With its awe-inspiring scenery, thriving cultural scene, and family-friendly vibe, Salt Lake City is the perfect spot for a vacation with kids. Summers bring constant sunshine, while winters open up a world of snow sports. Hike high above the valley, catch a performance downtown, and visit a world-class museum, all in one day. Thanks to the city’s grid-based street system, it’s a breeze to navigate to these great activities from any of Salt Lake City’s vacation rentals. There’s so much to do for all ages in SLC, so check out these 12 of our favorite activities in the “Crossroads of the West.”
1. Observe Animals at the Hogle Zoo
Check out animals ranging from giraffes to bears at Salt Lake City’s well-loved Hogle Zoo. Learn about native Utah critters or head for the exotic exhibits to catch a glimpse of massive gorillas. If you’re visiting with a small animal lover, the Wildlife Connections program is a must. Your reservation enables you to get up close and personal with a specific animal; many tickets also enable kids to participate in a feeding.
2. Visit the Natural History Museum
Spend a fascinating afternoon at the Natural History Museum of Utah, which sits on the campus of the University of Utah. Explore the history of Utah’s eight Native American tribes, learn about the surrounding mountain ranges, and check out the exciting origins of the nearby Great Salt Lake. For an immersive experience, check out the museum’s daily schedule of classes and programs.
3. Watch the Mormon Tabernacle Choir
When the weather turns, head indoors to a rehearsal or performance of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. The rehearsals, which are open to the public, happen every Thursday night at 7:30 PM when the choir is in town. Performances happen regularly throughout the year. In addition to listening to the choir, your kids can get a kick out of Tabernacle, which features a massive pipe organ with 11,623 pipes. If possible, catch a performance in the awe-inspiring 21,000-seat Conference Center.
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4. Watch the Stars
Get lost in space with your little ones at the Clark Planetarium. With three floors of interactive exhibits, the planetarium teaches kids about Earth, the solar system, and the farthest corners of the universe. Check out a movie in the on-site IMAX theater, and don’t miss the mind-blowing Cosmic Light Shows, which are fun for the whole family.
5. Spend an Afternoon at Liberty Park
Enjoy Salt Lake City’s warm weather with a day at Liberty Park. Go for a bike ride along the trails, play on the playgrounds, or go for a swim in the public pool or the splash pad. Kids can also feed the ducks in the duck pond, climb around the Seven Canyons Fountain, or try the rides at the small onsite theme park.
6. Get a View of the City
When you’re feeling active, hike to Ensign Peak for excellent views of the city. Park at the trail head above the Utah capitol building, and make your way up the winding trail. At the top, you can rest on a bench, take photos, or watch the sun set over downtown.
7. Check out the Children’s Museum
When it’s raining or snowing, head indoors to the Discovery Gateway children’s museum. Each exhibit is interactive, so kids can feel free to play. The Garden, a 30-foot beehive, is a must-see, and the Sensory Room is a gold mine of plasma balls, touch boxes, light walls, and more. Build creative structures with enormous blocks in the Block Party area, and experience the thrill of a medical center in the Intermountain Healthcare Saving Lives exhibit.
8. Play at This is the Place Heritage Park
Learn about the history of Salt Lake City at This is the Place Heritage Park. Explore the Heritage Village buildings, ride the three trains that traverse the park, and pet the friendly animals. Be sure to check out the Native American Village, which features a full-sized teepee and hogan that are open for exploration.
9. Explore a Historic Farmstead
Learn about early Salt Lake City settlers at the Wheeler Historic Farm. Tour the Victorian farmhouse, or try your hand at milking cows. Kids of any age can participate in the wagon rides around the property. If you have the energy to burn, explore the trails that wind around the 40-acre farm, and stop at the Rosebud Country Store for a souvenir.
10. Jump at a Trampoline Park
Plan an afternoon to remember with a visit to one of Salt Lake City’s trampoline parks. Admission to The Wairhouse or Get Air Salt Lake allows access to wall-to-wall trampolines, foam pits, dodgeball courts, and more. Both facilities also offer a kids’ area, so your toddlers or small children can play safely.
11. Head for the Hills
Satisfy your taste for adventure with a trip into the mountains east of Salt Lake City. Hike Mt. Olympus, or head to one of the four nearby ski resorts: Alta, Brighton, Snowbird, and Solitude. Alternatively, head to Park City to explore the charming downtown and participate in the adrenaline-fueled rides at the Utah Olympic Park.
12. Go on a Thrill Ride
Get a thrill at Lagoon, an amusement park located less than 20 miles north of Salt Lake City. If you’re visiting with teenagers, try out the Colossus or Wicked roller coasters; smaller children love the merry-go-round and the tea cups. With a large selection of rides and a variety of snack options, this high-energy park provides a fun option for everyone in the family.
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