Best kid-friendly attractions for families visiting Salt Lake City
Whether you’re an outdoors lover or a culture seeker, Salt Lake City offers the best of both worlds for families. My family is still discovering all that this beautiful area has to offer. Here’s a look at 10 of the best Plays that you’ll find.
Photo courtesy: Utah Olympic Park
1/Red Butte Garden
300 Wakara Way
Red Butte Garden is nestled in the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains, giving you fabulous views of the Salt Lake Valley below. It has something special to offer both children and adults: a splash pad in the children’s garden, a hands- or nose-on herb garden, and an exquisite rose garden. A visit to the garden is a beautiful and educational way to spend any afternoon. Just be sure to bring some sunscreen and maybe a towel. My kids couldn’t resist a few runs through the splash pad. Cost: Youth (3-17) $7; Adult $12.
2/Utah's Hogle Zoo
2600 Sunnyside Ave. South
While Utah’s Hogle Zoo isn’t one of the largest that my family has visited, it's one of the most unique. It’s located right on the edge of the Wasatch Mountains, so make sure you wear comfortable shoes! The zoo is home to more than 800 animals and allows you to have a fairly up-close experience with many of them. The Zoofari Express takes you through the African Savanna, right next to the zebras, giraffes, and ostriches. Of course, two favorites with my kids are the Conservation Carousel and the Creekside Play Area. Cost: Youth: (3-12) $10.95; Adult $14.95.
3003 N. Thanksgiving Way, Lehi
This attraction requires about a 30-minute drive south of Salt Lake City, but it’s well worth it. My kids love Thanksgiving Point because of the variety of hands-on entertainment. The Museum of Ancient Life allows your kids to roam among dinosaurs. There’s plenty to look at and read about, but most kids prefer the 50+ hands-on exhibits that you’ll find in the museum. From there, take a walk down to Farm Country, where kids can feed farm animals, ride a pony, and take a wagon ride. If you’re not tired yet, keep going to the Museum of Natural Curiosity to explore a rainforest, play inside a 45-foot-tall monkey head (that’s right!), and explore science. Finally, wrap up your day with a relaxing walk around Ashton Gardens, 55 acres of flowers, lawns, and the largest man-made waterfall in the Western Hemisphere. Cost: Youth (3-12) $19.95; Adult $24.95.
444 West 100 South
Another place where your kids can learn while playing is Discovery Gateway. This children’s museum has something enjoyable for every age group. But if your kids are anything like mine, it will take them a while to get pass the very first exhibit, The Garden. It’s a 30-foot beehive, where children try to keep things going with all sorts of balls. I must admit, even I had fun at this one! Once you get your kids to move on, they’ll have the opportunity to build, shop, climb, and create. Cost: Youth (under 1) free; Other $9.50.
5/This is the Place Heritage Park
2601 Sunnyside Ave. South
Right across the street from Utah’s Hogle Zoo, you’ll find another family-friendly site full of hands-on learning opportunities. Yes, it’s strangely named, but This is the Place Heritage Park is the spot where Brigham Young first saw the Salt Lake Valley at the foot of the Wasatch Range. The park brings history alive by allowing children to see how the first pioneers lived. There are train rides, pony rides, and interactive experiences situated throughout the park. If you plan on spending the day, make sure to grab a bite to eat at Huntsman Grill. But no visit is complete without tasting Brigham’s Donuts at the social hall. Trust me! Cost: Youth (3-11) $8.95; Adult $12.95.
Photo courtesy: @lizzyography
6/The Loveland Living Planet Aquarium
12033 Lone Peak Pkwy., Draper
For hot or rainy days, head inside to The Loveland Living Planet Aquarium for an underwater escape. The aquarium has more than 2,400 animals including penguins, river otters, and sharks. You can explore rainforest rivers and the deep sea, all in one afternoon. Don't miss my family’s favorite, the stingray touch pool. You’ll have to convince your kids to keep still for several minutes for the hands-on experience. Cost: Youth $12.95; Adult $17.95.
KidTripster Tip: As you move through the aquarium, be sure to keep a close eye on young children. There are ledges that kids can climb on to get a better look at the animals, but it’s easy to stumble and fall.
50 N. Temple
Temple Square is a 10-acre complex, owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It’s the most visited attraction in the state of Utah for a reason. Regardless of your religious background, Temple Square is a beautiful and awe-inspiring site situated in the center of the city. While it’s not a hands-on activity like many of the others on this list, no trip to Salt Lake City is complete without a stroll through the square. Free tours are available; a free shuttle is provided from most hotels and campgrounds. Cost: Free.
From sunrise to sunset, you won’t find a state full of more family adventures than Utah. Utah is home to five national parks that offer amazing scenery and unforgettable activities. Visit the depths of Canyonlands National Park. See the rock arch proudly displayed on state license plates at Arches National Park. Hike the trails of Zion National Park. Explore the hoodoos at Bryce Canyon National Park. View the ancient petroglyphs at Capitol Reef National Park. Whether you have young children or teens, there’s something for everyone: hiking, rafting, biking, camping, and exploring, all within reach from Salt Lake City. Cost: Varies.
KidTripster Tip: If you’re visiting multiple parks in the same year, consider the Annual National Park and Federal Lands Pass for $80.
KidTripster Tip: Ssshhh… don’t tell anyone, but little-known Natural Bridges National Monument, located between Canyonlands and Capitol Reef, is a hidden gem for families.
9/Wheeler Historic Farm
6351 900 East
Once you’re tired of traffic and crowds, you can head to Wheeler Historic Farm for a little bit of country in the city. Allow the kids to run free, visit with farm animals, and just plain relax for the afternoon. For a few extra dollars, you can enjoy a wagon ride or even milk a cow! Cost: Free.
375 North Lagoon Drive, Farmington
For some adventure, head north of Salt Lake City to Farmington for a day at Lagoon. The amusement park has 40 acres of rides, including ten roller coasters. You’ll also find a water park and a kiddie park with 20 rides just for little ones. Cost: Youth (under 48” tall) $38.50; Adult $53.95.
Want more adventure, especially if you're traveling with teenagers? Head to Utah Olympic Park (3419 Olympic Parkway) in Park City. Zip, climb, and slide your way through Olympic history. The park’s most well-known activity, the Comet Bobsled ride, is open during the summer and winter. Hop on with an experienced bobsled pilot to zip through the official 2002 Olympic Sliding Track. Youth $40; Adult $65.