Utah is all about family. Along with having some of the biggest families in the Union, we're known for mapping our family trees, Monday family nights and all-around family values. Here's how to survive the Beehive with your fam.
Photo by Adam Finkle
Maria Farrington knows Utah families. In fact, as CEO of Discovery Gateway, families are pretty much her business. "This is a magical place for families to carve out time in their busy schedules to play together," she says. "lt's the perfect place where parents can trust that kids can be safe while they play and imagine to be a store clerk, or a surgeon at Primary Children's Hospital or even a Life Flight helicopter pilot."
Before the museum, Farrington directed Eccles/Annenberg Challenge grant for Salt Lake City School District, where she helped raise funds and awareness of methods for teaching diverse student populations. "I also had the honor of working to inspire parents to help bridge the gap between home and school," she says. But most of her family expertise comes from experience: Farrington moved from Texas to Utah with her husband Bob in 1992 to raise their two sons. Lately, she's been working the info desk, where she helps staff check in members, giving her a chance to visit with families.
5 Must-See Spots for Families From Discovery Gateway's CEO-- We Should Have Guessed Number One
1) Discovery Gateway: The Children's Museum of Utah
The museum introduces kids to the principles of STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) with hands-on exhibits, preschool classes, summer camps, VIP guests and more. discoverygateway.org
2) The Utah State Capitol
Celebrating its 100th birthday, the Capitol is where new Utahns can learn what happened before they arrived just by gazing upon its exhibits and murals. utahstatecapitol.utah.gov
3. Utah's State and National Parks, Monuments and Landmarks
In particular, Farrington recommends the ones where you can see ancient animal fossils. See nearly 1,500 dinosaur fossils in the cliff face at Dinosaur National Monument on the border of Utah and Colorado.
4. The Great Salt Lake
"lt's fun to go to Bridger Bay Beach on the north end of Antelope Island and float in the water," Farrington says.
5. Your own neighborhood
Just about every Utah city hosts its own events, whether it's for Fourth of July, an annual 5K or a block party.
Survive Saturday Afternoon
Once the cartoons stop and infomercials start, you've got to find something to entertain the kids on a Saturday. Survive at Repertory Dance Theatre's monthly performances for kids and fam, featuring local and touring storytellers, musicians, dancers and more. Only $5 per head. Performances at Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, 138 W. Broadway, SLC, 801-355-ARTS
Bounce Out the Angst
Avoid back talk and let kids jump out their aggression at The Wairhouse Trampoline Park. Jumping is $25 on Monday night for a family with up to six kids (perfect, right?). Once they're done hopping, calmly explain why making a flamethrower from a lighter and hairspray was a bad idea. 3653 S. 500 West, SLC, 801-266-JUMP
Culture Your Kids
Once you scratch the surface, Utah's a pretty diverse place. Teach the kids about our many cultures at Utah Cultural Celebration Center's free WorldStage! Summer Concert Series, featuring acts like Brazilian drum and dance group Samba Fogo on July 21. Shows are free on Monday nights in July and August. 1355 W. 3100 South, West Valley, 801-965-5100
Mommy bloggers are a dime a dozen, but there's not too many daddy bloggers. When he's not cooking, cleaning, shopping and doing the laundry for his fam of three, Jason Dunnigan writes about male nurturing and offers survival tips for other loving dads on the-modern-dad.com.
Your Pet's Survival
Don't trust the snot-nosed neighbor kid to watch over Fido. Give your dog his own vacation at Camp Bark-a-Lot, where there's a trained staff, kiddie pools for splashing and other friendly dogs for play. Along with doggy day care and boarding, Bark-a-Lot offers grooming and takes in cats. 360 W. Whitney Ave., SLC, 801-485-2030
Exact Your Revenge
Fling Jell-0 at your kids and spouse and get away with it at Thanksgiving Point's Jiggle Fest Jell-0 fight on July 19. Hundreds of gallons of Utah's state snack will be on hand, and all ages are welcome. After the battle, sprinklers will wash off the goop and you can enjoy a Utah foods cooking contest and outdoor movie screening with the family. 3003 N. Thanksgiving Way, Lehi, 801-768-2300
Bring your kids to Ogden's Historic 25th Street for Halloween fun, including the annual Witchstock, pumpkin contest, trick-or-treating and ghost tours. It beats a trunk-or-treat.
Adult Movie Night
One of the best things about Brewvies is actually that they card you to get in. Survive parenthood by seeing a film with other adults, while enjoying local craft beer. They also hold free Film Buff Nights, Mondays at 10 p.m., where they screen old favorites, like Clerks, Lethal Weapon and Pulp Fiction. 677 S. 200 West SLC, 801-322-3891
Save Your Marriage
Work, family and other stuff gets in the way of romance. Let the pros at AmberMay dating services make all of your reservations for a romantic evening on the town. 801-449-0879
Bond as a family, survive as a family. At Aspen Grove Family Camp, families connect by bunking together and participating in campfires, crafts and other camp stuff. Camp also offers activities just for grown-ups, like hikes, adult swims and pottery class. 9521 N. Alpine Loop Rd., Provo, 801-225-9554
The Rating System
Face it, the line between PG and PG-13 is pretty thin, but Deseret News movie critic Chris Hicks is here to help. He wrote his book Has Hollywood Lost Its Mind? to help parents navigate the flawed movie rating system to decide what's best for kids to see.
Escape to Snowbird
Your boss breathing down your neck, misbehaving kids, bills, your mother in law-- none of that matters when you're flying down Little Cottonwood on Snowbird's new Mountain Coaster (the kids will love it, too). Or hire a baby-sitter and get the kinks out with a soothing massage at The Cliff Spa. Highway 210, Little Cottonwood Canyon, 801-933-2222
Take your off-the-wall kids with you to see beautiful contemporary art without glares from snooty art patrons. Once per month, UMOCA allows you to bring kids (crying babies included) through their exhibit space an hour before the museum opens to the public. 20 S. West Temple, SLC, 801-328-4201
Help indie film survive by introducing the art to the next generation. Utah Film Center curates the best indie kids films every year at the Tumbleweeds Film Festival, which recently screened Sundance Film Festival alums Ernest & Celestine and Zip & Zap and the Marble Gang.
Clockwise from top: 1) 2014 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited, $29,188, MarkMillerSubaru.com, SLC. 2) Folkmanis Puppets Saw-whet Owl Puppet, $28, The Children's Hour. 3) Waggiwear Collar, $26; Dog Treats Waffles, Superior Farms Pet Provisions, $9.75; Fozzy Dog leash, $33.98; West Paws Design Bumi, $14.98, The Dogs Meow, SLC. 4) Spelling Puzzle, $18, The Children's Hour. 5) Watering can, $29.95, BloomingSales, SLC. 6) Green Toys Recycling Truck, 27.99, Babinski's Baby. 7) Graphic novels, $15-$30 each, Night Flight Comics, SLC. 8) Oversized candy, $10-$20, lt'sSugar, Farmington. 9) Jazz coffee mug, $30 for two, Fanzz, SLC. 10) Como Tomo bottle, $13.99, Babinski's Baby. 11) Board games, $40-$50, Game Night Games, SLC. 12) Birthday cake, $96.50, Mrs. Backer's Pastry Shop, SLC. 13) Maxi Cosi AP Infant carseat, $199.99, Babinski's Baby, SLC. 14) Madam Alexander baby doll, $58, The Children's Hour. 15) Maps book, $35, The Children's Hour. 16) Sunnylife Accordian, $59, The Children's Hour, SLC. 17) Melissa & Doug stuffed panda, $79.99, Tutoring Toy, SLC.