15 Kid Friendly Destinations in Salt Lake City

Let me start by saying that I was never one to actively look for destinations in Salt Lake City, even though it is like 10 minutes from my house, until I was a stay at home mom. Then, suddenly I wanted to be outside doing stuff rather than on my couch watching Netflix (which is all I ever wanted to do after teaching for ten hours a day).

So, after my son turned one and was a little bit more fun to take on adventures, my husband and I started looking for kid-friendly destinations in Salt Lake City. I was lucky enough to stumble upon a Groupon for a *Salt Lake Connect Pass which has enabled us to go to all kinds of new places this year without breaking the bank.

So, if you find yourself wanting some adventure in your life or if you are planning a trip to SLC, then check out these destinations! My list starts at the center of the city and moves outwards. I have put * next to the places that are on the connect pass.

-As a side note, kids under two are free at many of these places so if, like me, you have a one-year-old, now is the time to try them and see what is worth going back to later.

Temple Square

City Creek Center

  • Address: 50 Main St. Salt Lake City, UT 84150
  • This is an outdoor/indoor mall and is free to visit. It has a creek running throughout and is the home to many shops, restaurants, and retailers. It is directly across the street from Temple Square and is easily accessible by Trax.
  • Huge underground parking complex that is free for the first two hours (2017).
  • List of Restaurants
  • List of Stores
  • My one-year-old’s favorite things are the centrally located splash pad and fountain, walking along the indoor creek, getting a free balloon from the Nordstrom’s kid section, and crossing the covered see-through bridge from one side of the street to the other.

*Discovery Gateway

  • Address: 444 W 100 S, Salt Lake City, UT, 84101
  • Admission and Parking Information
  • This place is perfect for kids. My one-year-old loved it but so did my fourth and fifth graders. There are several sections of the museum and many learning through play opportunities.

*Clark Planetarium

  • Address: 110 S 400 W, Salt Lake City, UT, 84101
  • Admission and Parking Information
  • This one is a bit over the head of my one-year-old but he does like to wander around and look at the different exhibits.

Memory Grove Park

  • Address: 300 North Canyon Road, Salt Lake City, UT 84103
  • No admission this is a city owned park.
  • This park is kind of famous for being ideal for photography. It has a beautiful stream, greenery, pillars, scenic buildings, etc.
  • My one-year-old mostly likes to walk through it and look at the water. But it is a great scenic area for a walk and/or a picnic.

Utah State Capitol

  • Address: 350 North State Street, 120 State Capitol, Salt Lake City, UT 84114
  • This is a public building so there are no admissions, however, if you want to see everything, you may want to book a tour.
  • Parking Information
  • I have not taken my one-year-old here yet but have visited many times with my family and students. Depending on the age of your kids, you may want to prep them with a virtual tour or an activity sheet to help them get more out of being there.
  • For older kids (and adults) I highly recommend visiting while the legislature is in session.

*The Leonardo

  • Address: 209 East 500 South, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
  • Admissions and Parking Information
  • I personally found the website for the Leo super confusing but it has been one of my favorite places to visit. It is perfect for adults and kids older than two or three. I did not take my one-year-old when we went there and I thought that that was a good call.
  • Just know that the many of the exhibits change regularly, most of the museum is very interactive, and there are often extra things going on (I participated in a pie eating contest when I was there). So, check out the calendar on their website so you can pick a day that you want to go.

Liberty Park

  • Address: 600 E 900 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84105
  • No admission to the park itself, however, there are things in the park that require money if you want to participate (Tracy Aviary, paddleboat rentals, concessions, and rides).
  • There is a lot to do and see in this 100-acre park. Some of our favorites are Tracy Aviary (see below), the playgrounds, the splash pad, the lake, and the other water features.

*Tracy Aviary

  • Address: 5 East 1300 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84105
  • Admission Information
  • Free parking directly outside of the aviary.
  • My son loves this place but he is a little bit obsessed with birds. There is a fun bird show (about 30 minutes), several indoor exhibits, and many outdoor areas as well, there is also a playground and a river. This is definitely worth going to if you have small bird lovers.
  • Wednesdays are usually free in the winter months but check before you go.

*Red Butte Gardens

  • Address: 300 Wakara Way, Salt Lake City, UT 84108
  • Admission Information
  • Free Parking right outside the entrance
  • We love just walking through the gardens, they are spacious, gorgeous, and full of water features, plants, flowers, and animals (specifically fish, squirrels, chipmunks, and birds, though I once saw a bobcat).
  • There are many paved trails but there are also areas that look more like real mountain trails. You can also walk back into the canyon or play in the water features in the children’s garden.
  • Information on Summer Concerts at Red Butte

*Natural History Museum of Utah

  • Address: 301 Wakara Way (literally right next to Red Butte Gardens), Salt Lake City, UT 84108
  • Admission Information
  • Free Parking and Overflow Parking
  • Content/exhibit wise this museum is great for older kids and adults. However, my baby loved walking through it and seeing the fake animals, dinosaur bones, and other exhibits. He also enjoyed digging for bones, playing in the erosion tank, and exploring the children’s room on the bottom floor.
  • As a side note, there is access to the Bonneville Shoreline trail right outside of the museum. If the weather is good and you are prepared it can provide a nice walk or hike. The Living Room trail is quite popular.

*This is the Place Heritage Park

  • Address: 2601 E Sunnyside Ave, Salt Lake City, UT 84108
  • Admission Information
  • Free parking
  • This place offers many activities and a lot of historical experiences including a treasure house,  pony rides, train rides, hiking, a Native American village, and more. My one year old liked walking the streets and seeing the animals.

*Hogle Zoo

  • Address: 2600 Sunnyside Avenue (across the street from Heritage Park), Salt Lake City, UT 84108
  • Admission Information
  • I am not personally a fan of zoos but my little boy loves them. This zoo is not super huge but it is big enough to explore for several hours depending on how much time you spend on each animal.
  • During the winter it usually offers free days if you are willing to bundle your little guys up and brave the cold. In the past, they have been the last Wednesdays of November, December, January, and February but you will want to look that up before you go.

Seven Peaks

  • Address: 1200 W 1700 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84104
  • Admissions Information but if you are going to go more than once then just jump through the hoops and get a Pass of all Passes. These can often be purchased for even less if you go through third party websites like Groupon or CityDeals and use current coupon codes which are easy to google (valpak often works on CityDeals).
  • A parking pass costs 10-20 dollars depending on where you purchase it. However, there is a public park across the street (no crosswalk). Do with that information what you will.
  • This park is a bit of a mess. As an adult, I looked at it and thought that it was in pretty sad shape. As a kid, I didn’t notice any of the less desirable qualities and thought it was awesome. My one-year-old loves playing in the kiddy area and the wave pool and the lazy river. He thinks it is a great time and with the Pass of all Passes we can just go for an hour or two and not feel bad, I think it is cheaper than most rec centers.
  • They do have a no food policy and charge for tube rentals. My advice would be to go with very low standards and know that your kids will probably have a great time.

 

Whew, that’s my list. It is by no means a comprehensive list but it does comprise all of the kid-friendly destinations in Salt Lake City that I can personally vouch for.

*The Connect Pass includes several other destinations not in Salt Lake City but in Salt Lake County. The ones on my list are all within the city itself.

My question for you is, what family friendly activities would you add to my Salt Lake City list?

You may enjoy:

Color Books and Activities for Kids (Toddler and Up)

Colors books and activities are everywhere for kids. As my little guy has been getting better at comprehension and speech, I have realized that adjectives are tricky. I didn’t notice this often as a fifth-grade teacher.  Excepting language barriers, most of the kids could use adjectives to describe nouns without thinking about it.

 

I was reading a new color book with my son yesterday when it hit me that colors are tough. On the page we were looking at, there was a big red heart labeled red. How was he supposed to know that the word red described the object? Deep stuff for a one-year-old.

Now, all my years as a human have led me to believe that colors aren’t forever a mystery. In fact, they seem to be one of the easier subjects to grasp. When I took Spanish in high school, I think we learned colors within the first week. Must have been my teacher’s way of telling us to calm down. “Don’t worry kids I will teach you green and all will be well.”

So, despite the fact that kids will probably learn colors eventually, whether or not they are explicitly taught about them, I have tried to compile some worthwhile color activities for the small dudes.

Color Books

If you are short on color book ideas, there are already many posts dedicated to their compilation. Check out these lists at The Reading Mama,  3 Dinosaurs, and My Bored Toddler for some descriptions. Some of the books repeat but there are a whole lot to choose from.

The favorites at our house are:

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? By Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle

As you read this book you visit a handful a different brightly colored animals who tell the reader which new animal they can see.

Freight Train by Donald Crews

This book teaches both colors and the names of the different cars on a freight train. As a sidenote, there is a pull apart book called Inside Feight Train by the same author. It is not focused on colors but my son loves it.

Alphaprints: Colors by Rodger Priddy

This book has a textured page dedicated to each of the seven colors. It is a collage style book that features real objects and drawn objects as well as full sentences.

Others Include (in case you didn’t check out the other posts):

Color Activities

Language

  • Use color words consciously outside of books. Tell your kids the colors of new things and things they see every day. Green shirt. Blue wall. Purple flower. Green bike.
  • Give your child color options. For example, ask your child if they want a green cup or a red cup.
  • As you read the books identify the colors of everything. There might be something blue on the red page. Acknowledge that.
  • Have your child identify the colors of various objects (if he/she can speak). If they are comprehending but not speaking, give them a color to find. For example, can you find something orange in the room?
  • Clap out syllables for color words: pur “clap” ple
  • If your child is advanced help them learn less frequently used color words (maroon, chartreuse, burgundy, scarlet. aquamarine, cerulean, coral etc.)

Field Trips

  • You could go anywhere!
  • Go to a store and describe, find, or have your children describe and/or find different colored objects.
  • Take a nature walk and look for various colors outside.
  • Visit a park and find colors on and off of the playground. Does the green slide look the same as the green grass?
  • You could have a field trip in your own house and do the same kind of thing if you wanted to.

Math

  • Look for things to count in the books. In Brown Bear, you could count the total animals, or the people on the last few pages, or the number of colors on each page. Freight Train allows opportunities to count train cars, buildings, or wheels. In Colors, we always count the ants. Pay attention to the pages, there will be something you can count.
  • Count things in real life (at home or on a field trip). Three purple flowers. Four white socks. Three blue balls.
  • Add things in real life or on field trips. How many purple flowers and yellow flowers are there altogether? If Mommy has two blue buttons and you have three green buttons, how many buttons do we have total? These kinds of questions are precursors to story problems and using the vocabulary early will help them in math later on.
  • Look for and identify various colored shapes in real life and in literature.

Science

  • Mix various colors of food coloring together and see if you can make new colors. Mix It Up, is a good book to accompany this activity.
  • Make colors disappear! See easy instructions on Mess For Less.
  • Find the different colors in a rainbow. I would use the method on The Pinterested Parent and have a good discussion on rainbows. This could also be done as art.
  • Baking Soda and Vinegar Art found on Eating Richly. (Also art.)

Art

  • Color. Use various mediums (crayons, markers, chalk, etc.) and work surfaces (paper, cardstock, the sidewalk, etc.) Talk about the colors and ideas that are being put down.
  • Find the different colors in a rainbow and color them. Tutorial on The Pinterested Parent. This could also be done as science.
  • Color mixing on coffee filters from The Kitchen Table Classroom. She even suggests a book!
  • Baking Soda and Vinegar Art found on Eating Richly.  (Also science.)
  • Realistically just about any art project you do is going to have something to do with color or the lack thereof so be creative. If you want more ideas just Pinterest the keyword rainbows.

Music

  • I Can Sing A Rainbow (You can sing it faster and more happily than the guy in this video. . . )
  • Here is a whole list of preschool color songs from Teaching Mama
  • This Color Song would be fun in a classroom setting not so much with a single child.

Dance/Drama/Games

  • Have your kids make up a dance for each color. If they (or you) are struggling with those instructions then come up with a list of things that are a specific color and decide how those objects might “act” if they could. For example, some blue things are the ocean and the sky. So, maybe the dance could be a little bit like your child’s perception of the ocean and a little bit like his/her perception of the sky.
  • Come up with a play about colors. In my experience kids are creative. Provide some props and let them have at it. Props could include brightly colored clothing, blankets, dishes, utensils, toys, etc. If you are doing this at home, your kids will be able to find other props/costumes that they may need.
  • Here is a color skit that was done by Studio C that you could show your kids for laughs or inspiration if you think it is appropriate.
  • Perform one of the color songs with your own made up actions.
  • Have a contest at one of the field trip locations to see who can find the most objects of a certain color. This can be done silently or out loud depending on age and ability.
  • Play “I Spy with My Little Eye” and have all of the clues have to do with colors. For example,  I spy something green. Guess. It is next to something red. Guess. It has yellow stripes. Etc.

Social Skills

  • Have a discussion about how people are all different colors. They have different skin colors, and eye colors, and hair colors. That is what makes us all so special, we are all different and that is a great thing!

Technology

Whew, that is a lot of information. What did I miss? Do you have books or activities that should be added to this post?

Farm Animal Books and Activities for Kids

 

It is no secret to any parent or teacher that animal books for children are far from difficult to find. When I was looking through the board books we own. The ones that I have read to L hundreds of times. I realized that over half of them were about animals to some degree. However, I think there is a good reason for this.

At 14 months, L can say about 7 words clearly. Mom, Dad, duck, bird, dog, truck, and car. This means that more than 33 percent of his vocabulary is consumed with animal names. I myself am not a baby or even a baby expert but it seems like learning words is exhausting and it would make sense to focus your energy on things you need or things you love. L does not need a duck, bird, or dog so I can only assume that they bring him joy. Using this reasoning, the plethora of animal books on the market makes sense due to the innate love that so many kids have for animals.

The Books

Like I just said, there are hundreds of animal books to choose from. I am just picking a few that L and I love that have a focus on farm animals.

Hello Chick by Paragon Books

This book takes the reader on a brief visit to all of the baby animals on the farm. It also has peek-a-boo holes in each page that make reading more interactive.

Moo Baa La La La by Sandra Boynton

This is a silly book of animal sounds and singing. Though not strictly a farm book, the animals on the pages can all be found on a farm (except the rhinoceros).

First 100 Animals by Roger Priddy

This book is a great reference book (for kids). It has close to a hundred different animals in it but it has one page that is exclusively focused on farm animals. We use it to find the animals that are in the other books.

Some other farm books include:

The Activities

 Do the ones that your own child is capable of.

Language

  • Practice pointing to the different animals and saying their names (help your child do the pointing).
  • Say the names of the different animals and ask your child to find them on the page.
  • Say the name of an animal then come up with real or silly words that rhyme with it. For example dog, frog, mog, etc. (When I taught fifth grade I still had students who did not understand how to rhyme words.)
  • Clap out syllables for the animal names: rooster, roo “clap” ster.

Field Trips

  • Visit a Farm (Salt Lake Area Specific Options)
  • If You Don’t Live Near a Farm try a:
    • Petting Zoo
    • Fair
    • Dog Park
    • Pet Store
    • Bird Park
    • Zoo

Math

  • Count the animals on each page.
  • Count the animals in the whole book.
  • Count the types of animals on each page.
  • Count the animals in real life (on your field trip).
  • Add (how many chickens and pigs are there?)
  • Look for and identify shapes in the book.

Science

  • While on your field trip find out what the animals eat.
    • Questions to ask your kids:
      • Do they eat what you eat?
      • Where do you think this animal would be happy living?

Art

Music

Dance/Drama/Games

  • Make up a dance for one of the songs
  • Make up actions for one of the songs
  • Play animal charades (sounds allowed)
  • Make up your own animal song
  • Have your child show you how an animal would move
  • If you have a group play “Duck Duck Goose” (instructions)
  • Print up a game from

Social Skills

  • Have a conversation about other people’s animals.
    • Should you feed an animal that isn’t yours? Why?
    • Should you touch an animal that isn’t yours? Why?
    • If you see an animal that you want to feed or touch what should you do?

Use the book you are already reading to integrate some other subjects!

What are your favorite farm books and activities?

 

 

Literacy and Math DIY Rock Games

 

Introducing developmentally appropriate things is sometimes tricky (especially with kid number one), I admit that I have jumped the gun on many things including both letters and games. I have been trying to teach L his letters for most of his very short life. When he was just days old I would read to him and wonder if he would ever actually look at the book. I am happy to report that he now loves books and will bring them to me to read all day. We usually sit down on the floor wherever he finds me and read the book because I am so happy that he loves them.

Anyway, back when he had just learned to crawl, I would take him to my parent’s house and he would immediately be drawn to the pile of rocks. One of my mother’s hobbies is rock painting and she always has several completed mandala type stones on the bottom shelf of her basement bookcase. Perfect eye level for a crawling baby.

 

L loved these rocks (more than he loved books at the time) so I decided to make him a set of similar looking rocks with a lowercase alphabet on them. Then, I went a little bit further and put pictures on each rock to go along with the letters. I, personally, like to paint and found the whole process very therapeutic (kind of like those adult coloring books). So, I made him a second set of alphabet rocks only this time they were capital letters.

During the last month, L has started recognizing objects and letters and being able to point to specific things when we ask him where they are. So, we can finally use the rocks for something other than colorful carpet decorations. Don’t get me wrong he has loved them the whole time but now we can play games with them. 

Game 1:

Match the correct lowercase letter to the correct capital letter. 

Game 2:

Match the correct capital letter to the picture that it goes with.

Game 3:

Modified memory game. Flip the capital letters over so you are just looking at rocks then flip them over to the letter side in alphabetical order. Find A first, followed by B, etc.

Game 4:

Read an alphabet or number book and find the matching rocks as you go through the book.

Alphabet Books:

Dr. Suess’s ABC: An Amazing Alphabet Book

The Construction Alphabet Book

Alphabet (My one-year-old’s personal favorite)

Number Books:

My Very First Book of Numbers

Alphaprints: 123 (Another Favorite)

Tabbed Board Books: My First Numbers: Let’s Get Counting!

 

Game 5:

Use the number rocks to count real objects. For example, grab the 4 and have your child count out four alphabet rocks.

These games can easily be expanded upon or modified depending on the age of the child you are playing with. Furthermore, they could easily be made by an older child.

Give them a try and let me know in the comments what uses you come up with for your letter/number rocks.

Materials:

  • 26-52 Rocks (I bought a whole bucket of small smooth rocks at a rock landscaping company for about $2.25)
  • Acrylic paint
  • Small paintbrush
  • Sponge brush
  • Something to make dots with (back of a paint brush, dowel, pin head, I use a set of these)
  • Something to put the paint on
  • Water

Step 1:

Wash the rocks and lay them out to dry. (This is my set of number rocks, that is why there are only ten)

Step 2:

Use the sponge brush to paint the front of all of them black and let them dry.

Step 3:

Use your paintbrush and some white paint to create block letters on each rock and let them dry. (Yeah I know they are numbers)

Step 4:

Use your stylus (or other dot making object) to create designs around each letter (or number) and let them dry.

If you choose to do something on the back of the rocks repeat the process.

Step 5:

Play your game or decorate your carpet.

Caution:

If your child is little like mine was when I made these, make sure that the rocks that you use won’t be a choking hazard. I had to hide about 13 of my lowercase letters until recently because L thought that they might be a snack.