It can be tough to visit dinosaurs and outer space in the same day without a time machine and a rocket ship. But Visit Salt Lake's Connect Pass provides a loophole. It grants access to 13 Utah attractions, encouraging families to explore Salt Lake City and beyond. Those using the Connect Pass can see savings of up to 80% on combined admission costs.
At Clark Planetarium, for example, visitors go far beyond the Great Salt Lake and Earth itself, becoming dwarfed by the cosmos inside the Dome Theatre. The Leonardo Museum brings them back to civilization by merging science and creativity with exhibits such as Body Worlds: Animal Inside Out and a Pixel Playland where kids can manipulate electronic artwork.
Other venues emphasize the beauty and fun found in the natural landscapes of our home planet. Red Butte Garden's 100 acres of local flowers, plants, and trees includes scenic hiking trails, whereas the Utah Olympic Parks lets you choose one of three outdoor adventure courses. And, for those intrigued by animals, Utah's Hogle Zoo presents wildlife that ranges from big cats to sea lions who nuzzle their keepers, similar to the dinosaurs at The Museum of Ancient Life.
Could you survive a zombie apocalypse? Zombie Apocalypse’s haunted house dares guests to live out this scenario trapped inside the XSI Factory, where haunted scenes tests their mettle against the unrelenting forces of diseased, flesh-hungry corpses. In this interactive setting—designed by professional set crews and manned by gorily outfitted actors—guests put their survival skills to the test to see if they can get past the hoards of the undead who crave nothing but your brains or the unlimited borrowing privileges for your Encyclopaedia Britannica collection. The set design and zombies' costumes and makeup realistically immerse guests into the terror, and they are also encouraged to dress up and do their best zombie impressions. To avoid the long lines, clients can purchase fast-pass tickets or opt for the VIP package to get mauled within the sinister scenes faster.
Mountains echo with the clicking of hooves on rocks as mountain vegetation waves in the breeze and the sun glistens on snow-dappled trails. Schools of fish scatter as a pair of slick rubber boots parts the waters—a fisher wading through thick river sediment before casting a line into the current. Rocky Mountain Outfitters' experienced outdoorsmen usher customers through all manner of seasonal wilderness adventures, including fly-fishing on the Provo River, snowmobile tours, and horseback riding along mountain trails. Many tours run through Soldier Hollow Valley, which played host to the 2002 Winter Olympics.
Visitors may encounter roving wildlife such as snow rabbits, moose, and fawns frolicking through varied landscapes for memorable photo ops or police sketch-artist renderings. Adventure packages combine more than one outdoor activity and include the Reins and Train adventure, a role-playing tour that merges a train trip with a horseback trail ride. Depending on the season, guests can board traditional wagons or horse-drawn sleighs towed by teams of clydesdales, belgians, and spotted draft, or they can lasso free-range dinner rolls during Old West–style outdoor meals.
Adventure Haus uncovers the excitement hidden in Utah's landscape year-round with wilderness excursions that make use of the land, water, and air. During the warmer months, guides take guests horseback riding around the verdant Wasatch Mountains, whitewater rafting down the foamy currents of the Weber River, or on a hot-air balloon flight to visit Utah's only cloud museum. When winter's wind puts a sting in the air, the activities shift to cover everything from a tranquil snowshoeing hike to a 60-second adrenaline-pumping bobsled ride down Salt Lake City's Olympic course, where an experienced driver accelerates passengers up to 80 miles per hour. In addition to leading outings, Adventure Haus also helps people set off on their own by renting out equipment ranging from mountain bikes and boats to skis and snowboards.
As if it were the turn of the 20th century, when short-line railroads chugged their way through rural America, the Heber Valley Railroad whisks passengers through scenic landscapes in vintage and restored coaches. The routes trace the original Denver & Rio Grande Western railroad, trundling across the floor of the eponymous valley. Their scenic tours unveil breathtaking views of Deer Creek Reservoir, Provo Canyon, and Provo River, crossing the same scenery that travelers would have spotted a century ago. With heated coaches in the winter, guests enjoy an old-timey experience without sacrificing modern comfort.
Last year, Oprah.com called Brent Christensen's Silverthorne Ice Castle "a cavernous, surreal-looking place that looks as if it were constructed by an army of icy elves." The original Ice Castle was much smaller than that Brent's current palatial work, though?it was an ice rink Brent built in his backyard, complete with a cave, an ice slide, and a 20-foot tower. Brent's kids affectionately nicknamed it "The Ice Castle," but it was child's play compared to the three palatial sculptures he and his team have built this year. Scattered across the country, the mazes of towers, tunnels, and caverns are all built from solid ice, one icicle at a time; Brent and his team farm their own icicles for these projects, at a rate of more than 5,000 per day.