Saturday, September 30, 2023


Small museums make for awesome family RV Short Stops

By Julianne G. Crane
Small museums, like the Idaho Museum of Natural History, often offer a lot to families. They frequently don’t overwhelm children with their physical size. Also, many feature awesome areas where kids can experiment and learn through interactive exhibits.

Kids experiment and learn through interactive exhibits. (ISU_MNH)

Idaho’s natural history museum strives to provide: “Discovery through world-class, science-based programming that highlights the incredible life, earth, and anthropology collections.”

“This is Idaho”

Opening May 29, This is Idaho “explores the wild mosaic of mountains, rivers, and plains offering majestic beauty and scattered resources that shape all who live” in Idaho. The exhibit explores what makes Idaho’s land unique. Museum experts and collections “reveal how the Gem State is a special place in America.”

This exhibit “is a very good exhibit for RVers,” says museum staffer Theresa. “It deals with all the bio-regions of Idaho and delves into geology, anthropology and archeology.”

“Ice Age” exhibit

Ice Age exhibit at the Idaho Museum of Natural History. (ISU)

Children flock to The Ice Age exhibit. It “explores the wonders of the large prehistoric animals that roamed the Snake River Plains” in Idaho, according to museum staff.

Visitors “encounter the short-faced bear, saber tooth cats, Bison latifrons, and a giant ground sloth.” And they’ll marvel at “the Helicoprion sharks which lived more than 230 million years ago and were found in Idaho.” Young ones learn about how Native Americans would hunt with the atlatl and dart.

Idaho Museum of Natural History

Idaho State University’s Pocatello campus in Building #1
698 E Dillon St., Pocatello, ID 83201
(208) 282-3168
Gallery is closed until May 28.
Hours: Monday: Closed. Tuesday-Friday: 12 – 5 p.m., Saturday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday: 12 – 5 p.m.
Cost: Adult (18+): $7; Senior (60+): $5; Youth (4-17): $3; Children 3 and under: Free. Active Military & Veterans: 20% Discount (with ID).
Ample complimentary parking for RVs is available in the General Parking Lot 01. For an excellent map on how to get to the museum’s parking lot from I-15, click here.

Writer’s Note: There is still ample reason to be cautious during the upcoming summer travel season. RV Short Stops continues to highlight places that can be safely experienced. 

Julianne G. Crane
Read more of Julianne’s RV Short Stops posts here.
Read more about the RV Lifestyle by clicking on


Julianne G. Crane
Julianne G. Crane
Julianne G. Crane writes about the RVing and camping lifestyles for print and online sites. She was been hooked on RVing from her first rig in the mid-1980s. Between 2000-2008, she was a writer for The Spokesman-Review newspaper in Spokane, Wash. One of her popular columns was Wheel Life about RVing in the Pacific Northwest. In 2008, Crane started publishing RV Wheel She and her husband, Jimmy Smith, keep a homebase in southern Oregon, while they continue to explore North America in their 21-foot 2021 Escape travel trailer. Over the years they have owned every type of RV except a big class A. “Our needs change and thankfully, there’s an RV out there that fits every lifestyle.”


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Tommy Molnar
2 years ago

This is SO true. While the “Museum of Science and Industry” in Chicago (where I grew up) is a great fun place to go, I have gotten much more pleasure and fun going through small town museums like Beatty, NV and Ely, NV, Troy, MT, and others. Most small towns have these really cool (and in some cases small) museums.

As we tour these gems, we see all this “old” stuff like Philco radios, can openers, tools, etc. and suddenly realize much of these ‘ancient’ things are the stuff WE GREW UP WITH! Uh oh . . . . .

Last edited 2 years ago by Tommy Molnar
Julianne G Crane
2 years ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

Thank you Tommy for these suggestions. We are planning another circumnavigation of the USA beginning in early 2022 and plan to hit as many small town museums as we can. We enjoy talking to the local people about local history…and finding out where the best ice cream cone place is.

2 years ago

While this article is focused on Idaho, there are small museums all over the country. We found out long ago that many small towns have a museum staffed by volunteers that go out of their way to welcome travelers. We now use Google Maps to search for museums and other points of interest in small towns as we roam around. Sometimes we get a lesson on something notable in history, and sometimes it’s just a look at life back in the day. They’re out there and not hard to find.

Julianne G Crane
2 years ago
Reply to  Dan

Thank you Dan for this reminder. Also appreciate the hint of using Google Maps. If you feel like it, please share a museum or two that were surprises. Happy trails.

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