Within Clark Planetarium's space-exploration-themed facility, the interactive displays and immersive IMAX and planetarium shows enlighten visitors with interesting scientific facts. Spread out across 10,000 square feet, more than 15 hands-on exhibits entrance guests with artifacts such as photos from the Hubble Space Telescope and a moon rock brought back from the Apollo 15 mission.
Audio in the ATK IMAX Theatre emanates from a 14,000-watt digital surround-sound system as the 70-foot wide, five-story-high screen accommodates Hollywood hits and insightful documentaries in 3-D. More entertainment abounds in the Hansen Dome Theatre, where six high-definition projectors fill the 55-foot domed screen with seamless images during scientific films and cosmic light shows.
Frolicking in a 500,000-gallon wave pool, plummeting from 100-foot free-fall slides, and drifting along a 1,200-foot lazy river with 5 mph currents are just a few of the diversions found within Seven Peaks' net of water parks. The aquatic havens spread across Utah, Missouri, and Indiana, luring families and adventurous kayakers with forests of twisting water slides such as the Provo location's Boomerang, which sends passengers ricocheting down three stories. Calmer fun awaits at child-friendly areas such as the Salt Lake location's Dinosaur Bay, where toddlers splash and ride small slides, and lazy rivers welcome both whippersnappers and adults hoping to relax.
In addition to its water parks, Seven Peaks manages a fleet of fun centers in Utah and Missouri. Visitors to the Lehi location enjoy rides on a pirate ship or in bumper boats, and guests at the Orem location can putt through a glowing, neon mini-golf jungle lit by black lights, or whack at the imagined faces of arch-nemeses in the batting cages.
Traditionally, if you wanted to find out the length of a giraffe's tongue, you'd have to hide in a tree with a ready hand and a yardstick. Utah's Hogle Zoo has streamlined the process, however: one of its animal encounters allows guests to feed the long-necked creatures alongside a keeper, who will happily tell you that their purple tongues stretch for 20 inches. The giraffes are just one of more than 800 animals inside the zoo grounds. Spanning 42 acres of verdant hillside property, the exhibits strive to showcase fauna in arenas that mimic their natural habitats.
The polar bear inside Rocky Shores—the zoo's largest exhibit to date—lumbers through a landscape inspired by North America's western coast, with a pool that affords guests underwater views of the bear’s attempts to secure its swim cap. Snow leopards, Siberian lynxes, and amur tigers prowl the Himalayan-inspired scenery of the Asian Highlands. At Elephant Encounter's African Lodge, visitors can touch an elephant skull or a rhino horn before glimpsing the pachyderms in the flesh. Summer shows send eagles and hawks swooping overhead in the Wildlife Theatre. From loping wolves and toothy crocodiles to the sagely gorillas of the Great Apes house, the beasts all benefit from the staff's enrichment efforts, which encourage learning as well as instinctual behaviors.
As an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Utah's Hogle Zoo demonstrates a commitment to wildlife conservation that extends beyond its gates. Many of its special events contribute funds to preservation programs. For example, the Orange Utahn Art show raises donations for endangered primates, selling original works by both local artists and the zoo's orangutans, who compose colorful paintings. Guests can even get a closer look at imperiled species by saddling up on top of one—the Conservation Carousel arrays 42 hand-carved sculptures of at-risk animals, such as the red panda, the giant panda, and the false panda, which is just a black poodle that rolled in some paint.
Flip’s Gymnastics is committed to building kids’ self-esteem and confidence through the energetic and exciting world of gymnastics. Led by an exuberant staff of talented instructors, the gym offers programs for all ages and abilities. Youngins can start with Pre-K Learning & Movement and work their way up to Tumble Jungle Gym. Tramp & Tumbling provides high-flying fun, and cheerleading classes help students nab a spot on the squad.
At GPP Fitness, instructors guide exercisers through tough yet simple workouts that transform bodies and burn away extra weight. Kettlebells, crunches, and runs may leave muscles sore, but they combine for an efficient training program that helps exercisers quickly achieve their fitness goals.
With 26 seasons under their belt, The Children's Theatre strives to inspire kids to express their creativity through entertaining, educational performances. Children stare as live performers act out the The Brave Little Tailor, an ancient Brothers Grimm fairy tale that reflects on modern troubles with a gentle lesson about bullying. In the story, a tailor strikes out into the world, only to run into a passing giant, who challenges the tailor to feats of strength such as squeezing water from a boulder or not crying while watching Brian's Song. Seating in the intimate, 99-person theater is allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, and doors open a half-hour before performances so that audience members can snag spots in the front row or on a ticket taker's shoulders.
A comprehensive guide to attractions and things to do.