From spectacular rock formations to the largest saline lake in North America, Utah is famous for its unique geographic features. Located on the shores of the Great Salt Lake, Salt Lake City is both the capital of Utah and its largest city. It is known as a family-friendly community, so there are plenty of things to do in Salt Lake City with kids, whether you live here or are just visiting. Here are some attractions in and around the city that you should definitely check out.
1. SeaQuest Utah
Many family-friendly activities in Utah involve encounters with animals. SeaQuest Layton allows you and your children to interact close-up with a diverse range of wild animals from around the world, petting them and possibly feeding them. On your quest through this Utah aquarium, you will visit different ecosystems and meet both land animals and marine life forms. We also offer venues for private events, such as birthday parties, and field trips for schools. We help animals by rehabilitating and preserving them and acting as a rescue for exotic pets in need of a new home.
2. Antelope Island
There are 10 islands located in the Great Salt Lake. The largest of these, Antelope Island, is also a state park. It is located just northwest of Salt Lake City, and when water levels are low, it becomes a peninsula. If you’re interested in swimming in the Great Salt Lake, this is the place to do it. Antelope Island has been designated an International Dark Sky Park because its remote location cuts down on light pollution, making it a good place to go stargazing.
Of course, there are plenty of things to do on Antelope Island during the day too. As implied by the name, the island is home to a herd of antelope, as well as bighorn sheep, deer, and bison. The many hiking trails give you a good opportunity to look at wildlife.
3. Utah State Capitol
Topped with a domed rotunda, the Utah State Capitol is a beautiful marble building perched on a hill. You have the option of touring the building yourself or taking a guided tour for free. Young kids will have fun looking for items to fill out their scavenger hunt bingo cards, which you can print out from the Capitol’s website before you go, and making the tour into a game is one of the most fun things to do in Salt Lake City with kids. After the tour, you can head out to the grounds to see the outdoor monuments, and the little ones can have fun running around on the vast and well-kept lawn.
4. The Leonardo Museum
Most people know Leonardo da Vinci as a great artist, but he was also a scientist who theorized about many technological innovations, such as the helicopter, long before they eventually came to fruition. He was a literal and figurative Renaissance man, and the Leonardo Museum in Salt Lake City pays tribute to his theories and ideas while encouraging children to make their own experiments in drawing and building. The Leonardo Museum may inspire lifelong curiosity, but kids won’t realize they’re learning because they’re having so much fun.
5. Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum
Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum helps kids to learn about the world by creating their own miniature version that they can explore on their own, making it one of the most unique things to do in Salt Lake City with kids. Are your children interested in the performing arts? Let them put on a show at the Story Factory. Do they like aquatic activities? The Water Play Exhibit gives them an opportunity to create their own rivers. The various child-size re-creations include a house, farm, grocery store, and car repair shop, so wherever your children’s interests lie, they should find something that engages their imaginations.
6. Clark Planetarium
There are areas in Utah that seem strange and otherworldly, so perhaps it is fitting that one of the most fun things to do in Salt Lake City with kids is an opportunity to pilot a Mars Rover simulation at the Clark Planetarium. There are three floors of interactive exhibits about the Earth, Space, and Beyond, all free to the public. However, you must purchase tickets to shows in the IMAX Theatre and the Hansen Dome.
7. Temple Square
Salt Lake City was first settled by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Temple is still located there, and while it is not open to the public, visitors to the 10-acre Temple Square complex can admire its striking architecture while strolling along the well-manicured grounds. There are visitor centers that teach about the history of the church and the city through interactive exhibits as well as tours that take you around the complex and into some of the buildings. There are some things to do in Salt Lake City with kids that are completely unique to the community, and this is one of them.
8. Red Butte Garden and Arboretum
If you’re looking for relaxing activities that you can do with your kids in Salt Lake City, head to Red Butte Garden and Arboretum. You can bring a picnic lunch and spend the whole day exploring and communing with nature. If the weather is warm, the kids can enjoy playing in the splash pad. If not, there are plenty of other features that they can enjoy, including a maze and a koi pond.
9. Natural History Museum of Utah
If your family loves dinosaurs, the Natural History Museum of Utah is one of the essential things to do in Salt Lake City with kids. Utah has rich fossil beds, and the Natural History Museum boasts the largest display of horned dinosaur skulls in the world as part of its dino exhibit. There are also interactive exhibits that explain how the Great Salt Lake and other unique topographical features in Utah came to be.
10. Olympic Park
Utah was the site of the Winter Olympic Games in 2002. The Olympic Park is still there, located in Park City, a short 22-mile drive away from the capital. Don’t think you have to visit during the winter to enjoy the activities. With a range of summer and winter activities, including rope courses and a bobsled track as well as the Discovery Zone play area, Olympic Park is one of the best things to do in Salt Lake City regardless of the time of year. There is also a free museum so you can learn more about the event that took place here 20 years ago, as well as sports included in the Winter Olympics.
11. This Is the Place Heritage Park
The history of Utah is anything but boring, but it doesn’t always engage young kids. At This Is the Place Heritage Park, history comes to life. It is a re-created pioneer settlement in which costumed actors interact with visitors and teach them about daily life in Utah 150 years ago. Kids can learn skills, such as carding wool, that were necessary for survival and see how pioneer kids learned by visiting the one-room schoolhouse. There are also pony rides, an onsite restaurant, and a multitude of other adventures.
Salt Lake City is a fascinating and unique city. Whether you are visiting, have moved here recently, or are gaining a new perspective on it through your children’s eyes, we hope you’ll seek out some of its many attractions.