Whether you’re a local or a tourist, Salt Lake City has something to keep you and the family busy, on those slow Saturday as well as busy weekday afternoons. After a day in Salt Lake City, you’ll learn that Utah is so much more than just canyons and Mormon churches, and your kids will be entertained every step of the way. Here are some of the top family-friendly, wholesome, and educational attractions throughout Salt Lake City – just to get you started.
Hot Air Balloons and Helicopter Tours
Air tours are quickly becoming the new hot tourist attraction at different locations across the globe. In Salt Lake, you’re sure to find a variety of different brands, companies, packages, and Groupon opportunities to take your loved ones on an unforgettable air tour experience. Whether it’s by helicopter or hot air balloon, these excursions are, unsurprisingly, more pricey than a typical museum pass or bus tour, but many believe they’re well worth it. If you’re looking for something different to allow you to take in the beautiful views of Salt Lake Valley, an air tour might be the perfect thing for you.
Natural History Museum of Utah
The state museum of natural history is a hugely popular attraction amongst tourists and locals alike. With interactive exhibits, an observatory deck, a three-story indoor model of the Canyon, thousands of artifacts, a cafe, and more, the Museum proudly displays prehistoric fossils, minerals and gems, and the history of the five Native American nations that lived in the Utah area before Mormon colonization. You’ll experience simulated earthquakes and get a first-hand look at how erosion and other natural events have changed the Earth’s surface – and, of course, the Great Salt Lake – over the years. Young kids will get to play in the exhibit called Our Backyard, a hands-on play area for pre-schoolers to examine the environment. Take a break to visit the gift shop for jewelry, books, apparel, toys, and more.
The Hogle Zoo
What’s more kid-friendly than a zoo? Not much – that is, if you’re looking for something that will keep the grown-ups and teenagers entertained and educated in addition to keeping the little ones distracted. With more than 800 animals available to see, visitors are able to get up close and personal with them. Being able to hand-feed the rhinos and birds might be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for out-of-state guests. With admission between $9-15 depending on the age of the guest and time of year, not counting additional fees for certain add-on activities, this zoo is a perfect daytime activity.
The Family History Library
Admittedly, this one might not be as exciting if you don’t have familial roots in Utah or at least a passion for genealogy. If so, a trip to this library will make for a fulfilling day trip. The Family History Library was founded in the late 1800s for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to keep track of their family history. Today, it has millions of genealogical records for more than two billion deceased individuals, earning it the title of the most extensive family history library/genealogical museum in the entire world. With free admission, all the library staff ask of you (aside from respecting the records) is that you organize your personal information beforehand so your research consultant will be able to assist you as quickly and smoothly as possible.
The Tracy Aviary
If the kids have had enough of genealogical records and want to do something more exciting and interactive, take them to Tracy Aviary, the oldest aviary in America. Tracy Aviary is home to exhibits, tours, educational programs, and research collections of more than 130 different bird species. Tours come included with the entrance price, or you could walk through it at your own pace. It’s about a two hour walkthrough with plenty to do. Bird shows will get the kids involved. The displays are more than just fossils or birds in cages: ducks and peacocks have free reign over the aviary, an owl exhibit modeled after a treehouse will keep everyone entertained, and indoor exhibits allow birds to fly freely about on their own, with the different display areas made to simulate the birds’ natural habitats.
If Tracy Aviary sounds good, you’ll be happy to know its home – Liberty Park – sprawls across 80 acres, each with plenty more to offer you and your family. Aside from the aviary, there is a popular public greenhouse. There are kid-friendly playgrounds and activities, concession stands and picnic areas, bicycle paths, a pond, and sporting facilities such as tennis courts and volleyball courts. If you want to enjoy the grass and sunshine without hiking through the canyon, Liberty Park in central Salt Lake City is the perfect choice for you. Best of all, there’s no admission fee, except for some of the athletic facilities.
Mystery Escape Room in the Gateway Mall
Escape-the-room games are becoming a popular trend across the country, all with a similar theme. A group of guests is “locked” in a seemingly innocuous room and have to work together, solving clues to find the key to their way out. Salt Lake City is proud to be home to the state’s first original live escape room. You’ll work through different themes – a pirate room, a spy-themed room, and more – and try and puzzle your way out in less than an hour. These immersive games are the perfect way to spend an afternoon. If you have a large group, split into teams and go through separate rooms – and the loser buys lunch!
Needless to say, the above are only a few of the fun activities available for you to in Salt Lake City, and we encourage you to do some more research to find out which would be best for you and your family. Once the kids are asleep, you could check out the nightlife, too. With all of its history, wildlife, arts, architecture, and more, Salt Lake City will not disappoint!