Hi, I'm Adam.

Adam Parkzer   •   30   •   Las Vegas, USA   •   5'10" (178 cm)   •   152 lbs (69 kg)   •   Korean American

Although I am best known for my various public appearances as a personality, I am a businessman and entrepreneur by trade. Pri­ma­ri­ly, I help run Tem­po, a game development studio, multimedia production company, and esports franchise; I am the Direc­tor of Cor­po­rate Op­er­a­tions, o­ver­see­ing le­gal, fi­nance, and hu­man re­sources ad­min­is­tra­tion. You can find more details on my curriculum vitae.

Having formerly been in law enforcement, my main interests include criminology and forensic psychology. In my free time, I like to write, train martial arts, pursue investment opportunities, and de­vel­op new prac­ti­cal skills. I used to be a competitive gamer, but now I just play casually.

The easiest way to get to know me better is to read about INTJs on the Myers-Briggs Type In­di­ca­tor. I'm split between Investigator (Type 5) and Chal­leng­er (Type 8) on the Enneagram. My CliftonStrengths Top 5 are De­lib­er­a­tive, Learner, An­a­lyt­i­cal, A­chiev­er, and Com­pe­ti­tion. I score highest in Well-Being, Self-Control, and Emotional Stability on the SPI-27. My top per­sonality trait on both the Big Five and HEXACO-PI-R is Con­sci­en­tious­ness.

I don't use social media much anymore, but my profiles are @Parkzer on Twitter, Adam Parkzer on LinkedIn, Parkzer on Last.fm, Parkzer on Twitch, and Adam Parkzer on YouTube. If you want to write me a letter or send me a package, you can ship it to PO Box 2222, Las Vegas, NV 89125-2222, USA.

Below, you can find my blog where I document my adventures, organize my thoughts, and share snippets of my life. You can browse in re­verse chron­o­log­i­cal or­der, or you can sort by these popular categories: Travel | Hiking | Food | Finance | Cats | Best of the Best

 

—§—

 

Hello, Shoshone Falls in Twin Falls, Idaho

On my way from Boise, Idaho to Utah, I made a quick stop part-way there in Twin Falls, Idaho for a few days.

This stop coincided with an eventful few days for my Corporate Op­er­a­tions Department at Tempo. On top of that, I wanted to play through the World of Warcraft Dragonflight pre-expansion patch con­tent be­fore re­lease day coming up (I don’t plan on binging and rushing through the new expansion right after it comes out, but I still want to experience the pre-patch storyline in its “To be continued…” state before that op­por­tu­ni­ty expires). And finally, it was also de­bil­i­tat­ing­ly cold outside most of the time.

The fact that my stay was relatively short, along with all these other rea­sons combined, meant that I only got to do one major tourist ac­tiv­i­ty in Twin Falls. I decided to pick the spot that Twin Falls is best known for: Shoshone Falls.

Back when I was still in Boise, I met someone who is originally from Twin Falls, and she claimed that Shoshone Falls can sometimes have wa­ter volume greater than Niagara Falls. That set my expectations pret­ty high, but I was also rational enough to realize that that’s prob­a­bly on­ly the case during the late spring when all the snow from the north is melt­ing and flowing down.

Needless to say, I was pret­ty disappointed at Shoshone Falls. The wa­ter­fall was a trickle at best. If it’s any consolation, at least I was able to en­ter for free, when otherwise there is usually a US$5.00 en­trance fee.

After observing from the main area, I made my way around to the side, where I found a short trail which led to a small clearing with nice views of the Snake River from a different angle.

The most interesting part about this alternative angle is that it seemed like portions of waterfall were deep inside the rocky cliffsides, and where there were openings, the water splashed out enough that it created icicles.

After enjoying what I could of Shoshone Falls, I made my way back onto Champlin Road and drove up the grade. The cliffs hugging the side of this road had a similar situation as the bluffs pictured above, where a smaller waterfall blanketed the rocks with icicles.

Wanting to see a bit more before leaving, I continued on East 3400 North eastbound to Dierkes Lake.

I like exploring the outdoors, and Twin Falls was conveniently located close to Interstate 84, so it was definitely worth it for me. However, if you’re planning a special trip to this area and want the best experience, it’s looking like late spring (or maybe even early summer) is going to be the optimal time to go for the most impressive sights.

 

—§—

 

Goodbye Boise, Idaho

After two weeks, my stay in Boise, Idaho comes to an end. Unfortunately, I lost a few days to getting food poisoning from eating lobster soup, and an­oth­er few days because I had a small work-related emergency come up that I needed to help resolve immediately, but I still got to go out and explore the cit­y a lot.

The hotel I stayed at was the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Boise West. It’s a newly-constructed hotel at Town Square, which the locals apparently call “the mall” (because apparently there is only one major mall in Boise). The location was extremely convenient, and I probably would’ve walked a­round the area some more if it wasn’t so cold. There were plenty of restaurants nearby so I could eat something different every day.

Like pretty much all new-generation Fairfield Inns, this hotel was perfectly to my liking. Everything was clean and modern, the desk was nice and large, the breakfast offering was decent, the hot coffee station in the lobby was available 24/7, there was convenient stair and side door access, parking was am­ple, and everything was simple and peaceful (though the walls were a bit thin, so during a few nights, I heard my next door neighbor snoring).

It will probably be a disappointment for people looking for a resort hotel while on vacation, but for a long-term traveler like me, I don’t think I could’ve asked for anything better.

On the day of my arrival, it was a bit rainy, but after I had brought all my stuff inside and set up my workstation, I was welcomed with a nice rainbow.

The day after that, there was some light snowfall. There wasn’t enough for it to accumulate too much on the ground beyond just a thin blanket on the grass, but it was enough to cover the mountains in white.

There was a particular tree that was visible from my hotel room window. It seems to have gotten extremely surprised by the snowfall… so much so, that it for­got to turn its leaves orange prior to dumping all of them onto the ground.

I don’t remember what the context was for this photo, but I imagine I took it because of how interesting the cloud coverage looked. This was during the middle of the day, and the sun was out bright, but the clouds were so thick that it almost felt like it was already the evening.

One of the places I visited that I didn’t write a blog post about was the Boise Art Museum. The reason it didn’t get its own standalone blog post, and is just being bundled into this round-up… is because photography was not permitted. If I had known this, I would’ve just spent the day going to the Idaho State Museum next door instead, but the front desk attendant didn’t tell me about the no-photography rule until after I had already purchased my ticket.

At first, the Boise Art Museum was incredibly underwhelming. There was a ton of neon art, but I wasn’t really able to understand the significance or im­por­tance of it. Shaped neon tube lights are mass-produced, so I’m not sure if I’m just desensitized to it, but it wasn’t particularly impressive. Another strange thing I noticed about the neon section was that some of the descriptions blatantly said that some of the items were purchased off eBay. This tech­ni­cal­ly means that the “art” aspect of it was the juxtaposition of the items, rather than the items themselves…? I wasn’t really able to pinpoint any­thing spe­cial about this exhibit.

After that, there were an insane number of sketches displayed everywhere—I’m talking about probably in the hundreds. They looked like rough drafts that came out of someone’s sketch book, and again, I wasn’t really able to understand why they were special or appealing. Later, I Googled the artist, Jacob Hashimoto; the art I saw pop up on Google Images were visually complex, multi-layered, and overall very awesome. This made me realize that this art museum probably didn’t have the funding to get Hashimoto’s full art pieces, but they still wanted to make an exhibit of his work, so instead, they just put up a ton of his sketches.

The middle section of the art museum was very traditional and just felt like a normal museum—not bad, but also not too revolutionary or inspiring.

Things got a bit better at the end. One of the final exhibits near the back was a recreated piece of Félix González-Torres’, a Cuban-American artist. One of the themes of his art was replenishment and audience participation.

The art museum’s messaging alongside this piece was that, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the community drifted apart due to the quarantines im­ple­mented to minimize the spread of the coronavirus, but now that things have returned to normal, it is time for people to come back together. One of the ways to do this is for visitors to interact with art pieces together. Titled “Untitled,” the art piece was an “endless supply” of individually-wrapped apple-flavored green candies that together form a shape, and visitors were permitted to take a piece of candy.

If you’re a huge fan of art museums, you may like the Boise Art Museum, but if you’re just a general tourist exploring Boise and don’t have unlimited time, I highly recommend visiting something else. It is also very unfortunate that they don’t permit personal photography, so you won’t be able to cap­ture memories and trigger them later in life when you look back at old pictures.

 
Another place I visited that I didn’t write a dedicated blog post about was Ann Morrison Park. I wouldn’t say there was anything particularly stunning about this park, but it was still nice. There were quite a few other people just going for walks or playing with their kids, and the park gave off family-friendly and community-bonding vibes.

The park hugged the Boise River, so I walked a trail alongside the water.

I kept walking down the unnamed trail towards Boise State University, and before entering the campus, I took the Ninth Street Bridge to the other side.

Directly on the other side was the Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial, which seemed to be either under construction or getting renovations. There were a few monuments that symbolized various aspects of human rights.

After walking around for a bit more, I made my way back to Ann Morrison Park.

Taking a brief intermission for a contextual story… Google Maps has a location sharing feature, and while I was staying long-term with my friend Doug Wreden, I gave him access to my shared location. After I left, I kept his access permission intact so he could see where I was in my travels.

He finds this very amusing, and once in a while, he will text me saying “I hope you are enjoying…” with a particular business name, which usually hap­pens while I am driving and simply just happen to be passing in front of the building (as opposed to actually being at that place).

One day, Doug texted me excitedly telling me to look to my right at “Dog Island.” I, like usual, was just driving past the area, but later on, I looked it up and found the island he was talking about. While returning to my truck from Ann Morrison Park, I decided to make Doug happy and cut through To­geth­er Treasure Valley Dog Island.

Unfortunately, the island wasn’t a real island—it was just a peninsula—but the edge of the peninsula that was connected to the rest of the land was attached directly to a cliff, so it was practically an island. As for why it is called “Dog Island,” it is basically a massive no-leash dog park. You have to open two sets of sequential gates to get in, and they are secured using no-key locks that can only be opened using opposable thumbs, but once you’re in, you’re surrounded by dogs happily running around everywhere and having fun.

I enjoyed my stay in Boise. It isn’t quite as stunning as Canada or some parts of Montana, and it’s not as strange and quirky as where I usually live in Las Vegas, but it’s a solid, well-rounded city, and I can definitely see why so many people have been moving there lately.

There are a lot of interesting things to do (more so than other much bigger cities, it seems), and I feel like I could’ve continued to keep myself occupied with more tourist activities even if I had booked my stay to be an entire month instead of just two weeks. The culture also reminded me a bit of Montana in the sense that the people here were very friendly and had a “be self-sufficient, but also look out for each other” kind of attitude, but it also had a sprin­kle of medium-sized city culture as well.

My stay in Boise doesn’t add another state to my travel map because I had already previously driven through the Idaho panhandle, but it does change I­da­ho from just a drive-through state to a destination state.

Since the last time I posted a copy of my travel map, I also made a few adjustments to Washington—I decided to treat the Seattle Metropolitan Area like I did the San Francisco Bay Area and add more destination pins, considering that a lot of the cities I stayed at were far-enough away from each other that it would sometimes take an hour or more to get back to the city of Seattle.

Next up is a quick stop in Twin Falls, Idaho, then onward to Utah.

 

—§—

 

Hello, Idaho State Capitol Building in Boise

When deciding what cities to visit, I generally look at bigger cities with larger metropolitan areas that are easily accessible off major interstate highways. This ensures I have a wider selection of hotels to pick from, which means the competition keeps nightly rates low. It also increases the like­li­hood of there being plen­ty of good tourist activities for me to do during my stay.

Capitals aren’t necessarily the biggest or most attractive city in the state, so I don’t always end up visiting each state’s capital. Out of my road trip since June 2021, the only capital cities I’ve actually visited were Salt Lake City, Utah; Denver, Colorado; Springfield, Illinois; Indianapolis, Indiana; Atlanta, Georgia; Cheyenne, Wyoming; and Helena, Montana. Out of those seven, the only capitol building I’ve toured was in Springfield.

My current visit in Boise, Idaho is the eighth city to be added to that list, and also became the second capitol I toured. Interestingly, the Idaho State Cap­i­tol was one of the higher-rated attractions that I saw on travel websites, so I added it to my list of things to check out while in town.

I entered through the main entrance and was assisted by a canine officer who recommended I start my tour at the bottom-most floor. I climbed down the stairs and went to the visitor area, but the help desks and gift shop were empty, so I grabbed one of the self-tour booklets and started walking a­round.

This was called the “garden level.” The center had a lot of posters and a few interactive placards that explained how the government works. It also showed diagrams of how the three branches of government keep each other in check to ensure a balance of power, as well as a timeline of how new bills are passed into law.

On either side of the informational exhibit were the Senate Wing and the House Wing. These hallways mostly just had rooms and offices, as well as pho­to­graphs of past Senate and House members.

I continued upstairs to the rotunda and interior of the dome, which was nicely decorated for the holiday season.

A majority of the first floor was occupied by the Legislative Services Offices, but the south­eastern corner housed the Treasurer’s Office. This area was turned into more of a museum exhibit area, and one of the vaults was left open so visitors could see how the doors work.

The Legislative Services Offices had sections for administration, research, and audits on the western and eastern wings. When I headed to the north, I came across an employee who asked if I was on a self-guided tour, then offered to show me around a bit in the ref­er­ence li­brar­y.

On the way into the library, we saw an antique elevator, which was apparently used to pri­vately transport judges directly to the Idaho Supreme Court Chamber two floors up.

The reference library was very interesting to me, and it brought back memories of when I used to work for the police department. Because I was so efficient, I frequently ran out of things to do during my working hours, and would end up going to other areas of my vil­lage’s government services to assist there. One of the tasks I did was digitizing a lot of the old papers in the Village Hall.

When I told the state employee this story, and about how all these books and archives reminded me of my first real job, he took me to the back room and showed me hand­written bills and meeting minutes that looked nearly identical to what I had been tasked to scan nearly a decade ago.

Something unusual I noticed, not only in the library but also throughout the capitol build­ing in general, was how much they seemed to trust the public. There was minimal security present, visitors were allowed to just wander and roam around, and the library had im­por­tant written pieces of history just laying around and accessible to anyone who happens to stumble in.

I spoke quite a bit with the various state employees working in and around the reference library; I shared a lot of anecdotes from my travels, and we talked in-depth about the differences in culture between a place like Boise and a busier major city in a place like California… though Boise is also very rapidly increasing in population.

On my way out of the library and to the second floor, one of the employees offered to take a picture of me in front of the session law books from the late 1800s and throughout the 1900s, which is apparently something that is popular to do among new law school graduates.

For the next part of my self-guided tour, I worked my way up to the Executive Branch floor, which had the offices of the Attorney General, Secretary of State, and Lieutenant Governor.

And of course, an Executive Branch floor wouldn’t be complete without the Governor and his support staff. The current governor of Idaho is Bradley Jay Little, who has been serving as the 33rd governor since January 2019. Prior to being the governor, he also served as the lieutenant governor and a mem­ber of the Idaho Senate as well.

Unfortunately, the third and fourth floors weren’t that interesting. The third floor had the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee and the Senate and House Chambers, all of which were closed to the public. The fourth floor had public galleries from which you could look down on the chambers… but those were also closed.

While on the fourth floor, I peeked out some windows from Statuary Hall towards the Frank Steunenberg Statue for a nice view straight down Capitol Boulevard.

I know I regularly make fun of the United States government because of how inefficient government agencies tend to be, and I usually don’t have too many positive things to say about government, but I thought this visit to the Idaho State Capitol was great. All the people I met were very pleasant and looked like they wanted to go out of their way to answer my questions, teach me something new, and make sure I enjoyed my stay in Boise.

Some of the staff did mention that, with the growth of Boise, access to some areas of the Capitol were being restricted from the general public (which I guess was already going into effect on the upper floors). If you’re interested in learning how the state of Idaho is run (or just want to get a general idea of the baseline structure of how any state government is run), I think now is a great time to do it—better sooner than later.

I was originally expecting this to be a quick half-hour stroll, but because of all the great conversations I was having with everyone, my visit ended up lasting a few hours.

Oh, the two people you see on the steps? The man was taking photos of the woman, who seemed to be an influencer posing for thirst traps. 🤦

 

—§—

 

Hello, Table Rock in Boise, Idaho

For my first hike in Boise, Idaho, I selected Table Rock. The trailhead was right next to the Old Idaho Penitentiary State Historic Site that I had just visited, so I headed back over there to the East End neighborhood.

There are multiple paths leading up to Table Rock, so I decided to hike in a figure-8 so I could hit as many of the trails as possible. On the route up, I started at the Old Penitentiary Trailhead and worked my way up Old Penitentiary Trail. It was pretty muddy, but still manageable.

As I ascended in elevation and got closer to the Y-intersection with Table Rock Trail, there were some nice views towards the northwest and southwest.

After passing the intersection of Table Rock Loop and continuing on Table Rock Trail, I made it up to the summit. At the top, there was a cross, as well as a placard explaining the story behind the fixture.

Apparently, it had originally been a source of controversy due to it being a religious symbol displayed on government land. Because the claims of the separation of church and state were valid, the Idaho State Land Board decided to auction off the land housing the symbol to a private party.

That wasn’t enough for some activists, as they perceived this to simply be a loophole solution, so they litigated. First they tried to block the auction, and then later tried to nullify the sale, but both attempts were not successful. Furthermore, around the same time, there was overwhelming public support for keeping the cross. Eventually, the activists gave up, because they realized this would just be an uphill battle.

From the summit, there was a nice view of downtown Boise…

… as well as of the less-populated suburban areas.

As I’ve come to see relatively frequently from hikes like this, Table Rock also had some radio towers at the top. I’m not an expert on communications equipment, but I think those towers with the white semi-cylinders might be 5G transmitters.

Also at the top, there was quite a bit of graffiti on the structures surrounding the radio towers. A lot of the graffiti were just markings and symbols, but there were also some nice mural art pieces as well.

I kept walking past everything and made my way to a clearing that showed a nice view of the scattered homes and mountains towards the northeast.

After taking in all the sights, I started walking southeast on East Table Rock Road, which seemed like it was a road that had originally been designed for motor vehicle traffic but has since been blocked off. At first, I didn’t see where the road connected back onto Table Rock Loop, so I walked over a barrier and kept proceeding on the road… until I saw signs stating that I was entering a federally-regulated mine and that trespassing was prohibited.

After retracing my steps, I found the proper walking trail and continued through the most treacherous part of my hike. Because this side of the mountain was shaded from the sun, there was still a lot of snow and ice obscuring and covering the trail. That, mixed with a lot of elevation change in a short dis­tance and cliffs with sharp drops, and I had to tread carefully as to not go plummeting to my death.

After managing to complete that portion alive, I connected onto Table Rock Quarry Trail, which was my favorite part of the hike. As you’d expect from the word “quarry” in the name of the trail, this area was very rocky and terraneous. There were huge rock formations engulfing the northern side of the path, making for a very interesting experience.

On this path, I also came across a small structure nestled inside the ground. I’m not sure what it is or how it got there, but I decided it was interesting enough to snap a photo.

On the south side, there were unobstructed views of Warm Springs Mesa, which appeared to be an affluent neighborhood off East Warm Springs Av­e­nue.

On my way down, I continued descending on Table Rock Trail instead of going on Old Penitentiary Trail at the Y-intersection like when I came up.

Overall, my hike was 4.26 miles (6.86 kilometers) and had an elevation gain of about 880 feet (268 meters).

While I was ascending, the weather was in an awkward spot where I was sweating under my winter coat, but it was still too cold and windy to take it off (though this problem went away after I had reached the summit and while I was descending). If you’re in Boise and are fit enough for this hike, I definitely recommend it—I found it to be very refreshing, and because of the shape of Table Rock, it allows for sweeping, panoramic views in all di­rec­tions if you walk around in a circle.

 

—§—

 

Hello, Old Idaho Penitentiary State Historic Site in Boise

Back when I visited Gillete, Wyoming, I stopped by the Wyoming Frontier Prison Museum, which I found to be particularly intriguing. Having pre­vi­ous­ly studied criminal justice and worked in law enforcement, it was interesting to see what incarceration was like decades ago when prisons had min­i­mal to no creature comforts.

Because of my positive experience back then, I was excited when I saw the Old Idaho Penitentiary was rated as one of the better tourist attractions in Boise, Idaho, and penciled a visit into my schedule.

Admission was US$8.00, which I think was an $8 well spent. I was originally offered a US$2.00 add-on service for a guided tour, which I didn’t take be­cause the start time was, if I recall correctly, about an hour and a half away. They apparently usually run more guided tours, but tuned back the fre­quen­cy temporarily because there was recently a snowstorm and tourism wasn’t exactly booming.

Well, I ended up spending more than an hour and a half there. I guess I technically could’ve joined in on the tour, but by that point, I had already seen a large portion of the penitentiary, so I figured I would just finish walking through the rest myself.

It was freezing cold and still actively snowing when I went to visit. Although there was little snow accumulation on the sidewalks, everything else was covered by a blanket of white. The snow made my visit a lot more surreal and immersive, as it really exemplified how harsh life was like here during the colder months of Idaho weather.

For some reason, I had trouble interpreting the self-guided tour map at first (even though it’s not actually really that confusing of a map). Because of this, after I left the administration building, I started walking around randomly and arbitrarily until I saw everything there was to see. One of the first things I took a look at was one of the watchtowers stationed in the northeast corner of the property.

A few buildings were left in their demolished state from the riots in the early 1970s. I don’t quite remember if the picture below is of the dining hall, commissary, chapel, or cell house, but all four of those buildings fell victim to angry prisoners at some point prior to the prison closing in 1973.

The shirt factory and loafing room building was accessible from multiple entry points, and it was the only structure that had working heat in some areas. This building still had the old laundry room (which was not one of the heated sections), and it still had all the old laundry equipment inside.

This is the “4 House,” which was the largest building that housed prison cells. There is also the “3 House” and “2 House,” which are smaller buildings, as well as the “5 House,” which I will show below.

The inside of these cells looked very similar to what I recall seeing at the Wyoming Frontier Prison Museum. If the cell wasn’t so filthy and the paint wasn’t so tattered, I guess it isn’t too far off from modern-day cells as well… though that’s probably because there are only so many different ways you can arrange a bed, toilet, and sink in a small area.

The rear hallway behind the rows of prison cells was also open for viewing; this allowed prison guards to easily monitor inmates on both sides of the build­ing effectively without having to walk in the front of the cell bars on one half of the building at a time.

I don’t remember exactly why these cells were separated out, or why they were special enough for me to photograph, but my guess is that these might have been the dedicated cells for inmates who were on death row awaiting execution.

This is the “5 House,” also known as maximum security. (Or, there is also the possibility that I am getting my photographs mixed up, and I am just im­ag­ining that this is maximum security simply because the cells look more secure. Keep in mind that I didn’t follow a certain path and just kept wan­der­ing around until I saw everything, so it’s very possible that I am misremembering the route I took to visit all the buildings.)

Over on the east side of the site, the barber shop was repurposed to display a timeline of the history of what happened at the penitentiary. I found this to be very interesting, and the medium of information transfer was great—there were comics threaded in between more text-heavy posters so that you could get drawn in by the visual representation of the most notable events, then be able to read more details right next to it.

The general idea of the story that was told through the comics was that conditions at the prison were horrid, and after losing patience with just dealing with it, prisoners tried to express their concerns to the prison management. After they realized their voices were basically being projected into the void, they started using violence and rioted in order to catalyze the changes the prison needed to be fit for human life.

Not pictured here were two additional attractions inside the heated building that I mentioned above. The first was an event space, which did not have an active event going on, but still housed a few interesting vehicles from what I imagine was the 1970s or so, around the time that the prison closed.

The second was the J.C. Earl Weapons Exhibit, which was basically like a very traditional museum that was not related specifically to the penitentiary, but had (as you’d expect from the name) many weapons on display from a wide range of notable historical periods.

I had a great time visiting the Old Idaho Penitentiary State Historic Site. I’m sure at least some of it had to do with my background and my personal interest in criminal justice, but I think a lot of it also had to do with the fact that the presentation was done very well.

I was fortunate to stumble across the “comic room” early, so I read through everything and was able to get some solid baseline knowledge of the history so I could then use that to understand what I was looking at around the site.

Even outside the dedicated “information buildings,” there were placards posted at notable hotspots that ex­plained why the area I’m standing in or the artifacts I’m looking at were relevant and important. One of the buildings (I don’t remember if it was the “2 House” or “3 House”) even labeled each of the cells with the name of the prisoner who lived there and a brief description of the crime they committed, which made it feel even more immersive.

Unfortunately, it seems like I missed visiting one building, which was the women’s ward—I originally didn’t notice it because it was outside the fenced area, and only realized it existed after I looked back on the map later to organize my photos.

I definitely acknowledge that visiting a prison as a tourist activity isn’t for everyone, but if you don’t get grossed or weirded out too easily, I would recommend checking it out if you’re ever in the Boise area. It’s not something that I’ve noticed a lot of other cities have available, so it could be a rare opportunity to experience something that you might not otherwise have a a chance to do elsewhere.

 

—§—

 

Hello, Zoo Boise in Idaho

I’ve been to quite a few zoos now all across the United States. There have been some nice ones and not-so-nice ones, but usually, they all seem fairly well-maintained and cared for.

As my first tourist activity in Boise, Idaho, I decided to go to Zoo Boise, and it was a very unexpected ex­pe­ri­ence. It is currently late autumn and nearly wintertime, so it’s definitely off-season, but I didn’t ex­pect it to be quite so… “aban­doned.”

Pretty much every zoo and aquarium that I’ve been to before has been fairly busy and bustling with peo­ple, and oftentimes, there are a lot of children running around. Zoo Boise was completely different—there were barely any other people there, and throughout my whole time exploring the premises, I saw a grand total of three other groups.

The animals didn’t look neglected or anything, but they definitely didn’t look happy or excited. Most of them were just sitting around idly and appeared completely unstimulated by their environment (except for one baboon that I’ll show later).

There were also very few staff members around. Usually in zoos, there are many employees present tak­ing care of the animals and interacting with visitors to teach them about the animals, but throughout my whole visit, I only saw two employees who, at the time, were transporting some equipment to a different area in a wheel­barrow and cart.

The upside of all this is that, with almost nobody else around, I had a substantial amount of freedom to stick around at the exhibits waiting for great photo opportunities without feeling like I am interfering with the experience of others. On top of that, with pretty much no staff members around to enforce the rules, I was able to climb over wooden and mesh fences to get extremely close to the animals and capture even better pictures.

 
Near the entrance was a serval. He turned around to look back at me when I approached, but after he realized that I’m not there to feed him, he turned back around and just stared into a corner.

Across a bridge were a pair of monkeys. They had a somber look, staring off into the distance.

Next up was the lion. The map implied that there was more than one, but I only saw one pacing back and forth by the glass looking pane.

Near the lion was the penguin pavilion, where I patiently waited until a penguin swam right up to the glass.

There was an indoors section called the African Schoolhouse where there were some exotic birds.

This is Nyala and Hornbill, two capybaras. I know their names because, on the map, they labeled this area of the zoo with their names, rather than using their generic species name like they did for every other animal.

Nearby was the warthog area. The warthog was very far away, so I got as close as I could to the fence, zoomed all the way in, and snapped a bunch of pho­tos in hopes that at least one of them was in focus. I don’t know if the warthog was doing this on purpose, but in the final photo of the sequence, he was smiling.

Here is a baboon licking a wooden pole. This was the only animal I saw that was actually interacting with its environment, as opposed to just idly sitting or laying around.

The hyenas were a bit more fun to watch—there were a group of four of them, and they walked around a bit in between laying down on the grass and on top of rocks. One of them got brave enough to separate from the group and come approach me.

While walking through the final section of the zoo, I saw a sign for a red panda enclosure. There were many enclosures that were empty, and I couldn’t im­me­di­ate­ly find the red panda, so I assumed this one was empty as well, but after closer inspection, I saw one perched in the far back corner.

And finally, I concluded my zoo trip by watching this tiger taking a nap in the grass.

Although the zoo was a bit disappointing, I feel like I was able to effectively make the best of the situation. Admission was only US$9.00, which is, on av­er­age, less than half the price of other zoos I’ve visited (and even less if you consider the huge spike in inflation lately).

It was almost as if I was able to have a self-guided private experience. Even though I wasn’t able to see a wide variety of different animals, I got to have extended observation, and capture many good photos, of the ones that I did have an opportunity to see.

 

—§—