The museum is for everyone
The Museum of Idaho is committed to providing a quality experience for all of our guests. The following provides information about a range of accommodations.
Visitors with limited mobility
- MOI is fully wheelchair-accessible in accordance with ADA standards.
- Wherever possible, artifact labels have been placed at accessible heights.
- All public restrooms have wheelchair-accessible stalls, and there is one family/companion restroom available to all visitors.
- The museum has no wheelchairs available for use. Wheelchairs may be rented through third-party companies in the Idaho Falls area.
- Handicapped parking spots are available in lots both in front of and behind the museum. View parking map.
- An elevator is available to provide access to all exhibit areas.
- Portable stools are available at exhibit entrances and may be used anywhere in the museum. The stools are sturdy, lightweight, easy to carry, easy to rise out of, and may also be used as assistive walking devices.
- Limited bench seating is also available throughout the galleries.
Visitors who are blind or partially sighted
MOI’s Adventure Backpacks and Dig Deeper STEM Stations both include tactile experiences aimed at low-vision visitors.
- Adventure Backpacks may be checked out at the ticket counter and include tactile experiences and activities encouraging visitors to enjoy the museum in new ways. Braille instructions are also available upon request at the ticket counter. Visitors are requested to leave a personal item, such as photo ID, at the ticket counter while using a backpack.
- Dig Deeper STEM Stations are staffed booths scattered throughout the Way Out West exhibit. The number of stations varies depending on staff availability.
The MOI website has been designed with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines in mind, including the use of alt image text, high contrast, and descriptive links.
Adventure Backpacks and Dig Deeper STEM Stations are made possible through a grant from the Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation.
Visitors who are deaf or hard of hearing
- Visitors may scan QR codes on displays in the Toytopia exhibit to view transcripts of each display’s informational audio.
- Some galleries in the Way Out West exhibit contain background music and/or sound effects, but nothing including words or information required for the enjoyment or clarity of the exhibit.
- ASL interpretation is available for some kids’ educational programs when advance notice is provided, and dependent on available funding. Please contact Chloe at email@example.com to learn more.
Visitors with sensory sensitivities
The Museum of Idaho features some exhibits that include noises and changing light levels. In order to make some of these surprises more predictable, we have created resources that can be used before and during your visit. Please also note the occupational therapist’s guide to the Toytopia exhibit in the next section.
- View this printable sensory map, which shows areas in the museum that may include noises or light changes.
- View this printable experience planning guide, which can help caregivers communicate visually with visitors about what to expect and how to navigate the museum.
- For a quieter or less-crowded visit, we recommend visiting during shoulder hours (early or late in the day) or on a weekday, especially in the off-season (October through April). Call 208-522-1400 to inquire about scheduled large group tours, such as school field trips, that may occur during your planned visit.
- Adventure backpacks are available to check out at the ticket counter. Each backpack contains stress-relief items, fidget items, and activities encouraging visitors to experience the museum in new ways. Mammoth backpacks also contain noise-cancelling headphones and sunglasses, and these can be made available with other backpacks upon request. Guests are requested to leave a personal item, such as photo ID, at the ticket counter while using a backpack.
Adventure Backpacks are made possible through a grant from the Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation.
What to expect from Under the Canopy: A guide for those with sensory issues
This is a great exhibit, with live animals on display. There are some things that you will want to know before taking your family, especially those that have difficulty with sensory regulation (sounds, lights, crowds, etc.)
Because everyone experiences their environment in a different way, we have broken down the exhibit by sensory area and some of the things to expect:
Visual: When you walk into the museum initially, the lighting is fairly muted. As you walk into the actual exhibit, the area is less bright, with lighting on the exhibits. The first thing you see when you enter the exhibit is the gecko display. Most of the displays are live animals, and there may be some sudden movement. The lighting is pretty consistent throughout the exhibit, with no flashing or other sudden changes. It is decorated like a rain forest, and is mostly subdued. In the main part of the museum, with the mammoth, there is a video wall display depicting nature scenes. The display covers the wall and can be visually overwhelming when it moves.
Auditory: The display is set in a large exhibit hall that is open to the second level, and there are curtains and partitions that help dampen the sound. The sound can have a bit of an echo throughout the hall. There is background noise of the rainforest, but is not loud enough to disturb, rather it may add to the total background of noise.
Tactile: There are some interactive stations that have learning opportunities about the rain forest. Displays will ask you not to touch the glass as it may be disturbing for the animals.
Kinesthetic: There are so many places to move and interact. The displays are spaced well to allow for unrestricted movement. Animals are brought out into the museum 3 times a day for interaction. Those times are 11am, 2pm and 4pm. Animals are not let loose and are held by a staff member. There may be an opportunity to touch or pet the animal if desired.
Accommodations: The museum is ADA compliant, meaning they have ramps, elevators, information in audio and Braille, accessible bathrooms, etc. They also offer many benches to rest, and even portable seats you can use. The staff works well with all visitors, understanding that some have higher needs. Because this display contains live animals, it can exciting and overwhelming. Knowing that, the museum is prepared to offer quiet places to calm if needed. Don’t hesitate to ask where you can go for a timeout. They will also gently remind when to touch and when it is not appropriate.
Prepare your child
Talk about what they will experience, so that they can be prepared before they walk in. Allow your child to acclimate to the environment at their own pace. If your child tends to get overwhelmed, work on a code word they can use to alert you to help. Allow them to interact and ask questions. If your child has items that help with sensory regulation, such as a blanket, ear coverings or glasses, bring them along.
You may see animals are being fed or otherwise cared for, and this is a good time to ask questions.
- Backpacks: The museum has created backpacks that have interactive activities that go with permanent displays (the mammoth for example). Check them out for your child to have more hands-on learning opportunity. If you ask for the Mammoth backpack, it comes with noise-canceling headphones you can use throughout the museum.
- Docents: These people want you to have a great experience and they know the ins and outs of the museum. Ask them questions – if they don’t know they will find out!
- Quiet areas: The museum has many quiet corners and benches to take a break if needed. As the Under the Canopy display will be large and intimidating, you may check out the children’s room for a quieter place to decompress. We suggest the kid-sized teepee, log cabin or caves. The large visual wall on the main floor offers visually appealing nature scenes and sounds that may be calming as well. .
- Peak times and call ahead: If you or your child have difficulty with crowds, avoid peak times such as after-school and saturdays. During the day, school groups may come as well. You can call ahead and ask what traffic is like. If you do, it may be helpful to identify your need at that time.
Interactive learning using our senses is vitally important in child development. This display is perfect for learning, especially for those that love animals. It is fun for kids of all ages!
Service animals are welcome. MOI follows ADA requirements for service animals, meaning the animal must be trained and certified to provide assistance to a person with a disability. Visitors are not permitted to bring pets or other animals, including emotional support animals, into the museum.