Utah is one of the top family vacation destinations in the country with plenty of fun activities for both adults and children. Here is a list of our top 10 family friendly activities in Salt Lake City.
1. The Hogle Zoo
More than 800 animals reside east of downtown at the Hogle Zoo, including red pandas, an Amur leopard,giraffes and a Siberian tiger. New at the Hogle Zoo is Rocky Shores, a multi-million-dollar ecosystem of sea lions, seals, a polar bear named Rizzo and other denizens of the deep. But also swing by to meet Zuri, the African elephant born at the zoo in 2009, who basically runs the place. The Hogle Zoo is open 9 a.m. to 5p.m. every day except Christmas and New Year’s Day.
2. The Leonardo
“The Leo” museum of science, art and innovation is sometimes difficult to describe in a word or two. Though it offers hands-on exhibits, The Leo is anything but a kids’ museum. Think of Leonardo Da Vinci himself—artist, scientist and inventor—and you’ll begin to understand The Leo experience. The Leonardo is open Saturday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday from 10 a.m.to 10 p.m.
3. Clark Planetarium and IMAX Theater
Take in a laser light show or IMAX movie, shop the Planet Fun Store or check out one of the planetarium’s free exhibits, including the Foucault Pendulum, Moon and Mars-scapes, Weight on Other Worlds or the International Space Station. Special presentations on Black Holes, the Hubble Telescope and cosmic light shows entertain in the 360-degree Hansen Dome Theatre, along with IMAX blockbusters. The planetarium opens daily (except Thanksgiving and Christmas Days) at 10:30 a.m. Closing time depends on the show schedule.
4. Red Butte Garden
The University of Utah’s botanical and ecological center, Red Butte Garden, features plants native to the state and climate via hillside gardens accessible by winding trails. Careful records are kept on the various themed gardens, like the Fragrance Garden and the Rose Garden. You can find out what is blooming right now by visiting their website. Also look into the summer concerts—Monday night cultural concerts for families and a summer long slate of national touring acts.
5. Thanksgiving Point
Gardens, a barnyard, cooking classes, restaurants, movie theaters and one of the world’s largest collections of dinosaur fossils can all be found at Thanksgiving Point. Some of the coolest stuff to do here includes digging like an archaeologist in the sand and water at the Museum of Ancient Life’s erosion table, strolling through the stunning gardens, watching a documentary about bugs and other creepy-crawlies in the 3-D theater or playing a round of golf.
6. Natural History Museum of Utah
Your Own Jurassic Park Utah is home to one of the highest concentrations of dinosaur fossils in the world, many of which were discovered by Natural History Museum of Utah paleontologists. The museum’s collection of natural wonders and cultural artifacts is on spectacular display in a museum built (literally) into the hillside above the University of Utah, offering stunning views of the valley below and a geological context.
7. This is the Place Heritage Park
Explore pioneer history in a meticulously reconstructed 1850s Utah village. Kids can ride ponies, pet farm animals and try a hand at milking ol’ Clara Bell. After talking shop with a real blacksmith or saddle maker, hop a train to the Shoshone or Navajo villages where the kids can visit a teepee or hogan, then grind corn and make arrowheads. 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.
8. The Utah Olympic Park
Likely Utah’s most complete Olympic legacy attraction, this park is home to the bobsled, luge, and skeleton track; the K90 and K120 Nordic jumps; the Alf Engen Ski Museum; 2002 Eccles Olympic Museum, extensive photographs and a film.Take a chairlift ride to the top of the K120 Ski Jump or get an adrenaline fix with a bobsled ride down the park’s track.
9. Momentum Indoor Climbing
Salt Lake City’s newest, shiniest climbing gym, Momentum Indoor Climbing Millcreek features world-class routes, where you’ll crimp and jug ‘til your arms give out. Open daily!
10. Olympus Hills Bowling Lanes
Enjoy some arcade games and hopefully a strike or two. Olympus Hills Bowling Lanes is open until 2am on Fridays and 1am on Saturdays. Stop by around midnight on Fridays to experience Olympus Hills Ultimate bowling, enhanced with lights and fun music to make bowling all the more fun.