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.
Each year, more than 3,500 people descend on Soldier Hollow in Midway to celebrate the arts and cultures of various Native American nations. For three days, crafters sell handmade jewelry, paintings, and museum-worthy pottery. Fry bread, roast mutton, and Navajo tacos abound, fueling shoppers as they browse or cartwheel over to watch dancers and drummers face off against each other in colorful, handcrafted regalia. The dancers don flowing garb for grass dances that recall prairie grass rustling in the breeze, while jingle dresses inlaid with hundreds of tiny tin cones reverberate in time with fleet footwork.
As the name implies, Cahoots Duo Challenge's overland obstacle-course races principally challenge teamwork. Pairs of runners—who spend just as much time climbing and crawling as jumping, swinging, and tumbling—rely on each other's strength and wits to complete a series of challenges laid out over a 3- to 4-mile course. Along the way, racers get wet, muddy, and sweaty as they test their endurance or the likelihood that their partner is a golem.
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.