NewsIdaho Backroads


A taste of Idaho's back roads in the middle of town

MK Nature Center provides education, wildlife viewing
Posted at 1:09 PM, Apr 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-24 15:09:58-04

DOWNTOWN BOISE — You could travel Idaho's back roads for days, weeks, or even months and possibly never see anything like this; a mink unsuccessfully struggling to drag a large trout into its den. But this is a scene that we caught on video last winter right in the middle of Boise.

On another visit last summer we were within a few feet of this mule deer buck and his companion doe in the very same place, the MK Nature Center. It's a sanctuary for wildlife and a sanctuary for parents like Alexis Brown, who brings her family here often. "At least once a week when it's nice out," said Brown.

And if you spend enough time you will have the opportunity to see some amazing creatures. From an entire family of minks, to a great blue heron and the crayfish it may be stalking, to a beaver, or even a deer born just this morning, you never know what you might see in this refuge that is less than two miles from the capital building.

"People just come and they say 'Wow this is amazing,'" said Fish and Game Education Supervisor Vicky Runnoe. "'It's right here. It's right close to downtown. I saw deer, I saw mink, I saw this. I didn't know it lived here,' so it's really a jewel."

And even if you aren't lucky enough to see a deer fawning or a mink preying, there are always the fish, including sturgeon as old as thirty years old. Three sturgeon lurking in the pond, named small, medium and large by nature center staff. The sturgeon and other fish like rainbow trout are visible from the bridge and a series of windows which allow an extreme close-up view.

And remember our friend, the mink? It never succeeded in getting that trout into it's den, which provided a lasting opportunity to see and photograph raw nature, as the trout got smaller and the mink got fatter.

Alexis Brown says those opportunities make this the perfect place for kids to see and learn about things that you would likely never see in a typical city park. "They're kind of a part of nature here," said Brown. "Rather than at the park, there's other things they get to play with. Here they feel like they're a part of nature and I think they love that."

The Nature Center hosts numerous educational events like the Spring Wildlife Celebration this weekend. For more information, click here.