Play sessions at Monkey Mountain do more than help kiddies burn off bottled-up energy. Whereas open-play and drop-off sessions allow children to laugh and bound across forest-themed play areas, the center also nurtures children's intellectual and interpersonal skills. Staff members help kids develop social and collaborative skills by encouraging them to play with one another, whether by climbing the mini rock-climbing wall or navigating obstacles and slides inside the four-tiered jungle gym. Even toddlers can safely tumble in a supervised soft play zone. Drop-off services such, including Little Primates Play School, serve as supplement to formal pre-school courses and are offerred seven days a week. Camps, birthday parties, and other special events round out a full menu of frolic-friendly engagements. Additionally, Monkey Mountain works to improve the lives of endangered animals by contributing $0.25 of every child's admission to a featured charity year-round.
Named one of Parents magazine's Top 10 Birthday Chains in 2010, Color Me Mine's international franchise of DIY ceramics studios cater to an older crowd as well. Hundreds of unadorned ceramic pieces—including vases, flatware, and busts of Elvis—await the attentions of muses of kids and their keepers alike, as do glazes in earthy tones and bright crimsons to frighten bulls away from china cabinets. Guests follow simple step-by-step instructions that leave plenty of room for creative expression. When painters are satisfied with their work, the professional kiln-workers help glaze, fire, and de-genie it for them, and they may retrieve the finished piece after a few days.
Native Americans first discovered the naturally warm waters of Crystal Hot Springs during their wintry travels through the Wasatch Mountain ranges. Sheltering that first wave of travelers, the hot springs later soothed the muscles of weary workers of the transcontinental railroad before being incorporated as a business in 1901. Separate hot and cold springs share space some 50 feet from each other, cooling or warming sinews and allowing visitors to immerse themselves in naturally high mineral content. Guests can also take refuge in more than 100 available camping sites and sample the fast and furious dips of the slide park. The aquatic expanse is open seven days a week over both the winter and summer, cooling down visitors during sweltering August days or warming them up after a January footrace against a yeti.
As standup paddleboarding has grown in popularity around the Salt Lake City area, Bear Lake Water Adventures has grown with it, expanding its collection of water equipment to accommodate those interested in exploring the emerging sport. From their outpost in Garden City, instructors outfit guests with standup paddleboards and kayaks, teaching them how to propel and maneuver their boards from standing, kneeling, or panicked fetal positions. Riders work their cores as they maintain balance, although boards are stable enough for seasoned riders to bring a dog along. Beyond lessons, Bear Lake's team members also rent and sell and standup paddleboards.
More than a bowling alley, Jupiter Bowl is a multimedia entertainment complex, supplementing its 16 lanes with an arcade, three pool tables, and a 70-foot video wall that plays sports and music programming. Its X has earned it a rating of first for all-ages après in the November 2011 issue of Ski Magazine. The Jupiter Bowl experience is punctuated with high-tech touches such as overhead flat-screen monitors and Qubica AMF pinsetters. Club Jupiter—comprising four private lanes—gives parties an enclosed space with a variable window tint, as well as their own jumbo video screen, ideal for airing home videos of the birthday boy’s first crabwalk.
To facilitate lane availability, the staff oversees online lane reservations. Servers at the facility’s two dining venues, The Lift Grill & Lounge and Black Diamond Bar, invite guests to linger to enjoy classic American fare and drinks that include craft beers from Epic Brewing.
Gleaming under the pale light of the winter sun, blades slice along the smooth surface of Resort Center Ice Skating Rink, sending icy dust spraying in their wake. Surrounded by the quaint, Bavarian-style walls of the Village shopping center, the outdoor oval beckons guests wishing to discover what ice skating was like before indoor rinks confined it and ice sharks rendered neighborhood ponds off-limits. Periodically throughout each public-skate session, a zamboni buffs the subzero sheet to present skaters with a surface as smooth and gentle as the festive tunes filling the air. Guests circle around hand-in-hand, remarking on the surrounding Christmas lights and fir trees while fledgling skaters focus on their footing and grasp complimentary ice-skate trainers for balance.
Between pirouettes or mad dashes across the rink, hands can warm up with steaming mugs of hot chocolate in the skate house. Nearby, in the Village shopping center, more balanced meals can be found at Food for Thought or Kristi’s Café, refueling skaters before they explore more than 40 winter-gear hubs and gift shops.