As my boys grow taller and taller, the number of free activities available gets smaller and smaller. I found it challenging to come up with a respectable list of things to keep the boys busy on our recent trip to Salt Lake City, Utah. Admission for children to all the popular attractions in the area cost almost as much as adult tickets. Sheesh, all I can say is thank God my kids still think playgrounds are totally awesome.
Here’s a rundown of the best fun, free things we found to do in Salt Lake City with kids!
Liberty Park. This park is one of the best I’ve seen in the US. It truly has something for every age group. The little ones have a large play area suited for their size, big kids can amuse themselves with a gigantic slide, and handicap children can join in with swings built just for them. Most impressive – super sized musical pipes that require lots of banging and produce a whole lot of noise. In summer, kids can enjoy a splash pad and fountains.
Should you find yourself in the mood to open your wallet, loads of fun paid experiences are possible at Liberty Park. Tracy Aviary is home to hundreds of birds. Time your visit to include story time with a feathered friend. Carnival rides, paddle boat rentals, and a public swimming pool will also invite you to part with (a little) cash.
Temple Square & Gardens. Mormon or not, the temple area is worth seeing. I was intrigued by the architecture, and my boys just ran around exploring all the fountains, sculptures, and flowers. You can also take a free one-hour tour of the gardens, May-September.
City Creek and Memory Grove Parks. Starting just beyond the Temple Square, City Creek Park includes a paved path running parallel to the stream that leads straight to Memory Grove Park. Filled with statues and fountains, Memory Grove Park is a great place to rest and eat a snack or even a picnic lunch. Combine this with a walk around the…
Utah State Capitol Building. Though you’ll be out of breath climbing the San Francisco-style street to get here, the view is worth the effort. We just walked the grounds, but dropping in to the visitor center or joining a tour won’t cost a thing. Look for the small paths to the east of the capitol that lead down to Memory Grove Park. P.s. – I highly recommend choosing a backpack carrier over a stroller if you’re toting little ones.
Donut Falls Hiking Trail. Our family really loves hiking together, and I thought this would be the perfect anti-jet lag remedy. Except I forgot that it can – and did – snow in Utah in April. Oops. Fortunately, the snow was packed down enough that we could walk a ways in our oh-so-appropriate summer kicks. Unfortunately, we never did get to see that waterfall.
Gilgal Sculpture Garden. Even if you can’t force yourself to be interested in art, drag yourself across the street from Trolley Square and prepare to be completely creeped out. While your kids scramble around the stones, you’ll be scratching your head trying to figure out of this artist mocked or admired Joseph Smith.
Jordan Park & International Peace Gardens. Come for the two playgrounds and picnic area, stay for the hortus & culture. Twenty eight countries maintain gardens that reflect their land, and in the middle rests a monument promoting peace. Germany’s area disappointed, but Switzerland and Japan delighted.
Downtown Farmer’s Market. Okay, you’ll have to pay for the rainbow of nutrients you’re sure to bag, but listening to the music and soaking in the atmosphere won’t cost a thing.
What are your favorite Salt Lake City activities to do with kids?
Headed to Salt Lake City? See my review of the Thanksgiving Point Gardens Tulip Festival.