the water park too.

Silver Mountain Gondola

Silver Mountain Gondola Ride

For fabulous views of the entire Silver Valley,  make sure to put the Silver Mountain gondola on your list. Silver Mountain is North America’s longest gondola ride at 3.1 miles (around 20-25 minutes long in an enclosed gondola).

In the winter, it is your transportation up to the Silver Mountain ski resort for skiing, snowboarding & tubing. However, even if you don’t ski, it’s a fun ride for the whole family & will really give you perspective about the whole area with those wide, expansive views of the valley.

In the summertime, ride the gondola up to the mountain for mountain bike trails, hiking trails, kids play areas & more beautiful views at the top of the mountain.  Every Friday during the summer, they also have a ride & dine option for a mountain top BBQ dinner complete with huckleberry ribs.

Crystal Gold Mine Tour  

Kids will love this authentic 1880’s underground gold mine at the Crystal Gold Mine Tour, located just right off the I90 highway in Kellogg. This gold mine tour is rare in that it is open year-round and it is easily accessible for any age (from toddlers to seniors) thanks to the concrete walkways that are well lit & no stairs to climb. It’s definitely kid-friendly for any age as it is so easy to walk thru & at the end of the tour, you are then welcome to pan for gold outside after a demonstration by the tour guide.

This gold mine was one of the first hard rock mines in the Silver Valley & it was mined during the 1880’s. However, they eventually closed up the mine before the 1900’s & it was not discovered again until 1991, becoming a tourist attraction in 1996.  This gold mine features a quartz vein where they found gold as well as wire silver in this quartz vein & your tour guide will point this out & explain it during the tour. You’ll also enjoy seeing the beautiful stalactite crystals of smithsonite in a variety of colors on the walls.

Panning for Gold at Crystal Gold Mine

Once you finish the guided gold mine tour, you can check out the shop or head straight out to pan for gold. Our guide gave us a quick lesson & demonstration about how to pan for gold & then we started digging thru the water to try to find gold flecks as well as beautiful rocks & gems. This was definitely the highlight of the visit for our girls. If you wanted to keep the gems, you could purchase a small, inexpensive bag to put all your gems inside & you didn’t have to pay for the items you found. I’ll admit, we as adults also had a blast trying to sift through & find gold flakes, it was a fun challenge. When you pay for a tour, you can also get an hour free to pan for gold. The experience was so unique touring the gold mine & learning so much history about mining and then with the panning for gold at the end, that we felt it was an educational and fun tour for our family.

Sierra Silver Mine Tour

The towns of Wallace & Kellogg are located in an area called the Silver Valley, due to the fact that this area used to be a heavy mining district – in fact, in the 1970’s, over 1/2 of the United States’ silver came from the Silver Valley of Idaho.  If you are wanting to tour a real silver mine & learn about this important industry, head to the Sierra Silver Mine Tour where tours are given by retired miners. You’ll leave from Wallace on a classic trolley, with a narrated tour of historic Wallace, which provides a lot of history about the town. Once at the mine, you will learn the methods they used to do hard-rock mining. They even provide live demonstrations of the operation of pneumatic powered mining machinery, so you can hear & see what it actually was like for miners.

This tour is only open from May 1st – October 15th each year (May, Sept & Oct have reduced hours too), but they are open 7 days a week during that time. The mine temperature is around 50 degrees, so make sure to dress accordingly. Unfortunately we did not get a chance to check this out as we were there a bit earlier in the spring, but it gets excellent reviews on TripAdvisor & we heard good things about it when in the area, so this is on our list to check out the next time we visit! I definitely think this would be a highlight of your visit!

Route of the Hiawatha Bike & Hiking Trail

Route of the Hiawatha Bike Trail in Wallace Idaho

If you want an opportunity to get out & explore the beautiful Silver Valley & Bitterroot mountains, combined with getting some exercise as a family, check out the popular Route of the Hiawatha mountain bike or hiking trail. This is a 15 mile long trail with 10 train tunnels & 7 sky-high trestles. It was named a “Hall of Fame” trail by the Rail to Trail Conservancy, one of only 15 trails in the country. It was formerly part of the Milwaukee Railroad line on a route that ran between Montana & Idaho.

Route of Hiawatha Bike Tunnel

The start of the trail is a 1.6 mile long tunnel and it will all be downhill, with beautiful views of the Bitteroot mountains. {Even though it goes downhill, it is a very easy grade with a drop of 1000 ft total in 13 miles, so definitely doable for kids}

It is a very family-friendly trail with shuttles that leave from the Lookout Pass Ski area (right on the Idaho-Montana state line) to take you to the start of the trail 7 miles away. Lookout Pass is just 12 miles east of Wallace.

This bike & hiking trail is only open from Memorial Weekend through mid-September – make sure to check their website to confirm dates & times. You can purchase your tickets at Lookout Pass Ski area. If you want to bike & need to rent them, it can be pricey, so if you are planning on doing this, think about bringing your bikes with you on your trip to save. (You will need to pay for a trail pass & shuttle). You can read our full review of this bike ride here. 

Hike the Pulaski Tunnel Trail

For an outdoor adventure to enjoy all of the natural beauty in the Silver Valley & get a slice of history along the way, hike along the Pulaski Tunnel Trail. This is a 4 mile round-trip hike which documents with signs the plight of the firefighters who fought for their lives along this trail in 1910. Huge wildfires in the West culminated with a daring hideout by Ranger Ed Pulaski who saved a number of firefighters by hiding in an abandoned mine tunnel. This hike brings you to a lookout for the Pulaski Tunnel (mine tunnel) so you can see exactly what they faced. {Fun fact – the Pulaski, a firefighting tool, was invented by Ed Pulaski & the original tool is located in the Wallace District Mining

 

Explore the Quirky Town of Wallace

Downtown Wallace Idaho

The town of Wallace is a charming, historic town located in the Bitterroot mountains not far from the Idaho-Montana border. It has quite the mining history as this area was one of the largest producers of silver back in the 70’s (over 1 billion ounces of silver produced) & Wallace’s mining roots are evident as you stroll through the town. Visit the Wallace Mining Museum & the Northern Pacific Depot Museum to learn more about the mining history.

Teens will love grabbing a selfie at the Center of the Universe (a manhole cover right in the middle of a downtown street) or for a kid-friendly option, a photo with the sign next to the sidewalk.

Kids will want to head down a few blocks to the Red Light Garage restaurant where you’ll find a funky, life-size spacecraft in their parking lot – make sure to grab some fun photo ops with the spacecraft.

Red Light Garage Spaceship in Wallace Idaho

Visit a Park with Mining History 

Okay, this one sounds a little odd to put on here as this is the Wallace Welcome Center / Chamber of Commerce with a park attached to it. But as we were driving by this, we decided to pull over & check this out & found it to be a surprising hidden gem for families with kids and it is totally free area to learn more about the mining history in the Silver Valley.

Northern Idaho Mining Park in Wallace

In addition to the Welcome Center & clean bathrooms, there is a good-sized park and this park will be an interesting place to visit with your kids, especially kids who love to see big machinery. This park is almost like a mini museum filled with the equipment & tools that they used in the mining industry years ago.  Rather than just seeing pictures in a museum, kids can get up close & see the equipment in person to see just how big it is & better imagine how all of the equipment worked. I think kids who love to see big machines up close like construction equipment, will be fascinated by this big mining equipment.

Seven Stars Alpaca Ranch

Seven Stars Alpaca Farm Tour

The Seven Stars Alpaca Ranch is a bit of a drive from the Silver Valley, as it’s located on the outskirts of Couer d’Alene, but it was such an awesome experience, I think it’s well worth a drive there. The alpaca ranch was located about 40 minutes away from Kellogg, ID, headed back to Couer d’Alene, but this is an experience not to be missed as it’s rated #2 of best things to do in Couer d’Alene on TripAdvisor (& you’ll see why when you go on this tour!). The price is reasonable, too, for your family & well worth the money we paid for all of the time we spent with the animals! They do such a great job of introducing their guests to the lovable alpacas thru group tours. When we arrived,  the owner Andy brought us in to their building for some educational information about the alpacas. It was presented in such an easy to understand manner & we felt we really gained a lot of knowledge about the alpacas.

Alpaca Farm in Couer d Alene Idaho

Then, the farm tour started. It had been a wet, rainy day, so the alpacas definitely were not looking their fluffiest, but boy, they are still so adorable. We were able to go in & spend quite a bit of time with the alpacas while Andy offered to take our pictures with the alpacas as we fed them. This is where I fell in love with alpacas (& am now slightly obsessed with them). They just are so funny & it’s hard not to smile & laugh when you are around them.

Seven Stars Alpaca Farm Ranch Tour

Our tour was not only a chance to visit the alpacas, though, but to visit all the different animals on this working farm. We visited with the donkeys, goats, horses & more. We ended our tour in their darling little shop filled with products made with alpaca wool. The Seven Stars Alpaca Farm Tour was such a fun and informative tour & we learned so much about all of the animals from the wealth of knowledge that Andy shared with us. They truly love all of their animals & it really shows in how they interact with them & teach others to love them, too.

Family Friendly Restaurants:

We were pleasantly surprised by the unique & varied restaurants available in Wallace. Everything from a quirky cafe filled with so many treasures to keep you entertained to delicious burgers to tasty Italian food in a charming little cafe. So much history in many of these restaurants makes them fun places to visit as well.

Blackboard Cafe 

Blackboard Cafe in Wallace Idaho

Our favorite place to eat in the Silver Valley was the Blackboard Cafe in downtown Wallace. It’s a sandwich shop by day & a quaint &  charming Italian cafe by night. We headed there for dinner & the food was amazing!

Lasagna at Blackboard Cafe in Wallace Idaho

Large portions of pasta for the entrees & the kids’ meals were so filling as well. The recipes were very flavorful – my husband always gets lasagna at every Italian restaurant, but he’s very picky about whether he really likes it or not & this was most definitely a big hit for him! And we had so many leftovers to bring back to our fridge at the hotel. I love Italian leftovers, too, they are just as good the next day.

Blackboard Cafe Cozy Seating in Wallace Idaho

Not only is the food amazing, but the decor is just so cozy, plush & comfortable. We were there on a blustery week & it was so nice to hang out in this charming cafe. We enjoyed wandering the restaurant to read all the chalk quotes & drawings on the wall & relaxing in the plush furnishings. The owner is so friendly & kind, too – our dinner was definitely a highlight for the entire trip. And someplace we will definitely be visiting on our next trip to Wallace whether we are staying there or driving through on the way to Montana.

City Limits Brewpub 

The City Limits Brewpub is full of energy & people, so it’s a popular place to visit with kids as you don’t have to worry about noise and it has a fun vibe. The food is good, standard pub fare with a few specialties thrown in such as the Maple Burger if you have a sweet tooth. It’s a burger topped with maple syrup, sweet potato fries, provolone cheese, maple covered bacon & mayo! My husband was daring & tried one out & it was definitely a unique combo of sweet & savory.

This 100+ year old building is unique as the Nine Mile Creek runs underneath the building & in the middle of the restaurant is a freight elevator as it’s a former freight warehouse. So, definitely history in this building, too.

Red Light Garage

The restaurant boasts they have the best Huckleberry shake on I-90 between Seattle & Boston. The funky restaurant decor & license plates covering the restaurant will keep kids entertained as they eat.

Bathtub Seating in Red Light Garage in Wallace Idaho

If you want a fun, quirky dining experience, characteristic of the town of Wallace, the Red Light Garage is the place to go. Kids will be entertained by the eclectic decor & hundreds of license plates around the restaurant  (Play a game to see who can spot the most states in license plates). Try the Huckleberry pancakes or one of the 2 dozen burger options.

My kids were fascinated by the jukebox – they’d never seen a working jukebox, so we had fun selecting oldies but goodies! And the bathtub seating got a laugh from our girls – they both had to take turns lounging in the bathtub!  :)

Pro Tip – this restaurant is only open 8am – 2pm daily, so don’t forget to put this on your list for breakfast or lunch in town, but make sure you go during these hours. We drove thru several times wanting to go & didn’t realize it was only available thru lunch.

1313 Club 

1313 Club Outside dining

Just a few stores down from the center of the universe sign is the historic 1313 Club saloon & grill restaurant. They offer both indoor and outdoor seating on the sidewalk. Inside, you’ll find eclectic decor from their earlier history. This restaurant resides in the historic Heller building, which has been home to everything from a hotel to a bus depot to a barbershop before becoming the historic 1313 saloon & grill. On a nice summer evening, sit outside at one of their cafe tables to enjoy the easygoing pace of this small town, too.

Waffles & Chicken at 1313 Club in Wallace Idaho

We loved that they had some unique items on their menu – Braised Short Rib Poutine & Fried Wisconsin Cheese Curds (we tried these & they were delicious! My daughter loved the fried chicken & waffle dish. And some very unique combinations for burgers such as the Huckleberry Salmon Burger, Sconnie Burger (fried cheese curds, beer battered onion rings & blue cheese spread)!

Where to Stay:

If you’re driving through Idaho on your way from the Northwest to Montana or further, Kellogg or Wallace can make a great stopping point to have a shorter day for your first day & see some beautiful sights. There are several places to stay in both towns & it’s easy on/off access to the freeway which makes it a great place to visit.

Silver Mountain Resort

Silver Mountain Lodging Condos

If you are headed to northern Idaho, a visit to the Silver Mountain resort is definitely one not to be missed as it’s the perfect family-friendly location. The lodging consists of condos located in a little village in the heart of Kellogg, just a few short minutes off of highway 90 for easy on/off access. They offer everything from studio to two bedroom condos that sleep up to 6 people. With all of the rooms, you will have a kitchen in your room, which means you can eat some meals in your room if you’d like to save money & time.

The biggest draw for the resort is the Silver Mountain water park. We mentioned it above & it is definitely somewhere that will be a hit with the kids. But in addition to the waterpark, there are also several outdoor hot tubs on the property as well as fire pits to relax & enjoy some s’mores or warmth on a chilly night. During the winter, you just walk into the main village square steps away from your lodging & you’ll find the gondola to head up to the ski resort. This makes it so convenient for easy access with all of your ski gear. During the summertime, they offer mountain biking & hiking trails up at the resort & beautiful views via the gondola.  There are also places to eat & shop right in the heart of the Silver Mountain village, too, which is great for families after a busy day of activities.

Wallace Inn

Wallace Inn in Idaho

The Wallace Inn is located right in the town of Wallace so it’s very convenient & easy to access everything that the town has to offer. It’s very easy access on & off the freeway too. It is very clean & tidy & we felt the rooms were a pretty large size for hotel rooms. They offer some special rates if you are interested in riding the Route of the Hiawatha bicycle trail too.

Wallace Inn Pool

The pool at the Wallace Inn is definitely a highlight with the gorgeous large skylight letting in so much light & with views of the trees all around. It just made it feel much more airy & refreshing with those views to look at as you swim.

More Information about Northern Idaho:

Silver Mountain Resort

Silver Mountain Resort 

Triple Play Resort in Idaho

Triple Play Resort (near Couer d’Alene & Silverwood)

Silverwood Theme Park Review 

how to find discount tickets for Silverwood

Silverwood – How to get Discount Tickets

Silverwood Camping & Hotels near Silverwood

Northern Idaho - a Budget Friendly Family Vacation

Northern Idaho on a Budget

 

9 Things to Do in with Kids in Wallace & Kellogg ID

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