From spectacular rock formations to the largest saline lake in North America, Utah is famous for its unique geographic features and family-oriented culture. There’s no shortage of unique and exciting activities to do with kids in and around the SLC area. So whether you live in the area or are visiting from out of state, we’ve gathered a list of some of the best indoor and outdoor attractions around the Salt Lake area and beyond that are the perfect family fun adventures to remember for a lifetime.
Indoor Activities for Kids in Utah
Natural History Museum of Utah
Found in the heart of Salt Lake City, the Natural History Museum of Utah features engaging exhibits and over 5,000 artifacts! The museum is a large archive of Utah’s paleontology discoveries, fascinating gems, and minerals found worldwide. Stories are told by the five Native nations that lie within the state’s boundaries. There’s a three-story indoor canyon, and Interactive exhibits that educate about earthquakes, erosion, and how the Great Salt Lake has changed over time. There’s also an amazing observatory deck.
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.
See the Stars: Clark Planetarium
Located in downtown Salt Lake, Clark Planetarium offers a high-quality educational and entertaining indoor activity experience! Catered to people of all ages, guests are guided on a one-of-a-kind journey through many scientific experiences. Your visit can last two to three hours, and include a tour of exhibits, a theater dome presentation, and Science on a Sphere: a display system that uses computers and projectors to display images and other data onto a large sphere.
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 your visit 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.
Dive In! SeaQuest Layton
Welcome to the ultimate land and sea adventure when you visit SeaQuest Layton! One of the most unique Utah aquariums, you’ll “sea” more than just fish and ocean creatures. Located just 20 minutes North of Salt Lake City, SeaQuest Layton features over 1,200 different animals from 300 different species that come from all over the planet! In this hands-on adventure, visitors get to touch, feel, and feed animals from a variety of habitats around the world.
Journey through the Amazon Rainforest, Caribbean, Mayan Jungle, and Egyptian Desert while interacting with sharks, snakes, turtles, and lizards during your quest. Here are some featured animal encounters to enjoy:
- Asian Otter Interaction: During your time to feed the otters, you’ll get an educational overview of the otter species and habitat, then participate in an informational Q&A on how you can help save the otters in the wild!
- Crested Porcupine Encounter: Have you ever wondered what a porcupine actually feels like? Look no further – Meet Quilliam the porcupine here at SeaQuest, and learn all about his unique species while hand-feeding him his favorite snacks!
- Snorkel With Stingrays: Bring your suit and towel and jump in the water with a variety of rays, tropical fish, and non-threatening sharks for an ultimate up-close animal experience.
Outdoor Activities for Kids in Utah
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.
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 through interactive exhibits as well as tours that take you around the complex and into some of the buildings. This is just one of many extremely unique activities in the community!
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.
Lagoon Amusement and Waterpark
Lagoon Amusement Park is one of the only family-owned amusement parks left in the country. With over 60 thrilling rides, 40 challenging games, live entertainment, the largest “kiddie land” of any amusement park in the nation, Pioneer Village, and the Campground, Lagoon offers something for everyone to enjoy. Lagoon Waterpark, a supreme surf-and-slide water park, is also a huge summer outdoor highlight in the state of Utah! Beat the heat in the Beach’s six acres of surging slides, twisting hydro tubes, crystal waterfalls, bubbling fountains, and summer swimming.
Animal Adventures: Utah’s Hogle Zoo
Located in Salt Lake City, Utah’s Hogle Zoo opened in 1931 and features over 800 animal species that kids will be in awe and wonder about seeing in real life! They have an amazing African exhibit that showcases a giraffe, zebra, and ostrich mixing and mingling on the grasslands, while African lions graze on the hills of the exhibit. Groups can ride the Zoofari Express train through the zoo and see the Asian Highlands, an amazing re-creation of a Himalayan village that features five endangered species of Asian cat, including the largest big cat, the Amur tiger. There’s also the Elephant Encounter exhibit which features African elephants and white rhinos.
Salt Lake City is a fascinating and unique city, and Utah has some amazing sites to see. This list just highlights some of the best options when it comes to indoor and outdoor activities to choose from in and around Utah. From SeaQuest Layton to museums or artistic adventures, this list offers great suggestions for your family to create memories that will last a lifetime!